Bristol-Myers Squibb (BMY) Announces Two- and Three-Year Survival Data for Nivolumab

Source: Street Insider, May 2014

Bristol-Myers Squibb Company (NYSE: BMY) today announced updated survival data from the advanced melanoma cohort (n=107) of the expanded Phase 1b dose-ranging study of nivolumab, an investigational PD-1 immune checkpoint inhibitor, administered as a single agent (Study -003). Results showed sustained activity in this heavily pre-treated patient population as defined by two- and three-year survival rates of 48% and 41%, respectively, across dose cohorts. These data, which are based on Kaplan-Meier estimates, will be featured in an oral presentation at the 50th Annual Meeting of the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) in Chicago on June 2 at 3 p.m. CDT (Abstract #9002).

“These Phase 1b results for nivolumab are encouraging in a group of patients with one of the most aggressive forms of cancer,” said F. Stephen Hodi, M.D., director of the Melanoma Treatment Center and director of the Center for Immuno-Oncology at Dana-Farber, and Associate Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School. “They represent the longest follow up data for survival in pre-treated advanced melanoma patients who have received an investigational PD-1 immune checkpoint inhibitor as a single agent.”

“We are committed to improving survival expectations for patients with advanced melanoma and to leading immuno-oncology research and development that adds to the treatment options for patients across lines of therapy and stages of disease,” said Michael Giordano, senior vice president, Head of Development, Oncology & Immunology. “The updated results reported in this Phase 1b study help to characterize the long-term survival of nivolumab in this patient population. We look forward to presenting additional follow up results at ASCO evaluating the combination regimen of nivolumab and Yervoy® (ipilimumab) in this tumor type along with the first reported results from a Phase 3 trial of Yervoy as an investigational adjuvant therapy.”

Results from Advanced Melanoma Cohort of Phase 1b Single Agent Study (-003)

Study -003 is a Phase 1b dose escalation study (n=306) evaluating the safety, antitumor activity and pharmacokinetics of nivolumab as a single agent in previously-treated patients with advanced melanoma (n=107), non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) (n=129), renal cell carcinoma (n=34), castration-resistant prostate cancer (n=17) or colorectal cancer (n=19). Based on an amendment to the protocol, patients were followed for survival. Eligible patients were administered nivolumab as an intravenous infusion every two weeks of each eight-week treatment cycle. Cohorts of three to six patients per dose level (0.1, 0.3, 1.0, 3.0 or 10 mg/kg) were enrolled sequentially. Patients continued treatment ?2 years (12 cycles), unless they experienced complete response, unacceptable toxicity, progressive disease or withdrew consent.

Results from this study were initially presented in 2012 at ASCO and published in the New England Journal of Medicine. The initial and updated analysis is reflective of 107 previously-treated advanced melanoma patients who had not received prior treatment with Yervoy. Updated results reported here show sustained activity in heavily pre-treated patients as defined by two- and three-year survival rates of 48% and 41%, respectively, across dose cohorts. Of the 32% of patients with objective responses (based on RECIST criteria), the median duration of response was 22.9 months.

Safety data from this study published in the Journal of Clinical Oncology earlier this year, with all patients having greater than or equal to one year of follow up, demonstrated a spectrum, frequency and severity of treatment-related adverse events (AEs) that were consistent with those initially reported in the study in 2012. As reported, common drug-related AEs included fatigue (32%), rash (23%), diarrhea (18%) and pruritus (13%). Drug-related select AEs with potential immunologic etiologies, defined as adverse events that may require more frequent monitoring and/or unique intervention, included skin (36%), gastrointestinal (18%), endocrine (13%), hepatic (6.5%), pulmonary (3.7%) and renal (1.9%).

About Advanced Melanoma

Melanoma is a form of skin cancer characterized by the uncontrolled growth of pigment-producing cells (melanocytes) located in the skin. Metastatic melanoma is the deadliest form of the disease, and occurs when cancer spreads beyond the surface of the skin to other organs, such as the lymph nodes, lungs, brain or other areas of the body. The incidence of melanoma has been increasing for at least 30 years. In 2012, an estimated 232,130 melanoma cases were diagnosed globally. Melanoma is mostly curable when treated in its early stages. However, in its late stages, the average survival rate has historically been just six months with a one-year mortality rate of 75%, making it one of the most aggressive forms of cancer.

About Bristol-Myers Squibb Immuno-Oncology Trials in Melanoma

Bristol-Myers Squibb is committed to the research and development of immuno-oncology as an innovative approach to treating melanoma and has a broad development program evaluating its approved and investigational immunotherapies – either as single agents or as part of a regimen – across lines of therapy, stages of disease and biomarker expression. Among these are five Phase 3 trials. There are two ongoing Phase 3 trials evaluating nivolumab as a single agent at the 3 mg/kg dose in treatment-naïve patients (CheckMate -066) as well as in patients who have been previously treated (CheckMate -037). A Phase 3 trial evaluating Yervoy 3 mg/kg vs. Yervoy 10 mg/mg in patients with previously treated or treatment-naïve metastatic melanoma is ongoing (Study -169) and the first results of a Phase 3 trial evaluating the use of Yervoy 10 mg/kg as adjuvant therapy among patients with Stage 3 melanoma who are at high risk of recurrence following complete surgical resection (Study -029) will be featured in an oral presentation at ASCO on June 2 at 3 p.m. CDT (Abstract #LBA9008). Additionally, a Phase 3 trial evaluating the combination regimen of nivolumab and Yervoy in treatment-naïve patients is ongoing (CheckMate -067).

About Nivolumab and Yervoy

Cancer cells may exploit “regulatory” pathways, such as checkpoint pathways, to hide from the immune system and shield the tumor from immune attack. Nivolumab and Yervoy are both monoclonal antibodies and immune checkpoint inhibitors, but target different receptors for distinct T-cell checkpoint pathways.

Nivolumab is an investigational, fully-human PD-1 immune checkpoint inhibitor that binds to the checkpoint receptor PD-1 (programmed death-1) expressed on activated T-cells. We are investigating whether by blocking this pathway, nivolumab would enable the immune system to resume its ability to recognize, attack and destroy cancer cells.

Bristol-Myers Squibb has a broad, global development program to study nivolumab in multiple tumor types consisting of more than 35 trials – as monotherapy or in combination with other therapies – in which more than 7,000 patients have been enrolled worldwide. Among these are several potentially registrational trials in non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) melanoma, renal cell carcinoma (RCC), head and neck cancer, glioblastoma and non-Hodgkin lymphoma. In 2013, the FDA granted Fast Track designation for nivolumab in NSCLC, melanoma and RCC.

Yervoy, which is a recombinant, human monoclonal antibody, blocks the cytotoxic T- lymphocyte antigen-4 (CTLA-4). CTLA-4 is a negative regulator of T-cell activation. Ipilimumab binds to CTLA-4 and blocks the interaction of CTLA-4 with its ligands, CD80/CD86. Blockade of CTLA-4 has been shown to augment T-cell activation and proliferation. The mechanism of action of ipilimumab’s effect in patients with melanoma is indirect through T-cell mediated anti-tumor immune responses. On March 25, 2011, the FDA approved Yervoy 3 mg/kg monotherapy for patients with unresectable or metastatic melanoma. Yervoy is now approved in more than 40 countries.


YERVOY (ipilimumab) is indicated for the treatment of unresectable or metastatic melanoma.

Important Safety Information


YERVOY can result in severe and fatal immune-mediated adverse reactions due to T-cell activation and proliferation. These immune-mediated reactions may involve any organ system; however, the most common severe immune-mediated adverse reactions are enterocolitis, hepatitis, dermatitis (including toxic epidermal necrolysis), neuropathy, and endocrinopathy. The majority of these immune-mediated reactions initially manifested during treatment; however, a minority occurred weeks to months after discontinuation of YERVOY.

Assess patients for signs and symptoms of enterocolitis, dermatitis, neuropathy, and endocrinopathy and evaluate clinical chemistries including liver function tests (LFTs) and thyroid function tests at baseline and before each dose.

Permanently discontinue YERVOY and initiate systemic high-dose corticosteroids for severe immune-mediated reactions.

Recommended Dose Modifications

Withhold dose for any moderate immune-mediated adverse reactions or for symptomatic endocrinopathy until return to baseline, improvement to mild severity, or complete resolution, and patient is receiving <7.5 mg prednisone or equivalent per day.

Permanently discontinue YERVOY for any of the following:

Persistent moderate adverse reactions or inability to reduce corticosteroid dose to 7.5 mg prednisone or equivalent per day
Failure to complete full treatment course within 16 weeks from administration of first dose
Severe or life-threatening adverse reactions, including any of the following: Colitis with abdominal pain, fever, ileus, or peritoneal signs; increase in stool frequency (?7 over baseline), stool incontinence, need for intravenous hydration for >24 hours, gastrointestinal hemorrhage, and gastrointestinal perforation
AST or ALT >5 × the upper limit of normal (ULN) or total bilirubin >3 × the ULN
Stevens-Johnson syndrome, toxic epidermal necrolysis, or rash complicated by full-thickness dermal ulceration or necrotic, bullous, or hemorrhagic manifestations
Severe motor or sensory neuropathy, Guillain-Barré syndrome, or myasthenia gravis
Severe immune-mediated reactions involving any organ system
Immune-mediated ocular disease which is unresponsive to topical immunosuppressive therapy

Immune-mediated Enterocolitis:

In the pivotal Phase 3 study in YERVOY-treated patients, severe, life-threatening, or fatal (diarrhea of ?7 stools above baseline, fever, ileus, peritoneal signs; Grade 3-5) immune-mediated enterocolitis occurred in 34 (7%) and moderate (diarrhea with up to 6 stools above baseline, abdominal pain, mucus or blood in stool; Grade 2) enterocolitis occurred in 28 (5%) patients
Across all YERVOY-treated patients (n=511), 5 (1%) developed intestinal perforation, 4 (0.8%) died as a result of complications, and 26 (5%) were hospitalized for severe enterocolitis
Infliximab was administered to 5 of 62 (8%) patients with moderate, severe, or life-threatening immune-mediated enterocolitis following inadequate response to corticosteroids
Monitor patients for signs and symptoms of enterocolitis (such as diarrhea, abdominal pain, mucus or blood in stool, with or without fever) and of bowel perforation (such as peritoneal signs and ileus). In symptomatic patients, rule out infectious etiologies and consider endoscopic evaluation for persistent or severe symptoms
Permanently discontinue YERVOY in patients with severe enterocolitis and initiate systemic corticosteroids (1-2 mg/kg/day of prednisone or equivalent). Upon improvement to ?Grade 1, initiate corticosteroid taper and continue over at least 1 month. In clinical trials, rapid corticosteroid tapering resulted in recurrence or worsening symptoms of enterocolitis in some patients
Withhold YERVOY for moderate enterocolitis; administer anti-diarrheal treatment and, if persistent for >1 week, initiate systemic corticosteroids (0.5 mg/kg/day prednisone or equivalent)

Immune-mediated Hepatitis:

In the pivotal Phase 3 study in YERVOY-treated patients, severe, life-threatening, or fatal hepatotoxicity (AST or ALT elevations >5x the ULN or total bilirubin elevations >3x the ULN; Grade 3–5) occurred in 8 (2%) patients, with fatal hepatic failure in 0.2% and hospitalization in 0.4%
13 (2.5%) additional YERVOY-treated patients experienced moderate hepatotoxicity manifested by LFT abnormalities (AST or ALT elevations >2.5x but ?5x the ULN or total bilirubin elevation >1.5x but ?3x the ULN; Grade 2)
Monitor LFTs (hepatic transaminase and bilirubin levels) and assess patients for signs and symptoms of hepatotoxicity before each dose of YERVOY. In patients with hepatotoxicity, rule out infectious or malignant causes and increase frequency of LFT monitoring until resolution
Permanently discontinue YERVOY in patients with Grade 3-5 hepatotoxicity and administer systemic corticosteroids (1-2 mg/kg/day of prednisone or equivalent). When LFTs show sustained improvement or return to baseline, initiate corticosteroid tapering and continue over 1 month. Across the clinical development program for YERVOY, mycophenolate treatment has been administered in patients with persistent severe hepatitis despite high-dose corticosteroids
Withhold YERVOY in patients with Grade 2 hepatotoxicity
In a dose-finding trial, Grade 3 increases in transaminases with or without concomitant increases in total bilirubin occurred in 6 of 10 patients who received concurrent YERVOY (3 mg/kg) and vemurafenib (960 mg BID or 720 mg BID)

Immune-mediated Dermatitis:

In the pivotal Phase 3 study in YERVOY-treated patients, severe, life-threatening, or fatal immune-mediated dermatitis (e.g., Stevens-Johnson syndrome, toxic epidermal necrolysis, or rash complicated by full thickness dermal ulceration, or necrotic, bullous, or hemorrhagic manifestations; Grade 3–5) occurred in 13 (2.5%) patients

1 (0.2%) patient died as a result of toxic epidermal necrolysis
1 additional patient required hospitalization for severe dermatitis

There were 63 (12%) YERVOY-treated patients with moderate (Grade 2) dermatitis
Monitor patients for signs and symptoms of dermatitis such as rash and pruritus. Unless an alternate etiology has been identified, signs or symptoms of dermatitis should be considered immune-mediated
Permanently discontinue YERVOY in patients with severe, life-threatening, or fatal immune-mediated dermatitis (Grade 3-5). Administer systemic corticosteroids (1-2 mg/kg/day of prednisone or equivalent). When dermatitis is controlled, corticosteroid tapering should occur over a period of at least 1 month. Withhold YERVOY in patients with moderate to severe signs and symptoms
Treat mild to moderate dermatitis (e.g., localized rash and pruritus) symptomatically. Administer topical or systemic corticosteroids if there is no improvement within 1 week

Immune-mediated Neuropathies:

In the pivotal Phase 3 study in YERVOY-treated patients, 1 case of fatal Guillain-Barré syndrome and 1 case of severe (Grade 3) peripheral motor neuropathy were reported
Across the clinical development program of YERVOY, myasthenia gravis and additional cases of Guillain-Barré syndrome have been reported
Monitor for symptoms of motor or sensory neuropathy such as unilateral or bilateral weakness, sensory alterations, or paresthesia. Permanently discontinue YERVOY in patients with severe neuropathy (interfering with daily activities) such as Guillain-Barré–like syndromes
Institute medical intervention as appropriate for management of severe neuropathy. Consider initiation of systemic corticosteroids (1-2 mg/kg/day of prednisone or equivalent) for severe neuropathies. Withhold YERVOY in patients with moderate neuropathy (not interfering with daily activities)

Immune-mediated Endocrinopathies:

In the pivotal Phase 3 study in YERVOY- treated patients, severe to life-threatening immune-mediated endocrinopathies (requiring hospitalization, urgent medical intervention, or interfering with activities of daily living; Grade 3-4) occurred in 9 (1.8%) patients

All 9 patients had hypopituitarism, and some had additional concomitant endocrinopathies such as adrenal insufficiency, hypogonadism, and hypothyroidism
6 of the 9 patients were hospitalized for severe endocrinopathies

Moderate endocrinopathy (requiring hormone replacement or medical intervention; Grade 2) occurred in 12 (2.3%) YERVOY-treated patients and consisted of hypothyroidism, adrenal insufficiency, hypopituitarism, and 1 case each of hyperthyroidism and Cushing’s syndrome
Median time to onset of moderate to severe immune-mediated endocrinopathy was 11 weeks and ranged up to 19.3 weeks after the initiation of YERVOY
Monitor patients for clinical signs and symptoms of hypophysitis, adrenal insufficiency (including adrenal crisis), and hyper- or hypothyroidism

Patients may present with fatigue, headache, mental status changes, abdominal pain, unusual bowel habits, and hypotension, or nonspecific symptoms which may resemble other causes such as brain metastasis or underlying disease. Unless an alternate etiology has been identified, signs or symptoms should be considered immune-mediated
Monitor thyroid function tests and clinical chemistries at the start of treatment, before each dose, and as clinically indicated based on symptoms. In a limited number of patients, hypophysitis was diagnosed by imaging studies through enlargement of the pituitary gland

Withhold YERVOY in symptomatic patients. Initiate systemic corticosteroids (1-2 mg/kg/day of prednisone or equivalent) and initiate appropriate hormone replacement therapy. Long-term hormone replacement therapy may be necessary

Other Immune-mediated Adverse Reactions, Including Ocular Manifestations:

In the pivotal Phase 3 study in YERVOY-treated patients, clinically significant immune-mediated adverse reactions seen in <1% were: nephritis, pneumonitis, meningitis, pericarditis, uveitis, iritis, and hemolytic anemia
Across the clinical development program for YERVOY, likely immune-mediated adverse reactions also reported with <1% incidence were: myocarditis, angiopathy, temporal arteritis, vasculitis, polymyalgia rheumatica, conjunctivitis, blepharitis, episcleritis, scleritis, leukocytoclastic vasculitis, erythema multiforme, psoriasis, pancreatitis, arthritis, autoimmune thyroiditis, sarcoidosis, neurosensory hypoacusis, autoimmune central neuropathy (encephalitis), myositis, polymyositis, and ocular myositis
Permanently discontinue YERVOY for clinically significant or severe immune-mediated adverse reactions. Initiate systemic corticosteroids (1-2 mg/kg/day of prednisone or equivalent) for severe immune-mediated adverse reactions
Administer corticosteroid eye drops for uveitis, iritis, or episcleritis. Permanently discontinue YERVOY for immune-mediated ocular disease unresponsive to local immunosuppressive therapy

Pregnancy & Nursing:

YERVOY is classified as pregnancy category C. There are no adequate and well-controlled studies of YERVOY in pregnant women. Use YERVOY during pregnancy only if the potential benefit justifies the potential risk to the fetus
Human IgG1 is known to cross the placental barrier and YERVOY is an IgG1; therefore, YERVOY has the potential to be transmitted from the mother to the developing fetus
It is not known whether YERVOY is secreted in human milk. Because many drugs are secreted in human milk and because of the potential for serious adverse reactions in nursing infants from YERVOY, a decision should be made whether to discontinue nursing or to discontinue YERVOY

Common Adverse Reactions:

The most common adverse reactions (?5%) in patients who received YERVOY at 3 mg/kg were fatigue (41%), diarrhea (32%), pruritus (31%), rash (29%), and colitis (8%)

Please see Full Prescribing Information, including Boxed WARNING regarding immune-mediated adverse reactions, available at

YERVOY® is a registered trademark of Bristol-Myers Squibb Company

Read Original article