Ipilimumab

Chemical Structure of Yervoy®
Brand name: Yervoy®
IUPAC: Humanized monoclonal antibody against CTLA-4
FDA approval: Yes
Usage:

Yervoy® (ipilimumab) was first approved by the FDA in 2011 to treat late-stage, metastatic melanoma that cannot be removed by surgery. This FDA approval was extended in 2015 to stage 3 melanoma patients who have undergone surgery, in an effort to reduce the risk of recurrence post-surgery. Melanoma is considered the most dangerous type of skin cancer, with very few treatment options available. Ipilimumab is administered only intravenously and has a standard recommended dosage of 3mg/kg over 90 minutes.1

  • 1. Chu, E., & DeVita, V. T. (2015). Physicians' cancer chemotherapy drug manual 2015. Burlington, MA: Jones & Bartlett Learning.
Mechanism:

Ipilimumab (Yervoy®) is a type of immunotherapy that binds cytotoxic T-lymphocyte antigen-4 (CTLA-4) and prevents CTLA-4 from interacting with its ligands, CD80/CD86. Inhibition of CTLA-4 signaling has been found to augment T-cell activation and proliferation and may lead to an increase in T-cell responsiveness. T-cells are immune cells that can detect and fight cancer cells.1

  • 1. Chu, E., & DeVita, V. T. (2015). Physicians' cancer chemotherapy drug manual 2015. Burlington, MA: Jones & Bartlett Learning.
Side effects:

 Most common side effects include: fatigue, diarrhea, severe itching of the skin (pruritus), and rash. Serious side effects include: inflammation of the intestines (colitis), tears or holes (perforation) in the intestines, inflammation of the nerves that can lead to paralysis, inflammation of hormone glands, and inflammation of the eyes. Another possibly serious side effect is immune-mediated hepatitis, which can range from moderate to severe depending on the case.1

  • 1. Chu, E., & DeVita, V. T. (2015). Physicians' cancer chemotherapy drug manual 2015. Burlington, MA: Jones & Bartlett Learning.
Contraindications:

Ipilimumab use is associated with T-cell activation and proliferation. Because of this, ipilimumab use can result in severe and fatal autoimmune reactions that may involve any organ system.1

  • 1. Chu, E., & DeVita, V. T. (2015). Physicians' cancer chemotherapy drug manual 2015. Burlington, MA: Jones & Bartlett Learning.