NICE recommends Nivolumab for invasive urothelial cancer

pharmafile | July 8, 2022 | News story | Medical Communications  

NICE has published final draft guidance recommending nivolumab for treating some people with invasive urothelial cancer at a high risk of recurrence.

Nivolumab (also known as Opdivo and made by Bristol Myers Squibb) has been recommended for high-risk people who have had surgery to remove their urothelial cancer, to reduce this risk of the cancer returning, and where chemotherapy is unsuitable.

Nivolumab is a monoclonal antibody, a type of protein designed to recognise and attach to a specific target substance in the body. It is recommended in people whose tumours express PD-L1 at a level of 1% or more. This is a protein which can weaken the body’s immune system. The antibody works by attaching to the protein, allowing the immune system to increase its activity against the cancer cells.

Urothelial cancer is a type of bladder cancer. Bladder cancer is the seventh most common cancer in the UK. It is three to four times more common in men than in women. There are around 400 bladder cancer patients who would be eligible for the new treatment.

Clinical trial research has shown that adjuvant treatment with nivolumab reduces the risk of the cancer coming back compared with placebo. However, it is not confirmed whether nivolumab increases how long people live, as there is not yet enough evidence to support this. An indirect treatment comparison of nivolumab, with platinum-based chemotherapy, is also highly uncertain.

Bristol Myers Squibb has a commercial arrangement, which makes nivolumab available to the NHS with a discount. The size of the discount is commercial in confidence.

Lina Adams

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