New Melanoma Drug Treatment Approved

The European Commission (EC) has approved a new oncology treatment for melanoma.

The approved treatment is a combination of two medications for treating advanced melanoma:

  • Ipilimumab (Yervoy)
  • Nivolumab (Opdivo) 

Both drugs are from Bristol-Myers Squibb.

The approval for the EC in 2016 follows previous approval in the USA last year and was based on trial results which showed after 9+ months, median progression-free survival was:

  • Ipilimumab only: 2.9 months
  • Nivolumab only: 6.9 months
  • Combination treatment: 11.5 months

Results reported at the 2015 annual meeting of the American Society of Clinical Oncology.

However, while a new combination treatment is undoubtedly good news for those who have advanced melanoma, treatment is unpleasant.

While the combination therapy showed lower risk for progression or death than either of the drugs used in isolation, there was a higher rate of side-effects with the combination compared to using just one medication. Side effects (including colitis and diarrrhoea) occured in 55.0% of the combination group, compared to 16.0% of the nivolumab only and 27.3% of ipilimumab only.

36% of patients discontinued the combination treatment due to the unpleasant events.

Prevention rather than cure

The best advice remains to:

  1. avoid any risk of skin cancer by exercising extreme caution with regard to sun exposure and tanning – staying out of the sun where possible and using high factor skin protection year round
  2. spot any concerns early through regular skin checks to look for unusual signs of change – see a GP asap if there are any concerns for early removal and the best possible chances of a good outcome

It is normal to have some moles and thankfully most are medically harmless. For these, removal on the NHS is rarely offered; but patients can choose to have private mole removal to put their mind at rest.

Mole Removal Surgery

Doctors at Mole Clinics offer mole removal treatment using laser mole removal techniques as well as excision surgery for larger lesions with no waiting lists. At Mole Clinics, removed moles are sent away for testing and a report given for peace of mind.

Private Mole Removal

Cosmedics Skin Surgery Laser Clinic offer private mole removal at a selection of clinics based in London and Bristol. Moles are removed using the latest surgical techniques including laser mole removal; with trained doctors and surgeons.

For more information or to book a consultation, please complete the form on this web page or call 020 7386 0464.