Last year in the UK over 60,000 cancer patients enrolled on clinical trials aimed at improving cancer treatments and making them available to all.
A trial of nivolumab for melanoma that can't be removed with surgery or has spread to other parts of the body (CA209067)
This trial was looking at a drug called nivolumab for melanoma that can’t be removed or has spread to another part of the body. If melanoma can’t be removed with surgery or has spread to another part of your body, it is called advanced melanoma.
More about this trial
In this trial, researchers were looking at a drug called nivolumab and comparing it with another drug called ipilimumab as a
In this trial, some people had nivolumab, some people had ipilimumab and some people had both drugs. The aims of the trial were to
- See which treatment works best
- Learn more about the side effects
Summary of results
The researchers found that on average, people who had nivolumab (either on its own or with ipilimumab), had a longer period of time without any signs of their melanoma getting worse. Doctors call this an improvement in progression free survival.
This was an international trial with 945 people taking part in a number of different countries. Everybody had melanoma that couldn’t be removed with surgery or that had spread to another part of their body. They hadn’t had any other drug treatment for advanced melanoma.
It was a randomised trial. The people taking part were put into 1 of 3 treatment groups by computer. Neither they nor their doctors could choose which group they were in.
- A third had ipilimumab
- A third had nivolumab
- A third had nivolumab and ipilimumab
The researchers looked at the average length of time people lived without any signs of their melanoma getting worse. They found it was
- Just under 3 months (2.9 months) in the group who had ipilimumab
- Just under 7 months (6.9 months) in the group who had nivolumab
- 11 ½ months in the group who had nivolumab and ipilimumab
Many of the patients in all 3 groups had some side effects during treatment, but the number of serious side effects was higher in the group who had both nivolumab and ipilimumab. The most common side effects they had were diarrhoea, tiredness (fatigue), a rash and liver damage.
The trial team concluded that having nivolumab alone or in combination with ipilimumab improved progression free survival compared to having ipilimumab alone.
We have based this summary on information from the research team. The information has been reviewed by independent specialists (
How to join a clinical trial
Please note: In order to join a trial you will need to discuss it with your doctor, unless otherwise specified.
Dr James Larkin
Experimental Cancer Medicine Centre (ECMC)
NIHR Clinical Research Network: Cancer