Opdivo®+Yervoy® Combination Improves Mesothelioma Quality of Life Versus Chemotherapy

A mesothelioma patient and their doctor discuss how Opdivo and Yervoy can improve the patient's quality of life.

Breaking results from the CheckMate 743 trial point to a new benefit of Opdivo®+Yervoy® treatment. The immunotherapy drugs improved mesothelioma patients’ quality of life compared to chemotherapy. Other patient-reported factors also favored the Opdivo+Yervoy combination.

Opdivo (nivolumab) and Yervoy (ipilimumab) are checkpoint inhibitor drugs. Checkpoint inhibitors are a form of immunotherapy. They allow the immune system to fight cancer.

These findings support the strong record already established for this treatment. Patients may consider these results another point in favor of Opdivo+Yervoy for mesothelioma.

Patients Report Health and Symptoms Improved With Opdivo+Yervoy

Earlier studies reported positive survival results with Opdivo+Yervoy in pleural mesothelioma. But those studies did not detail the patient experience. The latest results change that. The newest CheckMate 743 update covers patient-reported outcomes (PROs).

PROs serve as an indicator of the patient experience beyond a simple survival statistic. They help researchers understand how a treatment affects lifestyle and quality of life.

The PROs suggest sharp differences between patient experiences with Opdivo+Yervoy versus chemotherapy. Differences between the immunotherapy combination and chemotherapy include:

  • Increasing versus decreasing symptoms: Over time, Opdivo+Yervoy patients tended to report overall improvement in symptoms. Chemotherapy patients generally reported worsening symptoms.
  • Improving versus unaffected or worsening general health: Opdivo+Yervoy patients reported improving health over time. Their status came close to that of the general population by week 60 of the study. Conversely, chemotherapy patients’ health stayed the same for about 30 weeks. Afterward, their health declined.
  • Time to deterioration: Opdivo+Yervoy patients had a longer period of time before they experienced a drop in overall health.

Several PROs continued to improve for Opdivo+Yervoy patients with long-term treatment. But chemotherapy patients’ health declined when treatment stopped. According to the authors, chemotherapy patients “worsened more rapidly” than Opdivo+Yervoy patients.

These results suggest the superiority of Opdivo+Yervoy for some pleural mesothelioma patients. They also reinforce the benefits that helped earn regulatory approval for this combination.

Quality of Life Complements Survival Benefits of Opdivo+Yervoy

Opdivo+Yervoy treatment offers survival benefits in pleural mesothelioma. This treatment earned approval from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in late 2020. The FDA cited the combination’s survival benefits in its approval announcement.

The CheckMate 743 trial established those benefits. The study compared Opdivo+Yervoy treatment to traditional chemotherapy. Opdivo+Yervoy improved survival by nearly 30%.

Key CheckMate 743 Results

Median Survival

Immunotherapy: 18.1 months
Chemotherapy: 14.1 months

1-Year Survival Rate

Immunotherapy: 41%
Chemotherapy: 27%

Mesothelioma patients may find encouragement in considering these results together with the PROs. First, Opdivo+Yervoy extended survival for inoperable mesothelioma patients. While extending survival, this treatment also improved quality of life. It also decreased symptoms.

Some pleural mesothelioma patients have already experienced these encouraging Opdivo+Yervoy benefits. Scientists continue to study Opdivo+Yervoy for mesothelioma. Future research may reveal even more Opdivo+Yervoy advantages.

Opdivo+Yervoy Research Continues

The benefits of Opdivo+Yervoy for pleural mesothelioma seem well-rounded at this point. But researchers are still studying this combination in other forms of mesothelioma. One clinical trial will investigate the two drugs in peritoneal mesothelioma.

The peritoneal trial will investigate Opdivo+Yervoy as part of a multimodal treatment plan. The plan will also include surgery and chemotherapy. This study officially began in December 2021. It is expected to continue through February 2025.

Patients interested in a mesothelioma clinical trial should speak with a specialist. A mesothelioma expert can help the patient weigh the benefits and risks of potential treatments. Together, they can decide if clinical trials, Opdivo+Yervoy or another treatment are in the patient’s best interest.

Opdivo+Yervoy in Other Cancers

Opdivo+Yervoy treatment offers potential benefits for several forms of cancer beyond mesothelioma. This combination has positively impacted survival in the following cancers:

  • Colorectal cancer
  • Hepatocellular carcinoma (a form of liver cancer)
  • Melanoma
  • Non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC)
  • Renal cell carcinoma (a form of kidney cancer)