A clinical trial evaluating Opdivo (nivolumab) versus Yervoy (ipilimumab) in patients with stage IIIb/c or stage IV melanoma who are at high risk of recurrence following complete surgical resection has demonstrated a superior recurrence-free survival in patients receiving Opdivo compared to Yervoy.
There remains an unmet need for additional treatment options for individuals with stage III and resected stage IV high-risk melanoma patients because the risk of disease recurrence after surgery is significant. The results from the current clinical trial support Opdivo as a treatment option for these patients with high-risk surgically resected melanoma.
Adjuvant Therapy in Melanoma
Melanoma is separated into five staging categories (stages 0-4). Stage 3 melanoma is a cancer that has spread to the regional lymph nodes but has not yet spread to distant lymph nodes or to other parts of the body (metastasized). Current standard treatment of stage 3 melanoma is surgical resection of the primary tumor as well as the involved lymph nodes. Despite surgical removal of the cancer however, most patients experience disease recurrence and progress to metastatic disease. By five years, the majority of stage IIIb and IIIc patients (68% and 89%, respectively) experience disease recurrence. There remains an unmet need for adjuvant therapy administered following surgery to reduce the risk of the cancer spreading.
Opdivo is a precision cancer medicine that belongs to a new class of medicines called PD-1 inhibitors that have generated great excitement for their ability to help the immune system recognize and attack cancer. PD-1 is a protein that inhibits certain types of immune responses. Drugs that block PD-1 may enhance the ability of the immune system to fight cancer. Opdivo works by blocking PD-1. PD-1 inhibitors are being investigated in more than 30 different cancers, and it is already approved for the treatment of melanoma and lung cancer and researchers continue to evaluate its effectiveness in different types of cancer.
CheckMate -238 is an ongoing clinical trial comparing Opdivo to Yervoy in patients who have undergone complete surgical resection of a Stage IIIb/c or Stage IV melanoma. Overall 906 have been enrolled in the clinical trial and treated with Opdivo or Yervoy. According to the manufacturer of Opdivo, the study has now met its primary objective, demonstrating that Opdivo reduces the risk of cancer recurrence compared to Yervoy. More detailed results will be available shortly but patients with stage III or Iv melanoma should discuss this emerging treatment options with their doctor.
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