How does ipilimumab help in the treatment of melanoma?

Home Cancer How does ipilimumab help in the treatment of melanoma?

Melanocytes are the site of origin of melanoma, a deadly skin cancer. World Health Organization estimated that almost fifty-three thousand global populations have died per annum due to melanoma. The treatment of this disease is rapidly evolving with time. The doctor decides the treatment depending upon the nature of the tumor. A combination of a BRAF-inhibitor and a MEK-inhibitor is prescribed for patients with BRAFv600 mutations. Checkpoint inhibitors, immunotherapy is prescribed for treating BRAFv600 mutated tumors and BRAF wild-type tumors.


In 2011, the FDA and EMA approved Ipilimumab, the first discovered checkpoint inhibitor clinically available for treating metastatic melanoma. The FDA has also approved Ipilimumab for treating patients with high-risk, stage III melanoma.

Antibody therapy can effectively raise an immune response against tumor-associated antigens expressed by tumors. Ipilimumab is a recombinant, human monoclonal antibody that activates Cytotoxic T lymphocytes activity that can recognize and destroy the cancerous cells. Inhibition of Cytotoxic T lymphocytes activity can alter this mechanism. Ipilimumab boosts the immune response against cancerous cells.

Ipilimumab helps in the treatment of Advanced Melanoma

Ipilimumab works as a systemic treatment prescribes to control melanoma, provide melanoma symptomatically relieves, and increase the survival duration of the patient.

Ipilimumab has an immunological “memory” and acts on the immune system. Ipilimumab helps the immune system to fight against melanoma cells even completing the regular treatment. Therefore, Ipilimumab reduces the chances of reoccurrence of melanoma. Clinical trial results reported that 20% of patients being alive years later after Ipilimumab treatment. This indicates Ipilimumab prolongs overall survival compared to a vaccine.

Treatment with Ipilimumab can completely or partially recess the tumor growth or causes stabilize the tumor growth without further shrinkage of the tumor growth. These treatment effects carry on for several years.

Ipilimumab as Adjuvant Therapy for Melanoma

In 2015, the FDA has approved ipilimumab as adjuvant therapy after surgical intervention for patients with stage III melanoma. The application of Ipilimumab as adjuvant therapy for melanoma is to reduce the risk of recurrence of the disease.

The usual treatment of stage III melanoma is a surgical intervention to remove primary tumors on the skin and the adjoining lymph nodes. The inclusion of Ipilimumab as adjuvant therapy helps patients to live a relapse-free linger life.

A clinical trial has been performed to check the efficacy of Ipilimumab as adjuvant therapy for patients after their surgical intervention to remove the melanoma tumors. The results of this trial found that treatment with ipilimumab could extend the time of returning cancer by an average of nine months. The ongoing clinical trials are assessing the potential benefit of ipilimumab on overall survival rates.

The side effect of Ipilimumab cannot be ignored. Some patients may experience serious side effects and require medical assistance. It is always suggested to consult with a doctor regarding the side effects of Ipilimumab and alternative treatment options for melanoma.



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