Hailed as the most significant advance in melanoma treatment of the past 50 years, will nivolumab and ipilimumab proved to be the proverbial “magic bullet” in the treatment of melanoma?
By: Ringo Bones
Hailed as the significant advance for medical in science in the treatment of melanoma of the past 50 years when the results of the medical trials were first published in The New England Journal Of Medicine back in June 1, 2015, the recent trials for chemotherapy drugs nivolumab and ipilimumab as a two-drug therapy on the treatment of melanoma showed really promising results. The medical trials were described as promising because the recent results of the medical trials have shown that the two chemotherapy drugs have shown to prevent melanoma metastasis to the liver and lungs. Also, the two-drug therapy enables our body’s own immune system to better destroy the malignant tumor cells themselves and the two drugs prevent tumors from avoiding the body’s immune response and the two drugs also trains our own body’s immune system to better identify and destroy cancer cells.
Nivolumab is a programmed death 1 [PD-1] checkpoint inhibitor while ipilimubab is a cytotoxic T-lymphocyte-associated antigen 4 [CTLA-4] checkpoint inhibitor; both of the chemotherapy agents have shown to have complementary activity in metastatic melanoma. In this randomized, double-blind, phase 3 study, nivulomab alone or nivolumab plus ipilimubab was compared with ipilimubab alone in patients with metastatic melanoma.
The trials were assigned in a 1:1:1 ratio, 945 previously untreated patients with unresectable stage III or stage IV melanoma to nivolumab alone, nivolumab plus ipilimumab, or ipilimumab alone. Tumors in 58 percent of the cases were stopped using the new treatment. Among previously untreated patients with metastatic melanoma, nivolumab alone or combined with ipilimumab resulted in significantly longer progression-free survival than ipilimumab alone. In patients with PD-L1-negative tumors, the combination of PD-1 and CTLA-4 blockade was more effective than either agent alone.