Nivolumab may mean a new chance for head and neck squamous cell carcinoma as tests show a stabilization and an improvement in the suffering patients following the drug’s administration and possibly even an increase in the lifespan.
The test results, presented at the European Society for Medical Oncology Congress, reported a better quality-of-life level in the case of HNSCC patients treated with nivolumab as, following the treatment, the patients are shown to have experienced less pain, dyspnea, and less fatigue.
People living with metastatic or recurrent head and neck squamous cell carcinoma are forced by the disease to pass through debilitating physiological and psychological effects as, despite the existence of current treatment options, they still have to face social and often emotional challenges.
The trial test, which included over 350 patients, had 36 percent of the sufferers treated with nivolumab, while the 74 remaining percentage were treated with the use of chemotherapy or other currently used medication. The immunotherapy drug not only reported an improved quality of life standard, as nivolumab has fewer side effects, but also a longer lifespan as the patients were still alive after a year.
Head and neck cancer patient reports show that this type usually records the worst survival rates, as it has a higher mortality number than any other type of cancer. In the trial test, only 17 percent of the patients treated with chemotherapy were still alive after a year.
The nivolumab, which activates and helps the body immune’s system in order to destroy cancer cells, showed its best result when taken by HPV patients who suffered from treatment resistant, advanced tumours. As opposed to the chemotherapy 4.4 months life period, the nivolumab patients had an average survival rate of 9.1 months.
As the medicine reduces symptoms and helps keep the cancerous cells at bay, some studies have even suggested that a combination with other drugs may possibly even determine a future cure.
The results of the trial phase, also known as ChackMate 141, were published in the New England Journal of Medicine.2. The study also follows the questionnaire score answers of the trial patients, who were asked to answers a series of questions when at the baseline, after nine weeks, and after fifteen. The week nine and fifteen results were also compared to previously defined clinically relevant scores.
As most patients marked an increase in the standard of living in both weeks as compared to the baseline, this is the first recorded evidence to show that immunotherapy can improve and even prolong the patient lifespan.
As nivolumab works for approximately one-third of the HNSCC patients, biological criteria are needed in order to avoid unnecessary side effects, but for those fit for the treatment, the nivolumab immunity drug may just about mean a better life.
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