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Adjuvant Nivolumab Tops Ipilimumab in Melanoma

TUESDAY, Sept. 12, 2017 -- Adjuvant therapy with nivolumab is associated with longer recurrence-free survival than therapy with ipilimumab among patients undergoing resection of stage IIIB, IIIC, or IV melanoma, according to a study published online Sept. 11 in the New England Journal of Medicine. The research was published to coincide with the European Society of Medical Oncology Congress, held from Sept. 8 to 12 in Madrid, Spain.

Jeffrey Weber, M.D., Ph.D., from New York University Perlmutter Cancer Center in New York City, and colleagues randomized 906 patients who were undergoing complete resection of stage IIIB, IIIC, or IV melanoma to receive an intravenous infusion of nivolumab (453 patients) or ipilimumab (453 patients).

The researchers found that the 12-month rate of recurrence-free survival was 70.5 and 60.8 percent in the nivolumab and ipilimumab groups, respectively, at a minimum follow-up of 18 months (hazard ratio for disease recurrence or death, 0.65). Treatment-related grade 3 or 4 adverse events were reported in 14.4 and 45.9 percent of patients in the nivolumab and ipilimumab groups, respectively; treatment was discontinued due to any adverse event in 9.7 and 42.6 percent, respectively. More than 100 days after treatment there were two deaths related to toxic effects reported in the ipilimumab group.

"Adjuvant therapy with nivolumab resulted in significantly longer recurrence-free survival and a lower rate of grade 3 or 4 adverse events than adjuvant therapy with ipilimumab," the authors write.

Several authors disclosed financial ties to the pharmaceutical industry, including Bristol-Myers Squibb and Ono Pharmaceutical, which funded the study.

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Posted: September 2017