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Clin Cancer Res. 2011 Nov 15;17(22):6958-62. doi: 10.1158/1078-0432.CCR-11-1595. Epub 2011 Sep 7.

Ipilimumab: an anti-CTLA-4 antibody for metastatic melanoma.

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Johns Hopkins Sidney Kimmel Comprehensive Cancer Center, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Baltimore, Maryland 21231, USA.


Ipilimumab (MDX-010, Yervoy; Bristol-Myers Squibb), a fully human monoclonal antibody against CTL antigen 4 (CTLA-4), was recently approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for the treatment of metastatic melanoma. In both early- and late-phase trials, ipilimumab has shown consistent activity against melanoma. For example, in a randomized phase III trial that enrolled patients with previously treated metastatic disease, ipilimumab, with or without a peptide vaccine, improved overall survival: Median overall survival was 10.1 and 10.0 months in the ipilimumab and ipilimumab plus vaccine arms, respectively, versus 6.4 months in the vaccine-alone group (hazard ratio, 0.68; P ≤ 0.003). Serious (grade 3-5) immune-related adverse events occurred in 10% to 15% of patients. Thus, although it provides a clear survival benefit, ipilimumab administration requires careful patient monitoring and sometimes necessitates treatment with immune-suppressive therapy. Here, we review the mechanism of action, preclinical data, and multiple clinical trials that led to FDA approval of ipilimumab for metastatic melanoma.

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