Bristol-Myers Squibb (BMY) Announces FDA Approval of Two Opdivo-Based Regimens as First-Line Treatments for Unresectable Advanced or Metastatic Esophageal Squamous Cell Carcinoma

May 28, 2022 7:38 AM EDT

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Bristol Myers Squibb (NYSE: BMY) today announced that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved both Opdivo® (nivolumab) (injection for intravenous use) in combination with fluoropyrimidine- and platinum-containing chemotherapy and Opdivo® plus Yervoy® (ipilimumab) as a first-line treatment for adult patients with unresectable advanced or metastatic esophageal squamous cell carcinoma (ESCC) regardless of PD-L1 status. The approvals are based on the Phase 3 CheckMate -648 trial, which evaluated Opdivo in combination with chemotherapy (n=321) and Opdivo plus Yervoy (n=325) each compared to chemotherapy alone (n=324), and was the largest Phase 3 trial of an immunotherapy in first-line ESCC.1

In the trial, Opdivo in combination with chemotherapy demonstrated superior overall survival (OS) compared to chemotherapy alone, both in all randomized patients, a secondary endpoint, which was hierarchically tested (Hazard Ratio [HR] 0.74, 95% Confidence Interval [CI]: 0.61 to 0.90, P=0.0021) and in patients whose tumors express PD-L1 (≥1%), a primary endpoint (HR 0.54, 95% CI: 0.41 to 0.71, P<0.0001).1,2 In all randomized patients the median OS (mOS) was 13.2 months (95% CI: 11.1 to 15.7) with Opdivo in combination with chemotherapy versus 10.7 months (95% CI: 9.4 to 11.9) with chemotherapy alone.1 In patients whose tumors express PD-L1 (≥1%) the mOS was 15.4 months (95% CI: 11.9 to 19.5) for Opdivo in combination with chemotherapy versus 9.1 months (95% CI: 7.7 to 10) with chemotherapy alone.1 The median progression-free survival (PFS) in all randomized patients, which was a hierarchically tested secondary endpoint, was 5.8 months (95% CI: 5.6 to 7.0) for Opdivo in combination with chemotherapy and 5.6 months (95% CI: 4.3 to 5.9) for chemotherapy alone (HR= 0.81; 95% CI: 0.67 to 0.99, P=not significant). Per pre-specified analysis, PFS did not meet statistical significance.1 The median PFS in patients whose tumors express PD-L1 (≥1%), which was a co-primary endpoint, was 6.9 months (95% CI: 5.7 to 8.3) for Opdivo in combination with chemotherapy and 4.4 months (95% CI: 2.9 to 5.8) for chemotherapy alone (HR 0.65; 95% CI: 0.49 to 0.86, P=0.0023).1

Opdivo plus Yervoy also improved OS compared to chemotherapy in all-randomized patients, a secondary endpoint, which was hierarchically tested (HR 0.78, 95% CI: 0.65 to 0.95, P=0.0110) and patients whose tumors express PD-L1 (≥1%), a primary endpoint (HR 0.64, 95% CI: 0.49 to 0.84, P=0.0010).1,2 The mOS was 12.8 months (95% CI: 11.3 to 15.5) with Opdivo plus Yervoy versus 10.7 months (95% CI: 9.4 to 11.9) with chemotherapy alone in all randomized patients and 13.7 months (95% CI: 11.2 to 17.0) with Opdivo plus Yervoy versus 9.1 months (95% CI: 7.7 to 10) with chemotherapy alone in patients whose tumors express PD-L1 (≥1%).1 The median PFS in patients whose tumors express PD-L1 (≥1%), which was a co-primary endpoint, was 4.0 months (95% CI: 2.4 to 4.9) for Opdivo plus Yervoy and 4.4 months (95% CI: 2.9 to 5.8) for chemotherapy alone (HR 1.02; 95% CI: 0.78 to 1.34, P=not significant). Per pre-specified analysis, PFS did not meet statistical significance.1,2 Median PFS in the PD-L1 (≥1%) population was not statistically significant and therefore it was not hierarchically tested in the all comers population.

Opdivo alone and Opdivo plus Yervoy are associated with the following Warnings and Precautions: severe and fatal immune-mediated adverse reactions including pneumonitis, colitis, hepatitis and hepatotoxicity, endocrinopathies, nephritis and renal dysfunction, dermatologic adverse reactions, other immune-mediated adverse reactions; infusion-related reactions; complications of allogeneic hematopoietic stem cell transplantation (HSCT); embryo-fetal toxicity; and increased mortality in patients with multiple myeloma when Opdivo is added to a thalidomide analogue and dexamethasone, which is not recommended outside of controlled clinical trials.1 Please see the Important Safety Information section below.

“Today brings welcome news for many advanced or metastatic esophageal squamous cell carcinoma patients and oncologists,” said Jaffer A. Ajani, M.D., CheckMate -648 co-first author and lead U.S. investigator, and professor of Gastrointestinal Medical Oncology at The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center. “Unresectable advanced or metastatic esophageal squamous cell carcinoma is a challenging disease, and there’s a need for additional treatment options that may extend survival in the first-line setting.3,4 In the CheckMate -648 trial, two nivolumab-based combinations showed a survival benefit compared to chemotherapy alone, offering new treatment options regardless of PD-L1 status.”1

This application was reviewed under the FDA’s Real-Time Oncology Review (RTOR) pilot program, which aims to ensure that safe and effective treatments are available to patients as early as possible.5

“At Bristol Myers Squibb, we recognize the need that exists for many patients facing upper gastroesophageal cancers, including advanced or metastatic esophageal squamous cell carcinoma, and we are focused on our goal to bring forward new treatment options with proven survival benefits regardless of PD-L1 status and histology,” said Adam Lenkowsky, senior vice president and general manager, U.S., Cardiovascular, Immunology, Oncology, Bristol Myers Squibb.6 “Today’s approvals bring two first-line immunotherapy-based treatment options at once, Opdivo in combination with chemotherapy and Opdivo plus Yervoy as the first dual immunotherapy option, to newly diagnosed patients with unresectable advanced or metastatic esophageal squamous cell carcinoma, further building on the role of Opdivo-based regimens in upper gastroesophageal cancers.”1

About CheckMate -648

CheckMate -648 is a randomized Phase 3 study evaluating Opdivo plus Yervoy or Opdivo in combination with chemotherapy (fluorouracil and cisplatin) against chemotherapy (fluorouracil plus cisplatin) alone in adult patients with previously untreated unresectable advanced, recurrent, or metastatic esophageal squamous cell carcinoma.1,2 The primary endpoints of the trial are overall survival (OS) and progression-free survival (PFS) determined by blinded independent central review (BICR) in patients whose tumors express PD-L1 (≥1%) for both Opdivo-based combinations versus chemotherapy.2 Secondary endpoints of the trial, including OS and PFS as determined by BICR in the all randomized population, were tested hierarchically only if corresponding primary endpoints were significant.1,2

In the Opdivo plus Yervoy arm, patients received treatment with Opdivo 3 mg/kg every 2 weeks and Yervoy 1 mg/kg every 6 weeks up to 2 years or until disease progression or unacceptable toxicity.1,2 In the Opdivo in combination with chemotherapy arm, patients received treatment with Opdivo 240 mg on Day 1 and Day 15, fluorouracil 800 mg/m²/day on Day 1 through Day 5 for five days, and cisplatin 80 mg/m² on Day 1 of a four-week cycle.1,2 Patients were treated with Opdivo until disease progression, unacceptable toxicity, or up to 2 years.1,2 In patients who received Opdivo in combination with chemotherapy and in whom either fluorouracil and/or cisplatin were discontinued, other components of the treatment regimen were allowed to be continued. 2 Patients who discontinued combination therapy because of an adverse reaction attributed to ipilimumab were permitted to continue Opdivo as a single agent.2

Select Safety Profile from CheckMate -648 Study

Opdivo and/or chemotherapy were discontinued in 39% of patients and were delayed in 71% of patients for an adverse reaction.1 Serious adverse reactions occurred in 62% of patients receiving Opdivo in combination with chemotherapy.1 The most frequent (≥2%) serious adverse reactions in patients receiving Opdivo in combination with chemotherapy were pneumonia (11%), dysphagia (7%), esophageal stenosis (2.9%), acute kidney injury (2.9%), and pyrexia (2.3%).1 Fatal adverse reactions occurred in 5 (1.6%) patients treated with Opdivo in combination with chemotherapy; these included pneumonitis, pneumatosis intestinalis, pneumonia, and acute kidney injury.1 The most common (≥20%) adverse reactions in patients treated with Opdivo in combination with chemotherapy were nausea (65%), decreased appetite (51%), fatigue (47%), constipation (44%), stomatitis (44%), diarrhea (29%), and vomiting (23%).1

Opdivo and/or Yervoy were discontinued in 23% of patients and were delayed in 46% of patients for an adverse reaction.1 Serious adverse reactions occurred in 69% of patients receiving Opdivo plus Yervoy.1 The most frequent (≥2%) serious adverse reactions in patients receiving Opdivo plus Yervoy were pneumonia (10%), pyrexia (4.3%), pneumonitis (4%), aspiration pneumonia (3.7%), dysphagia (3.7%), hepatic function abnormal (2.8%), decreased appetite (2.8%), adrenal insufficiency (2.5%), and dehydration (2.5%).1 Fatal adverse reactions occurred in 5 (1.6%) patients treated with Opdivo plus Yervoy; these included pneumonitis, interstitial lung disease, pulmonary embolism, and acute respiratory distress syndrome.1 The most common (≥20%) adverse reactions in patients treated with Opdivo plus Yervoy were rash (31%), fatigue (28%), pyrexia (23%), nausea (22%), diarrhea (22%), and constipation (20%).1



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