by Dr. C.H. Weaver M.D. updated 11/2018
The overall survival data from the CheckMate -067 clinical trial evaluating combination immunotherapy with Yervoy (ipilumamab) and Opdivo (nivolumab) was initially reported in 2017. At that time the two-year survival rates were 64% for the Opdivo plus Yervoy combination, 59% for Opdivo alone and 45% for Yervoy alone. As of November 2018 the most recently reported median length of survival for patients receiving the combination has still not been reached and it is 36.9 months for Opdivo and 19.9 months for Yervoy.
Opdivo is a programmed death-1 (PD-1) immune checkpoint inhibitor that is designed to uniquely harness the body’s own immune system to help restore anti-tumor immune response. By harnessing the body’s own immune system to fight cancer, Opdivo has become an important treatment option across multiple cancers.
About Yervoy (ipilimumab)
Yervoy is a monoclonal antibody that targets a molecule known as CTLA4. CTLA4 is found on the surface of T cells and is thought to inhibit immune responses. By targeting this molecule, Yervoy may enhance the immune system’s response against tumor cells. Yervoy was approved in March 2011 for the treatment of melanoma and appears active in a number of cancers.
The most common adverse reactions (reported in at least 20% of patients treated with the combination) were fatigue, rash, diarrhea, musculoskeletal pain, pruritus, nausea, cough, pyrexia, arthralgia, and decreased appetite.
Melanoma is less common than non-melanoma skin cancer, but tends to be much more aggressive. Of the more than one million new diagnoses of skin cancer each year, roughly 68,000 involve melanoma. More than 8,000 people die of melanoma each year in the United States. What makes melanoma so dangerous is that it is more likely than other types of skin cancer to spread (metastasize) to other parts of the body. Melanoma can occur anywhere on the body. The first signs of melanoma may be a mole that changes in appearance, bleeds, or has more than one color or an irregular shape.
In addition to surviving longer, individuals with advanced melanoma treated with Opdivo and Yervoy were more likely to respond to treatment, more likely to have a complete disappearance of their cancer, and experience a delay to cancer progression.
About CheckMate -067
The CheckMate -067 is a Phase 3, double-blind, randomized clinical trial that evaluated the combination of Opdivo plus Yervoy or Opdivo monotherapy versus Yervoy monotherapy in 945 patients with previously untreated advanced melanoma. Patients were treated until progression or unacceptable toxic effects.
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