Find Information About:

Drugs & Supplements

Get information and reviews on prescription drugs, over-the-counter medications, vitamins, and supplements. Search by name or medical condition.

Pill Identifier

Pill Identifier

Having trouble identifying your pills?

Enter the shape, color, or imprint of your prescription or OTC drug. Our pill identification tool will display pictures that you can compare to your pill.

Get Started

My Medicine

Save your medicine, check interactions, sign up for FDA alerts, create family profiles and more.

Get Started

WebMD Health Experts and Community

Talk to health experts and other people like you in WebMD's Communities. It's a safe forum where you can create or participate in support groups and discussions about health topics that interest you.

  • Second Opinion

    Second Opinion

    Read expert perspectives on popular health topics.

  • Community


    Connect with people like you, and get expert guidance on living a healthy life.

Got a health question? Get answers provided by leading organizations, doctors, and experts.

Get Answers

Sign up to receive WebMD's award-winning content delivered to your inbox.

Sign Up

Melanoma/Skin Cancer Health Center

Font Size

Drug Shows Promise Against Advanced Melanoma

In preliminary trial, nivolumab shrank tumors in 30 percent of tough-to-treat patients


Forty-three percent of the patients are estimated to have survived two years after treatment, the researchers said, and average survival for patients across all treatment doses is now projected to be nearly 17 months.

In an ASCO news release, melanoma expert Dr. Lynn Schuchter called the results "truly remarkable."

The findings "confirm that 'revving' up the immune system is a powerful approach in shrinking melanoma," said Schuchter, who is also a spokeswoman for ASCO. "Melanoma patients are living longer and better with these new treatments."

However, although the study participants were described as being "typical" patients with advanced melanoma, the investigation's findings are tempered by the fact that it was not a randomized clinical trial and did not compare the impact of nivolumab directly against the performance of other drugs.

"[But] while this was not a randomized clinical trial, it had a considerable number of patients and the durability of responses is a sign of very promising clinical activity," Sznol said in the news release.

A randomized phase III trial has begun, aimed at confirming these initial findings.

Another expert agreed that the drug shows the promise of immunotherapies in general.

"The results of this study are truly remarkable and demonstrate that immunotherapy truly can make the difference for many melanoma patients," said Dr. Yvonne Saenger, assistant professor of hematology/oncology and dermatology at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai Medical Center, New York City.

Saenger, who was not connected to the new study, noted that "earlier immunotherapies, such as interleukin 2 and even Yervoy, can only help a small minority of patients," but nivolumab seems to do much better.

1 | 2

Today on WebMD

Malignant melanoma
About 40-50 percent of those who live to be 65 may get it. Here’s how to spot early.
Woman checking out tan lines
There’s a dark side to that strive for beauty. See them here.
sauteed cherry tomatoes
Fight cancer one plate at a time.
Lung cancer xray
See it in pictures, plus read the facts.
12 Ways to Protect Your Skin from Melanoma
precancerous lesions slideshow
Do You Know Your Melanoma ABCs
15 Cancer Symptoms Men Ignore
screening tests for men
Vitamin D
Is That Mole Skin Cancer
Brilliant sun rays