New drug prevents melanoma relapse in clinical trial
Elaine Thompson / AP
The results of a new clinical trial could revamp post-surgery treatment for people diagnosed with advanced melanoma, changing what had long been the standard protocol, per The Washington Post.
- The trial looked at effectiveness of two immunotherapy drugs utilized after surgery to remove aggressive melanoma tumors. Yeroy has been the standard immunotherapy treatment, but it was put head-to-head with a new drug called Opdivo.
- 71% of Opdivo users stayed cancer-free compared to 61% of those treated with Yervoy. Perhaps more importantly, users reacted better to Opdivo — only 5% of those on Opdivo discontinued their treatment due to side effects while 31% of Yervoy patients did so.
- Why it matters: The combined safety and effectiveness of an immunotherapy drug like Opdivo is a big deal for advanced cancer treatment, considering the health risks of more traditional treatments like chemotherapy.
- Not so fast: It's important to note the drug isn't a cure, it's a treatment designed to prevent relapse.