The trial team concluded that nivolumab helps some people with head and neck cancer that has spread or come back.
Neither they nor their doctor could choose which group they were in. And people were 2 times more likely to have nivolumab than the standard treatment.
The trial team looked at how well nivolumab worked. To do this, they looked at many factors including the average length of time people lived. This is called overall survival. They found that on average:
- people in the nivolumab group lived almost 8 months
- people in the standard treatment group lived about 5 months
The team also looked at the average length of time people lived without any signs of their cancer getting worse. Doctors call this progression free survival. They found that, on average, people in both groups lived around 2 months without signs of their cancer getting worse.
Doctors looked at the most common side effects people had in the nivolumab group. They were:
The most common side effects in the standard treatment group were tiredness, sickness and a drop in the level of red blood cells
(anaemia). People in this group had worse side effects than people in the nivolumab group.
People were asked to complete questionnaires before the start of treatment, and at set times during the trial. The questionnaires asked about how cancer and treatment affected their quality of life.
The trial team found that the people’s quality of life decreased during treatment, in both groups. But people in the nivolumab group maintained a better quality of life for longer, than the people in the standard treatment group.
The team concluded that nivolumab helps people with advanced recurrent or metastatic head and neck cancer. They think this treatment is tolerated well and helps people maintain their quality of life
We have based this summary on information from the research team. The information they sent us has been reviewed by independent specialists (peer reviewed
) and published in a medical journal. The figures we quote above were provided by the trial team who did the research. We have not analysed the data ourselves.