We know Opdivo and Yervoy work together for treating malignant mesothelioma. The two immunotherapy drugs, known also by their generic names nivolumab and ipilimumab, are FDA-approved for unresectable malignant mesothelioma.

A new study shows how nivolumab (Opdivo) works as a standalone therapy, without the assistance of ipilimumab (Yervoy).

Lancelet Oncology published the study, which was held at multiple hospitals in the United Kingdom from 2017-2020. A total of 332 patients participated. All of them tried systemic chemotherapy but still had a progressing cancer.


Trying Opdivo Alone After Chemotherapy

Opdivo was given to 66% of the patients. The dose was 240mg every two weeks for 30-minute intervals. Opdivo is given intravenously. The other one-third received a placebo agent.

Opdivo patients had a better median survival and progression-free survival than the placebo group:

  • Three months median progression-free survival, versus 1.8 months
  • 10.2 months median overall survival, versus 6.9 months

Progression-free survival is how long the treatment keeps cancer from growing. Mesothelioma is a stubborn cancer and often grows resistant to intravenous therapy within a few weeks. Opdivo lasting an average of three months before the tumors grow resistant is promising news.


Need for Opdivo and Yervoy Together

This news also confirms the need for Yervoy. The combination of Opdivo and Yervoy for mesothelioma has a median survival of 18.4 months. The progression-free survival is around seven months, so more than double Opdivo on its own.

Opdivo can extend survival for patients after chemotherapy falters. However, it’s likely best to pair Opdivo and Yervoy together as a second-line therapy. This is what some cancer centers are trying already.

You can easily begin immunotherapy treatment for mesothelioma. If you can’t have surgery, the combination of Opdivo and Yervoy is one of the best options for improving your prognosis. Email our lead patient advocate, Karen Ritter, at karen@mesotheliomaguide.com. She’s a registered nurse and can explain how immunotherapy works, plus side effects. She can help find a specialist or cancer center with a clinical trial for mesothelioma immunotherapy.

    Sources & Author

Devin Goldan image

About the Writer, Devin Golden

Devin Golden is the content writer for Mesothelioma Guide. He produces mesothelioma-related content on various mediums, including the Mesothelioma Guide website and social media channels. Devin's objective is to translate complex information regarding mesothelioma into informative, easily absorbable content to help patients and their loved ones.

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