Suresh Ramalingam, MD, FASCO, deputy director, Winship Cancer Institute of Emory University, discusses the key takeaways regarding the toxicities observed in the phase 3 CheckMate 227 clinical trial, which evaluated immunotherapeutic agents nivolumab (Opdivo) plus ipilimumab (Yervoy) as treatment of patients with non–small cell lung cancer (NSCLC).
One question that often comes up regarding combining multiple immunotherapies is whether there is a high incidence of autoimmune toxicity and the impact of that is on patients, Ramalingam says. Based on the long-term data from this trial, most salient toxicities occurred within the first 6 months of treatment and were manageable in the majority of patients.
Beyond the 6-month time period, the likelihood of developing any of these toxicities is relatively low, which shows that with supportive care, patients are able to get through the planned 2 years of therapy. This is reassuring to both the patient and physician, says Ramalingam.
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