This article discusses the current status and potential future developments in immunotherapy for genitourinary malignancies with insights from urologic oncology specialists Hyung L. Kim, MD, and Daniel P. Petrylak, MD.
The FDA this week expanded the approved use of Yervoy (ipilimumab) to include a new use as adjuvant therapy for patients with stage III melanoma - lowering the risk that melanoma will return following surgery.
Melanoma, an aggressive disease with a rapidly rising incidence rate, presents the oncology field with some of its greatest challenges and opportunities. Long considered one of the most difficult diseases to treat with pharmacotherapy, drug development within melanoma has lagged behind that of many other cancers, culminating in decades of limited progress. Developments in molecular biology, however, have led to an increased understanding of the molecular heterogeneity of melanoma in recent years, which has resulted in new insights into the roles of oncogenes, signaling pathways, immune checkpoints, and tumor-promoting events, accelerating the rate of discovery of therapeutic targets.
Ipilimumab (Yervoy, Bristol-Myers Squibb) significantly improved recurrence-free survival in patients with stage 3 melanoma in the adjuvant setting, compared to placebo, according to data presented at the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) annual meeting in Chicago.
Though a cure for melanoma remains elusive, continued research has borne several promising treatment approaches with more targeted drugs that can help lengthen melanoma patients' survival, buying them time until more effective treatments come to light.