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Efficacy and safety of nivolumab for metastatic biliary tract cancer

Authors Gou M, Zhang Y, Si H, Dai G

Received 22 November 2018

Accepted for publication 1 January 2019

Published 25 January 2019 Volume 2019:12 Pages 861—867


Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single-blind

Peer reviewers approved by Dr Amy Norman

Peer reviewer comments 2

Editor who approved publication: Dr Sanjeev Srivastava

Miaomiao Gou,* Yong Zhang,* Haiyan Si,* Guanghai Dai

Department of Medical Oncology, Chinese People’s Liberation Army General Hospital, Beijing 100853, People’s Republic of China

*These authors contributed equally to this work

Objective: PD-1 inhibitors have improved efficacy in many cancers. There are currently no reports of the use of PD-1 inhibitors, such as nivolumab, for metastatic biliary tract cancer (mBTC). This study reviewed the efficacy and safety of nivolumab for mBTC with the aim of exploring ways to improve efficacy and survival.
Methods: Thirty patients with mBTC were voluntarily treated with nivolumab at the PLA General Hospital. Nivolumab 3 mg/kg was administered. Progression-free survival (PFS) and overall survival were evaluated by Kaplan–Meier and univariate and multivariate analyses were carried out for clinical characteristics. Objective response rate (ORR), disease control rate (DCR), and treatment-related adverse events (AEs) were also evaluated.
Results: The median treatment cycle is four cycles. One case was complete response, 5 cases partial response, 12 cases stable, and 12 cases progression. ORR was 20%, DCR was 60%, and PFS was 3.1 months (95% CI: 2.13–4.06). The AEs of nivolumab monotherapy were fatigue (three cases), fever (two cases), hypothyroidism (one case), skin reaction (one case), and liver injury (one case). Nivolumab combined with chemotherapy related grade 1–2 hematologic toxicity were leukopenia (five cases) and thrombocytopenia (two cases), and grade 3–4 were leukopenia (three cases). Non-hematologic toxicity grade 1–2 were nausea and vomiting (four cases), fatigue (four cases), fever (three cases), peripheral neurotoxicity (three cases), and hypothyroidism (one case). Univariate analysis showed that PFS of nivolumab combined with chemotherapy was statistically significant compared with that of nivolumab monotherapy (4.1 vs 2.3 months, P=0.031). Programmed death-ligand 1 (PD-L1) expression positively has no relationship with better PFS in contrast with PD-L1 negatively (3.6 vs 3.0 months P>0.05). Multivariate analysis show nivolumab combined with chemotherapy was only the independent factor for longer PFS (HR: 0.432, P<0.05).
Conclusion: The safety of nivolumab in mBTC is controllable. Further selection of superior populations is needed to improve the efficacy of nivolumab in mBTC.

Keywords: metastatic biliary tract cancer, nivolumab, PD-L1, PD-1

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