Months after the U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved Opdivo and Yervoy for malignant mesothelioma, Europe and Canada followed suit.
Health Canada and the European Commission approved the immunotherapy drugs for unresectable cases of malignant pleural mesothelioma. Opdivo is the brand name for the immunotherapy drug nivolumab. Yervoy is the brand name for the immunotherapy drug ipilimumab.
Both are checkpoint inhibitor immunotherapy drugs. Opdivo inhibits the connection between cancer protein PD-L1 and T-cell protein receptor PD-1. Yervoy inhibits the linking of cancer protein B7 with the T-cell receptor CTLA-4.
The European Commission and Health Canada approvals allow for patients to receive Opdivo once every two weeks and Yervoy once every six weeks. Canada’s decision also allows for a fixed dose of just Opdivo once every three weeks.
Opdivo plus Yervoy, both manufactured by Bristol Myers Squibb, outperforms chemotherapy for survival and safety. While chemotherapy causes nausea, vomiting and severe fatigue, Opdivo and Yervoy either avoid these effects or cause more manageable versions.
Chemotherapy’s average survival rate for malignant pleural mesothelioma is 12-14 months, depending on the study. In the Checkmate-743 clinical trial, Opdivo and Yervoy led to median survival of 18 months. Nearly half of the participants lived for at least two years after starting treatment.
The Checkmate-743 study is the basis for the FDA’s approval in October. It’s also the driving force behind the Europe and Canada approvals.
Sources & Author
- Health Canada Approves OPDIVO® (nivolumab) plus YERVOY® (ipilimumab) as the First and Only Immunotherapy Treatment for Previously Untreated Unresectable Malignant Pleural Mesothelioma. Newswire. Retrieved from: https://www.newswire.ca/news-releases/health-canada-approves-opdivo-r-nivolumab-plus-yervoy-r-ipilimumab-as-the-first-and-only-immunotherapy-treatment-for-previously-untreated-unresectable-malignant-pleural-mesothelioma-837006029.html. Accessed: 06/04/2021.
- Nivolumab/Ipilimumab Approved in Europe for Frontline Unresectable Malignant Pleural Mesothelioma. OncLive. Retrieved from: https://www.onclive.com/view/nivolumab-ipilimumab-approved-in-europe-for-frontline-unresectable-malignant-pleural-mesothelioma. Accessed: 06/04/2021.
Sources & Author