Nivolumab in Melanoma—Progress but not a cure

A study at the annual ASCO (American Society of Clinical Oncology meetings report a 31% partial remission rate in malignant melanoma with the immune modulator nivolumab.   31% of patients responded to this drug showing a 1/3 decrease in size of the tumor masses and 1 complete remission.

31% is a minority of patients but this rate of response far exceeds the 5-10% rate of other agents used in melanoma.  Yes I said 5-10%.

This is not a cure but there is clear progress evident with this new drug.  Whether this will be sustained remissions with a significant survival benefit, as appears likely, remains to be fully proven.

Medicynical Note:  The cost of this new agent will be interesting to track.  An unaffordable drug has the same impact as the sound generated by a tree falling in the woods.

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