Nivolumab (BMS-936558) is an investigational anticancer drug that boosts the body’s immune system by targeting a protein on white blood cells called PD-1. PD-1 normally maintains the balance of the immune system by shutting it down at the right time. Some cancers take advantage of this shut-down mechanism by activating PD-1, enabling them to escape attack by the body’s white blood cells. Nivolumab binds to and inactivates PD-1, enhancing the body’s ability to detect and destroy cancer cells.
In this study, researchers are comparing the effectiveness of nivolumab to that of docetaxel, a standard chemotherapy drug, in patients with advanced squamous cell lung cancer that persists despite prior therapy. Patients will be randomly assigned to receive nivolumab or docetaxel, but not both. Both drugs are given intravenously (by vein).