For the first time, ipilimumab (Yervoy, Bristol-Myers Squibb) has been shown to be effective in an adjuvant setting for earlier-stage melanoma. The drug is already approved for use in stage IV disease.
In a new study, known as EORTC 18071, more than 900 patients with stage III disease received ipilimumab (10 mg/kg) at a dose higher than the dose approved (3 mg/kg) for stage IV disease. Results presented here at the 2014 Annual Meeting of the American Society of Clinical Oncology® show that ipilimumab significantly delayed recurrence, compared with placebo, in these stage III patients.
But experts say that these results are not strong enough to catapult the immunotherapy into the role of an important treatment option in this setting. And they cite the drug's toxicity as an ongoing concern, given the marginal benefit shown so far.
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