The immunotherapy drug has been found to greatly increase survival of patients with head and neck cancer.
Head and neck cancers are notoriously difficult to treat. However a new game changing drug may be the answer for survival in cancer patients. The immunotherapy drug called ‘Nivolumab’ has shown remarkable results when it comes to cancer survival in patients with head and neck cancer.
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Nivolumab is the first of its kind to have shown survival potential in phase III clinical trial for head and neck patients. Keep in mind other treatments like chemotherapy had failed in these patients.
Not only did Nivolumab increase chances of survival it also produced fewer side effects than other cancer therapeutic options.
Head and neck cancer can be of two types; cisplatin-resistant relapsed or it can be metastatic. Such patients are expected to live for only six months. The trial showed more than double the number of patients survived for one year after taking Nivolumab, compared to those undergoing chemotherapy.
The results of the international trial which involved 20 cancer research organizations from around the world, were published in the New England Journal of Medicine. The trial was led by the Professor Kevin Harrington, who works for The Institute of Cancer Research, London.
A total of 361 patients took part in the trial, out of which 240 were given Nivolumab, while the rest of the 121 were treated with the chemotherapy drug called Docetaxel.
One year after the administration of Novolumab, more than 36% of the patients were still alive, while only 17% of the patients with chemotherapy survived.
Similarly the mean survival rate for patients given Nivolumab was 7.5 months, while the survival rate for chemotherapy was 5.1 months. Nivolumab was also found to be treat patients without worsening their quality of life.