A new treatment for lung cancer increases survival and could benefit more than 6,000 patients a year

  • The journal New England Journal of Medicine has published the results of the NADIM II study, which confirms the great benefit of chemo-immunotherapy with nivolumab before surgery on locally advanced tumors and is consolidated worldwide as the standard of treatment.
  • 36.8% of patients who receive this new treatment achieve a complete tumor disappearance, compared to 6.9%. In addition, 85% of patients survive two years after receiving chemo-immunotherapy before surgery compared to 63% who receive chemotherapy alone before surgery.
  • The NADIM II study, led by the Spanish Lung Cancer Group (GECP) and with the participation of the Bellvitge Biomedical Research Institute (IDIBELL), has been a pioneer in initiating a paradigm shift in treating lung cancer in its initial stages that increases survival.
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The NADIM II study consolidates a new standard of treatment for initial lung cancer that represents a 20% increase in survival and that can benefit more than 6,000 patients a year throughout the State. The results of this study, led by the Spanish Lung Cancer Group and which has been published in the New England Journal of Medicine, confirm the great benefit of chemo-immunotherapy with nivolumab before operating on stage lung tumors.

The study had the participation of the Bellvitge Biomedical Research Institute (IDIBELL), the Catalan Institute of Oncology (ICO), the Germans Trias i Pujol Health Sciences Research Institute, and the Girona Dr. Josep Trueta Hospital.

For the president of the Spanish Lung Cancer Group and first author of the study, Mariano Provencio, “This study opens the door to a global change in the treatment of patients with early lung cancer since currently, only 30 % of patients survive 5 years. With the NADIM scheme, this percentage could reach 70%. More than 6,000 patients could benefit from improvements each year in the State”.

Additionally, the head of the IDIBELL and ICO lung cancer research group and member of the GECP Board, Ernest Nadal says: “This new treatment modality based on chemotherapy plus immunotherapy is capable of completely eliminating tumor cells, disappear both the tumor and the metastases that affect the regional lymph nodes. This, very rare with chemotherapy, is now achieved in 37% of patients who have a chance of being completely cured. Patients who fail to eradicate the disease but who receive the combination also clearly benefit from this strategy because they achieve longer survival.”


More responses to treatment and more patients operated

The NADIM II results open a door to increasing the percentage of patients who achieve long-term complete tumor remission. In this sense, the data show that 36.8% of the patients achieve a complete reduction of the tumor, compared to 6.9% who do so with the traditional approach of applying the treatment after surgery.

The improvement in survival is also very clear, 20% higher, since with chemo-immunotherapy before surgery, 85% of patients survive two years after having carried out the treatment compared to 63% who do the traditional approach.

This approach would also make it possible to increase the number of patients who can finally undergo surgery: 93% of patients in the combination therapy group underwent surgery after treatment, compared to 69% in the control group.


About the NADIM studies

This independent research group, made up of 620 multidisciplinary specialists from all over the State, was a pioneer in 2019 by starting a study of the benefits that this therapeutic strategy in the NADIM study. NADIM, a pilot study in 46 patients, was the first study worldwide to analyze the benefits (feasibility, safety, efficacy, and survival) of administering chemo-immunotherapy before surgery to patients with early or locally advanced lung cancer.

The results were published in 2020 in The Lancet Oncology journal. Based on this pilot study, the GECP launched NADIM II, with two treatment arms that compare standard versus combined chemo-immunotherapy therapy. The findings presented validate the initial results and represent a paradigm shift. The NADIM II study recruited 86 patients from twenty different hospital centers throughout the State.



The Bellvitge Biomedical Research Institute (IDIBELL) is a biomedical research center created in 2004. It is participated by the Bellvitge University Hospital and the Viladecans Hospital of the Catalan Institute of Health, the Catalan Institute of Oncology, the University of Barcelona and the City Council of L’Hospitalet de Llobregat.

IDIBELL is a member of the Campus of International Excellence of the University of Barcelona HUBc and is part of the CERCA institution of the Generalitat de Catalunya. In 2009 it became one of the first five Spanish research centers accredited as a health research institute by the Carlos III Health Institute. In addition, it is part of the “HR Excellence in Research” program of the European Union and is a member of EATRIS and REGIC. Since 2018, IDIBELL has been an Accredited Center of the AECC Scientific Foundation (FCAECC).

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