Mesothelioma – New Approval of Drug Combination Treatment


On October 2nd 2020, the FDA approved Opdivo (Nivolumab) in combination with Yervoy (Ipilimumab) for the first-line treatment of patients with Malignant Pleural Mesothelioma that cannot be removed by surgery.

This is the first drug regimen approved for this type of cancer in 16 years.

About Malignant Pleural Mesothelioma, Opdivo and Yervoy

Malignant Pleural Mesothelioma is a life-threatening rare cancer of the lungs’ lining caused by inhaling asbestos fibers. Malignant Pleural Mesothelioma accounts for most diagnoses with this cancer and most patients have a tumor which cannot be removed with surgery at time of diagnosis. With currently available standard therapy, life expectancy is generally poor.

Opdivo and Yervoy are types of immonutherapies, both monoclonal antibodies that, when combined, decrease tumor growth.

About the Study

This combination therapy was evaluated in 605 patients with previously untreated unresectable Malignant Pleural Mesothelioma. The objective was to determine if Opdivo in combination with Yervoy improved survival compared to chemotherapy.


At the time of the analysis, patients who received Opdivo in combination with Yervoy lived a median of 18.1 months while patients who underwent chemotherapy survived a median of 14.1 months.

Side Effects

The most common side effects of Opdivo in combination with Yervoy in patients with Malignant Pleural Mesothelioma include: Fatigue, Musculoskeletal Pain, Rash, Diarrhea, Dyspnea (difficulty breathing), Nausea, Decreased Appetite, Cough and Pruritis (Itching).

Yervoy can cause serious inflammation conditions of healthy organs, such as the lungs (pneumonitis), colon (colitis), liver (hepatitis), endocrine glands (endocrinopathies) and kidneys (nephritis).


Opdivo plus Yervoy should become the new Standard of Care in the first treatment of patients with Mesothelioma who are unresectable.

The best treatment for a cancer patient is to get the most advanced cancer drugs in advanced stages of development. There, the hope and the chance to extend life go far beyond the standard protocols.

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Opdivo plus Yervoy in Mesothelioma cancer
Opdivo plus Yervoy in Mesothelioma cancer

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