publication date: Jun. 2, 2017

Flatiron compiles rich data on the uptake of PD-1 inhibitor drugs; A case study in real-world evidence?

By Matthew Bin Han Ong

Utilization data compiled by Flatiron Health and made available to The Cancer Letter make it possible to visualize the dramatic uptake of immunotherapy drugs in the academic and community settings.

The data illustrate nothing less than the real-time anatomy of the creation of a new standard of care in oncology. Charts, bars and tables published here first show these drugs emerge in the treatment of non-small cell lung cancer in early 2015 and rapidly build momentum.

Today, two years after these drugs started to trickle in, one in four NSCLC patients gets a PD-1 checkpoint inhibitor in the first-line setting. More than half get these drugs in the second-line setting, according to an analysis of electronic health data by Flatiron, an oncology bioinformatics company headquartered in New York.

The study, based on a cohort of about 35,000 patients, tracks the rapid uptake of checkpoint inhibitors over two years. The numbers are staggering: the use of PD-1 therapies increased more than sevenfold from May 2015 through April 2017.

It’s likely that this rate of uptake of a cancer drug is unprecedented, but, then again, such comparisons of utilization data would be problematic. That’s because cancer researchers have never had access to this level of granularity, and never has it been provided with such immediacy.

By April, at least 37 percent of NSCLC patients, overall, in Flatiron’s data are receiving PD-1 and PD-L1 drugs. These agents are:

Bristol-Myers Squibb’s Opdivo (nivolumab), which was approved in October 2015 as second-line therapy for patients with metastatic squamous NSCLC, or after platinum-based chemotherapy, and, based on data from another clinical trial, was later approved for … Continue reading Flatiron compiles rich data on the uptake of PD-1 inhibitor drugs; A case study in real-world evidence?

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