Ipilimumab (Yervoy) is a fully human monoclonal antibody that acts by binding to CTLA-4, a membrane protein responsible for inhibiting T lymphocyte activity. This peculiarity allows T lymphocytes to attack tumor cells, enhancing the immune response against advanced unresectable or metastatic melanoma in adults who have already received prior therapy.
The drug is administered by drip intravenous infusion and the dose used is 3 mg per kilogram of body weight. Treatment consists of four doses, given three weeks apart. It is important that the treatment takes place in specialized cancer centers under the supervision of expert doctors, after having carefully evaluated the patient’s thyroid and liver function.
Clinical studies have shown that ipilimumab is able to prolong the survival of patients with advanced melanoma, adding approximately 4 months of life compared to controls. However, like any treatment, it can cause some side effects, including diarrhea, skin rash, itching, feeling tired, nausea, vomiting, loss of appetite, and abdominal pain. It is essential that the patient is carefully monitored during therapy to promptly manage any side effects and optimize the effectiveness of the treatment.
Ipilimumab represents a promising therapeutic option in the panorama of the treatment of advanced melanoma, helping to improve the quality of life and survival prospects of patients affected by this serious oncological disease.