FDA expands approval of nivolumab for melanoma treatment


The Food and Drug Administration has approved 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.

Nivolumab was previously approved for the treatment of patients with unresectable or metastatic melanoma, the FDA said in a press statement.

Approval was based on results from the CHECKMATE-238 trial, where 906 patients with completely resected stage IIIB/C or stage IV melanoma received either nivolumab or ipilimumab for up to 1 year. Recurrence-free survival was superior in patients who received nivolumab, with 34% of patients in the nivolumab group experiencing recurrence/death, compared to 45.5% in the ipilimumab group.

FDA icon Wikimedia Commons/FitzColinGerald/Creative Commons License
The most common adverse reactions associated with nivolumab were fatigue, diarrhea, rash, musculoskeletal pain, pruritus, headache, nausea, upper respiratory infection, and abdominal pain. A total of 9% of patients who received nivolumab in the CHECKMATE-238 trial discontinued treatment because of adverse reactions.

The recommended dose and schedule of nivolumab in adjuvant melanoma is 240 mg administered as an IV infusion over 60 minutes every 2 weeks until disease recurrence or unacceptable toxicity, for a maximum of 1 year, according to the FDA.

Nivolumab is marketed as Opdivo by Bristol-Myers Squibb Company.

Find the full press release on the FDA website.

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