Last year in the UK over 60,000 cancer patients enrolled on clinical trials aimed at improving cancer treatments and making them available to all.
A trial looking at nivolumab for non small cell lung cancer (CA209017)
This trial was looking at a drug called nivolumab to treat non small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) that has grown into surrounding tissues or spread to another part of the body (advanced cancer). The people taking part had a type of NSCLC called squamous cell cancer.
Doctors usually treat advanced NSCLC with chemotherapy that includes
In this trial, researchers were looking at a new drug called nivolumab to treat advanced (stage 3b or stage 4) squamous cell lung cancer.
More about this trial
This trial compared nivolumab with docetaxel. The aims were to find out
- How well nivolumab works for people with advanced squamous NSCLC
- More about the side effects
Summary of results
The researchers found that on average people who had nivolumab lived longer than people who had docetaxel.
This was a randomised trial. The people taking part were put into 1 of 2 treatment groups by computer. Neither they nor their doctors could choose which group they were in. Of the 272 people who took part,
- Half had nivolumab
- Half had docetaxel
The trial team looked at the length of time people lived, with or without signs of their cancer getting worse. Researchers call this overall survival. They found that the average length of time people lived was
- Just over 9 months (9.2) in the group who had nivolumab
- 6 months in the group who had docetaxel
The side effects of nivolumab included tiredness (fatigue), loss of appetite and weakness. But the researchers found that people having nivolumab had fewer serious side effects than people having docetaxel.
The trial team concluded that nivolumab improved overall survival for people with advanced squamous cell lung cancer who had already had other treatments.
We have based this summary on information from the research team. The information has been reviewed by independent specialists (
How to join a clinical trial
Please note: In order to join a trial you will need to discuss it with your doctor, unless otherwise specified.
Professor Christian Ottensmeier
Experimental Cancer Medicine Centre (ECMC)
NIHR Clinical Research Network; Cancer