The results from a Phase IB/II ongoing study which paired nivolumab with azacitidine (AZA) were presented Dec. 5 at the 58th Annual Meeting of the American Society for Hematology in San Diego.
‘In patients with acute myeloid leukemia (AML), nivolumab (immunotherapy drug) along with standard chemotherapy doubled the response rates and improved survival rates.’
The study participants had previously demonstrated poor complete response and overall survival.
51 study participants with an average age of 69 years were taken into consideration. The combination of AZA and nivolumab was tested among the study participants. The combination treatment showed a response rate of 34 percent that compares favorably to a historic response rate of 12 to 15 percent with AZA alone. Media overall survival for patients treated with AZA and nivolumab was 9.3 months compared with a historic median of 4.7 months for patients treated with AZA alone.
Side effects were reported in 25 to 30% of patients. Side effects reported include
- Pneumonitis (common side effect reported among the study participants)
- Skin rash
- High liver enzyme levels
"We are working closely with colleagues in MD Anderson's immunotherapy platform to interrogate baseline and on treatment biomarkers of response and to identify additional targetable checkpoints in AML and myelodysplastic syndrome," said Naval Daver, M.D., assistant professor of Leukemia. "We hope these immune checkpoint approaches will be an additional tool to improve outcomes in leukemia patients."
Nivolumab is a monoclonal antibody used to treat different types of cancers. The drug works by halting the production of cells which help to treat cancer. Indications of nivolumab include Hodgkin lymphoma, melanoma, non small cell lung cancer, renal cell carcinoma, squamous cell carcinoma.
Acute Myeloid Leukemia (AML):
AML is a type of cancer that affects the bone marrow and results in the production of abnormal myeloblasts (a type of white blood cell), red blood cells or platelets.
There are different subtypes of AML.
Acute myeloid leukemia is a disease of the older people and uncommon before the age of 45