In the Phase 3 CheckMate -901 trial, Opdivo with cisplatin and gemcitabine demonstrated a statistically significant improvement in overall survival and progression-free survival compared to cisplatin-gemcitabine alone1

This is the first concurrent immunotherapy-chemotherapy combination approved for this patient population in the U.S.

PRINCETON, NJ, USA I March 07, 2024 I Bristol Myers Squibb (NYSE: BMY) today announced that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved Opdivo® (nivolumab), in combination with cisplatin and gemcitabine, for the first-line treatment of adult patients with unresectable or metastatic urothelial carcinoma (UC), the most common type of bladder cancer.1,2 This approval is based on results from the Phase 3 CheckMate –901 trial which evaluated Opdivo in combination with cisplatin and gemcitabine followed by Opdivo monotherapy (n=304), compared to cisplatin-gemcitabine alone (n=304), for patients with previously untreated unresectable or metastatic UC.1,3 The primary efficacy endpoints were overall survival (OS) and progression-free survival (PFS) assessed by Blinded Independent Central Review (BICR).1

In the trial, with a median follow-up of approximately 33 months, treatment with Opdivo in combination with cisplatin and gemcitabine reduced the risk of death by 22%, demonstrating a median OS of 21.7 months versus 18.9 months with cisplatin-gemcitabine alone (Hazard Ratio [HR] 0.78; 95% Confidence Interval [CI]: 0.63, 0.96; p=0.0171).1,4 Patients receiving Opdivo in combination with cisplatin and gemcitabine had their risk of disease progression or death reduced by 28%, with a median PFS of 7.9 months compared to 7.6 months with cisplatin-gemcitabine alone (HR 0.72; 95% CI: 0.59, 0.88; p=0.0012).1

Additionally, in exploratory analyses, treatment with Opdivo in combination with cisplatin and gemcitabine resulted in an objective response rate (ORR) of 57.6% (n=175) (95% CI: 51.8, 63.2) versus 43.1% (n=131) (95% CI: 37.5, 48.9) with cisplatin-gemcitabine alone.1,4 The complete response (CR) rate and partial response (PR) rate seen in patients treated with Opdivo in combination with cisplatin and gemcitabine was 22% (n=66) and 36% (n=109), respectively, versus 12% (n=36) and 31% (n=95) with cisplatin-gemcitabine alone.1

“This approval marks an important advancement in a historically difficult-to-treat setting, where there has been a need for new and differentiated first-line approaches that may offer patients a chance to live longer,”5 said Guru P. Sonpavde, MD, Medical Director of Genitourinary Oncology and the Phase I Clinical Research Unit and Christopher K. Glanz Chair for Bladder Cancer Research at the AdventHealth Cancer Institute, Orlando, Florida. “Based on outcomes and the safety profile seen in the CheckMate -901 clinical trial, the approval of Opdivo in combination with cisplatin and gemcitabine has the potential to change how metastatic or unresectable UC is treated for certain patients and offers them new hope.”1

Opdivo is associated with the following Warnings & Precautions: severe and fatal immune-mediated adverse reactions, including pneumonitis, colitis, hepatitis and hepatotoxicity, endocrinopathies, dermatologic adverse reactions, nephritis with renal dysfunction, other immune-mediated adverse reactions; infusion-related reactions; complications of allogeneic hematopoietic stem cell transplantation (HSCT); embryo-fetal toxicity; and increased mortality in patients with multiple myeloma when Opdivo is added to a thalidomide analogue and dexamethasone, which is not recommended outside of controlled clinical trials. Please see Important Safety Information below.1

“Bringing Opdivo to the first-line setting in UC with chemotherapy is the latest realization of our history of research and progress in immunotherapy, which has helped transform the treatment landscape for many cancers, including bladder cancer,”1,6 said Wendy Short Bartie, senior vice president and general manager, U.S. Hematology and Oncology at Bristol Myers Squibb. “This milestone adds a meaningful expansion to our portfolio of Opdivo-based treatments in genitourinary cancers, where we now have offerings in UC spanning three indications across stages of disease and treatment needs.”1

The FDA previously approved Opdivo for the adjuvant treatment of adult patients with UC who are at high risk of recurrence after undergoing radical resection of UC; it also previously approved Opdivo for the treatment of adult patients with locally advanced or metastatic UC who have had disease progression during or following platinum-containing chemotherapy or have disease progression within 12 months of neoadjuvant or adjuvant treatment with platinum-containing chemotherapy.1

Bristol Myers Squibb’s supplemental Biologics License Application (sBLA) leading to today’s approval was granted Priority Review status by the FDA, and was approved under the FDA’s Real-Time Oncology Review (RTOR) pilot program, which aims to ensure that safe and effective treatments are available to patients as early as possible.7 The review was also conducted under the FDA’s Project Orbis initiative, which enables concurrent review by the health authorities in several other countries where the application remains under review.

About CheckMate -901

CheckMate -901 is a Phase 3, randomized, open-label trial evaluating Opdivo in combination with cisplatin and gemcitabine followed by Opdivo monotherapy compared to cisplatin-gemcitabine alone, in patients with previously untreated unresectable or metastatic urothelial cancer.3

In the CheckMate -901 study, a total of 608 cisplatin-eligible patients were randomized to receive either Opdivo 360 mg in combination with cisplatin-gemcitabine every three weeks for up to six cycles followed by Opdivo monotherapy 480 mg every 4 weeks until disease progression or unacceptable toxicity up to a maximum of two years, or cisplatin-gemcitabine alone every three weeks for up to six cycles.1 The primary endpoints of this study were overall survival (OS) and progression-free survival (PFS) assessed by Blinded Independent Central Review (BICR).1,3 The OS and PFS outcomes for cisplatin-eligible patients are based on the final efficacy analyses of these endpoints.4

Select Safety Profile from CheckMate -901

Serious adverse reactions occurred in 48% of patients receiving Opdivo with chemotherapy.1 The most frequent serious adverse reactions reported in ≥2% of patients who received Opdivo with chemotherapy were urinary tract infection (4.9%), acute kidney injury (4.3%), anemia (3%), pulmonary embolism (2.6%), sepsis (2.3%), and platelet count decreased (2.3%).1 The most common adverse reactions (reported in ≥20% of patients) were nausea, fatigue, musculoskeletal pain, constipation, decreased appetite, rash, vomiting, and peripheral neuropathy.1 Fatal adverse reactions occurred in 3.6% patients who received Opdivo with chemotherapy; these included sepsis (1%).1 Opdivo and/or chemotherapy were discontinued in 30% of patients and were delayed in 67% of patients for an adverse reaction.1

About Urothelial Carcinoma

Bladder cancer is the sixth most common cancer in the U.S., with an estimated 83,190 new cases expected to be diagnosed in 2024.2,8 Urothelial carcinoma, which most frequently begins in the cells that line the inside of the bladder, accounts for approximately 90% of bladder cancer cases.2,8 In addition to the bladder, urothelial carcinoma can occur in other parts of the urinary tract, including the ureters and renal pelvis.2 The majority of urothelial carcinomas are diagnosed at an early stage, but approximately 50% of patients who undergo radical surgery will experience disease progression and recurrence, generally within two years post-surgery.9,10,11,12,13 Approximately 20% to 25% of patients with urothelial carcinoma present with metastatic disease, and treatment challenges have historically persisted in the first- and second-line settings, in part due to limited therapeutic options.13,14,15


OPDIVO® (nivolumab), in combination with cisplatin and gemcitabine, is indicated as first-line treatment for adult patients with unresectable or metastatic urothelial carcinoma.

Please see US Full Prescribing Information for OPDIVO.

Bristol Myers Squibb: Creating a Better Future for People with Cancer

Bristol Myers Squibb is inspired by a single vision — transforming patients’ lives through science. The goal of the company’s cancer research is to deliver medicines that offer each patient a better, healthier life and to make cure a possibility. Building on a legacy across a broad range of cancers that have changed survival expectations for many, Bristol Myers Squibb researchers are exploring new frontiers in personalized medicine and, through innovative digital platforms, are turning data into insights that sharpen their focus. Deep understanding of causal human biology, cutting-edge capabilities and differentiated research platforms uniquely position the company to approach cancer from every angle.

Cancer can have a relentless grasp on many parts of a patient’s life, and Bristol Myers Squibb is committed to taking actions to address all aspects of care, from diagnosis to survivorship. As a leader in cancer care, Bristol Myers Squibb is working to empower all people with cancer to have a better future.

About Bristol Myers Squibb’s Patient Access Support

Bristol Myers Squibb remains committed to providing assistance so that cancer patients who need our medicines can access them and expedite time to therapy.

BMS Access Support®, the Bristol Myers Squibb patient access and reimbursement program, is designed to help appropriate patients initiate and maintain access to BMS medicines during their treatment journey. BMS Access Support offers benefit investigation, prior authorization assistance, as well as co-pay assistance for eligible, commercially insured patients. More information about our access and reimbursement support can be obtained by calling BMS Access Support at 1-800-861-0048 or by visiting

About the Bristol Myers Squibb and Ono Pharmaceutical Collaboration

In 2011, through a collaboration agreement with Ono Pharmaceutical Co., Bristol Myers Squibb expanded its territorial rights to develop and commercialize Opdivo globally, except in Japan, South Korea and Taiwan, where Ono had retained all rights to the compound at the time. On July 23, 2014, Ono and Bristol Myers Squibb further expanded the companies’ strategic collaboration agreement to jointly develop and commercialize multiple immunotherapies – as single agents and combination regimens – for patients with cancer in Japan, South Korea and Taiwan.

About Bristol Myers Squibb

Bristol Myers Squibb is a global biopharmaceutical company whose mission is to discover, develop and deliver innovative medicines that help patients prevail over serious diseases. For more information about Bristol Myers Squibb, visit us at or follow us on LinkedIn, Twitter, YouTube, Facebook and Instagram.


  1. Opdivo Prescribing Information. Opdivo U.S. Product Information. Last updated: March 2024. Princeton, N.J.: Bristol Myers Squibb Company.
  2. American Cancer Society. About Bladder Cancer. Available at Accessed February 06, 2024.
  3. NCT03036098. Study of Nivolumab in Combination With Ipilimumab or Standard of Care Chemotherapy Compared to the Standard of Care Chemotherapy Alone in Treatment of Participants With Untreated Inoperable or Metastatic Urothelial Cancer (CheckMate901). Available at Accessed February 06, 2024.
  4. van der Heijden MS, Sonpavde G, Powles T, et al. Nivolumab plus Gemcitabine-Cisplatin in Advanced Urothelial Carcinoma. N Engl J Medicine. 2023; 389:1778-1789. doi:10.1056/NEJMoa2309863
  5. SEER. Cancer Stat Facts: Bladder Cancer. Available at Accessed February 06, 2024.
  6. American Cancer Society. Treating Bladder Cancer. Available at . Accessed February 06, 2024.
  7. U.S. Food & Drug Administration. Real-Time Oncology Review Pilot Program. Accessed February 06, 2024.
  8. Bilim V, Kuroki H, Shirono Y, et al. Advanced Bladder Cancer: Changing the Treatment Landscape. J Pers Med. 2022;12(10):1745. doi:10.3390/jpm12101745
  9. World Health Organization: Bladder Cancer. Available at Accessed February 08, 2024.
  10. Dason S, Cha EK, Falavolti C, et al. Late Recurrences Following Radical Cystectomy Have Distinct Prognostic and Management Considerations. J Urol. 2020;204(3):460-465. doi:10.1097/JU.0000000000001028
  11. American Cancer Society: Bladder Cancer Early Detection Diagnosis and Staging. Available at Accessed February 06, 2024.
  12. Mari A, Campi R, Tellini R, et al. Patterns and predictors of recurrence after open radical cystectomy for bladder cancer: a comprehensive review of the literature. World J Urol. 2018;36(2):157-170. doi:10.1007/s00345-017-2115-4
  13. Svatek RS, Siefker-Radtke A, Dinney CP. Management of metastatic urothelial cancer: the role of surgery as an adjunct to chemotherapy. Can Urol Assoc J. 2009;3(6 Suppl 4):S228-S231. doi:10.5489/cuaj.1203
  14. Vassiliou V, Katsila T, Sodergren SC, Kardamakis D. Radiotherapy in Metastatic Urothelial Carcinoma: Rationale and Clinical Applications. Anticancer Res. 2022;42(8):3767-3778. doi:10.21873/anticanres.15867
  15. Apolo AB, Nadal R, Girardi DM, et al. Phase I Study of Cabozantinib and Nivolumab Alone or With Ipilimumab for Advanced or Metastatic Urothelial Carcinoma and Other Genitourinary Tumors. J Clin Oncol. 2020;38(31):3672-3684. doi:10.1200/JCO.20.01652

SOURCE: Bristol Myers Squibb