The FDA on December 20, 2017, granted regular approval to the anti-PD1 monoclonal antibody, OPDIVO® (Nivolumab) for the adjuvant treatment of patients with melanoma with involvement of lymph nodes or in patients with metastatic disease who have undergone complete resection. The approved adjuvant therapies over the past two decades, for patients with high-risk melanoma have included high-dose INTRON® A (Interferon alfa-2b), SYLATRON® (peginterferon alfa-2b), and high-dose YERVOY® (Ipilimumab). The significant toxicities associated with these adjuvant interventions, precluded the wide spread use of adjuvant therapy in high risk melanoma.
OPDIVO® is a less toxic, better tolerated, adjuvant treatment option than YERVOY®, for patients with resected stage IIIB/C and IV melanoma, regardless of BRAF mutation. The Recurrence Free Survival rate at 18 months with OPDIVO® was 66.4% compared with 52.7% for YERVOY® and this meant a 35% reduction in the risk of recurrence or death with the OPDIVO® versus YERVOY®. This will fulfill the unmet need for adjuvant therapies, with improved benefit-risk ratio, for this patient group.