BACKGROUND: No new agent has improved overall survival in patients with unresectable or metastatic urothelial carcinoma when added to first-line cisplatin-based chemotherapy. METHODS: In this phase 3, multinational, open-label trial, we randomly assigned patients with previously untreated unresectable or metastatic urothelial carcinoma either to receive intravenous nivolumab (at a dose of 360 mg) plus gemcitabine-cisplatin (nivolumab combination) every 3 weeks for up to six cycles, followed by nivolumab (at a dose of 480 mg) every 4 weeks for a maximum of 2 years, or to receive gemcitabine-cisplatin alone every 3 weeks for up to six cycles. The primary outcomes were overall and progression-free survival. The objective response and safety were exploratory outcomes. RESULTS: A total of 608 patients underwent randomization (304 to each group). At a median follow-up of 33.6 months, overall survival was longer with nivolumab-combination therapy than with gemcitabine-cisplatin alone (hazard ratio for death, 0.78; 95% confidence interval [CI], 0.63 to 0.96; P = 0.02); the median survival was 21.7 months (95% CI, 18.6 to 26.4) as compared with 18.9 months (95% CI, 14.7 to 22.4), respectively. Progression-free survival was also longer with nivolumab-combination therapy than with gemcitabine-cisplatin alone (hazard ratio for progression or death, 0.72; 95% CI, 0.59 to 0.88; P = 0.001). The median progression-free survival was 7.9 months and 7.6 months, respectively. At 12 months, progression-free survival was 34.2% and 21.8%, respectively. The overall objective response was 57.6% (complete response, 21.7%) with nivolumab-combination therapy and 43.1% (complete response, 11.8%) with gemcitabine-cisplatin alone. The median duration of complete response was 37.1 months with nivolumab-combination therapy and 13.2 months with gemcitabine-cisplatin alone. Grade 3 or higher adverse events occurred in 61.8% and 51.7% of the patients, respectively. CONCLUSIONS: Combination therapy with nivolumab plus gemcitabine-cisplatin resulted in significantly better outcomes in patients with previously untreated advanced urothelial carcinoma than gemcitabine-cisplatin alone. (Funded by Bristol Myers Squibb and Ono Pharmaceutical; CheckMate 901 ClinicalTrials.gov number, NCT03036098.).
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