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Ipilimumab not beneficial for prostate cancer patients generally

Paul Edwards

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Us TOO is one of the largest Prostate Cancer Education and Support organisations in the United States.  Each month Us TOO publishes a monthly newsletter called the "Hotsheet".  I would recommend that you sign up with Us TOO to get the Hotsheet emailed to you each month.


Click here to read the December 2016 Hotsheet.    I was interested in an article in the December 2016 Hotsheet about the results of a study of treatment with ipilimumab.  


Ipilimumab  (trade name Yervoy), is a monoclonal antibody  that works to activate the immune system by targeting CTLA-4, a protein receptor that downregulates the immune system.  Ipilimumab is used to treat  melanoma.  Trials are now underway with other types of cancer, including prostate cancer.


The study found that treatment with ipilimumab did not extend overall survival in asymptomatic or minimally symptomatic men with  metastatic castration resistant prostate cancer. The study found an increase in progression free survival and in PSA response rates in one of the patient subsets.


There may be some prostate cancer patients who respond to treatment with ipilimumab.


The lead investigator Dr Tomasz Beer said that "the biggest takeaway from the study is that ipilimumab used in unselected patients did not produce a clinical benefit for patients overall.  If we better understand which patients have tumours that are more responsive to a drug like ipilimumab , it might be possible to demonstrate a clinical benefit.  But in unselected patients we were just not able to see that."





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