Generic Name: ipilimumab
Drug Class: Immunotherapy Medications
Company: Bristol-Myers Squibb
Approval Status: Approved
Generic Version Available: No
Yervoy is a checkpoint inhibitor approved for advanced or metastatic melanoma, and in combination with Opdivo for kidney cancer (renal cell carcinoma), colorectal cancer with high microsatellite instability or mismatch repair deficiency genetic mutations (MSI-high/dMMR), advanced liver cancer and metastatic or recurrent non-small-cell lung cancer.
Yervoy is a monoclonal antibody used in cancer immunotherapy. It is a checkpoint inhibitor that blocks CTLA-4, an immune checkpoint protein that turns off immune responses by suppressing T-cell multiplication.
Clinical trials in the CheckMate program showed that Yervoy, alone or with Opdivo (nivolumab), slows disease progression and improves survival in people with inoperable or metastatic melanoma, and helps prevent melanoma recurrence after surgery in less advanced patients. CheckMate-214 showed that Opdivo plus Yervoy improved response rates and survival in people with advanced kidney cancer. CheckMate-142 showed that Opdivo plus Yervoy improved response rates in colorectal cancer patients with a specific genetic mutation, known as high microsatellite instability or mismatch repair deficiency (MSI-H/dMMR), that interferes with a cell’s ability to repair DNA damage. The CheckMate-040 trial showed that Opdivo plus Yervoy improved response rates in liver cancer showed that the patients previously treated with Nexavar (sorafenib). CheckMate-227 that the combination improved overall survival in people with metastatic or recurrent non-small-cell lung cancer that expresses PD-L1. Yervoy was the first checkpoint inhibitor, approved in 2011.
Yervoy is administered as an intravenous infusion. It is often used in combination with Opdivo (nivolumab), a different type of checkpoint inhibitor.
Common side effects include fatigue, headache, fever, diarrhea, nausea, decreased appetite, weight loss, itching, skin rash and insomnia. Checkpoint inhibitors can cause an overactive immune response that harms healthy organs and tissues. Serious immune-mediated side effects can affect almost any organ including the lungs (known as pneumonitis), liver, kidneys, intestines, skin and hormone-producing endocrine glands.
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Last Reviewed: May 27, 2020