Adjuvant Nivolumab Linked to Longer Recurrence-Free Survival in Melanoma

HealthDay News — 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 in the New England Journal of Medicine. The research was published to coincide with the European Society of Medical Oncology Congress, held from September 8-12, 2017. in Madrid, Spain.

Jeffrey Weber, MD, PhD, 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 (n=453 patients) or ipilimumab (n=453 patients).

The researchers found that the 12-month rate of recurrence-free survival was 70.5% and 60.8% in the nivolumab and ipilimumab groups, respectively, at a minimum follow-up of 18 months (hazard ratio for disease recurrence or death [HR] .65). Treatment-related grade 3 or 4 adverse events were reported in 14.4% and 45.9% of patients in the nivolumab and ipilimumab groups, respectively.

Treatment was discontinued due to any adverse event in 9.7% and 42.6%, respectively. More than 100 days after treatment there were 2 deaths related to toxic effects reported in the ipilimumab group.

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“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.


  1. Weber J, Mandala M, Del Vecchio M, et al. Adjuvant nivolumab vs ipilimumab in resected stage III or IV melanoma [published online September 10, 2017]. N Engl J Med. doi: 10.1056/NEJMoa1709030