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Dr. Saenger on Immunotherapy Combinations in Melanoma

Yvonne Saenger, MD
Published: Thursday, Dec 29, 2016



Yvonne Saenger, MD, director of Melanoma Immunotherapy at Columbia University Medical Center, discusses immunotherapy combinations in melanoma.

According to Saenger, the jury is still out on whether the combination of nivolumab (Opdivo) and ipilimumab (Yervoy) is better than single-agent treatment. If a patient is progressing rapidly—especially if they are BRAF wild-type—the combination regimen makes more sense, she says. However, for patients who aren't experiencing disease progression, the single-agent approach is likely more reasonable, due to the increased toxicities and the absence of a significant overall survival benefit in the combination approach.

As more immunotherapy agents receive FDA approval, Saenger expects that oncologists will begin using even more combinations beyond ipilimumab and nivolumab. For example, novel treatments may include oncolytic viruses and IDO inhibitors.

 


Yvonne Saenger, MD, director of Melanoma Immunotherapy at Columbia University Medical Center, discusses immunotherapy combinations in melanoma.

According to Saenger, the jury is still out on whether the combination of nivolumab (Opdivo) and ipilimumab (Yervoy) is better than single-agent treatment. If a patient is progressing rapidly—especially if they are BRAF wild-type—the combination regimen makes more sense, she says. However, for patients who aren't experiencing disease progression, the single-agent approach is likely more reasonable, due to the increased toxicities and the absence of a significant overall survival benefit in the combination approach.

As more immunotherapy agents receive FDA approval, Saenger expects that oncologists will begin using even more combinations beyond ipilimumab and nivolumab. For example, novel treatments may include oncolytic viruses and IDO inhibitors.

 



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