This is an immune checkpoint inhibitor that targets PD-1, a protein on immune system cells (called T cells) that normally help keep these cells from attacking other cells in the body. By blocking PD-1, this drug boosts the immune response against melanoma cells. This can often shrink tumours and help people live longer. These drugs are given as an intravenous (IV) infusion every 2 weeks. Often, nivolumab is prescribed in combination with ipilimumab, which has resulted in longer progression-free survival and a higher objective response rate than ipilimumab alone.
Common side effects can include fatigue, cough, nausea, itching, skin rash, decreased appetite, constipation, joint pain, and diarrhea.
Always talk to your doctor, pharmacist or nurse about your side effects so they can help you manage them.
Watch Now – Video on the side effects of Immunotherapies
Provincial Funding Summary
Nivolumab (Opdivo) for Metastatic Melanoma (pCODR 10063)
This information is current as of October 5, 2018.
Note: Funding criteria as listed on the decision date. Please refer to the provincial drug programs for the most recent funding criteria and program eligibility
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Funded Mar 1, 2017
Unresectable stage 3 or stage 4 metastatic melanoma in patients: Ipilimumab naïve, wild type BRAF V600 mutation status. Patients are eligible to receive pembrolizumab or ipilimumab or nivolumab but not sequential use of these agents. Good performance status; Adequate hepatic and renal function; Access to a treatment centre with expertise to manage immune-mediated adverse reactions of nivolumab. BC Cancer Agency Compassionate Access Program (CAP) approval must be obtained.
Funded Apr 3, 2017
Nivolumab for the treatment of patients with unresectable or metastatic BRAF wild-type melanoma who are previously untreated, with good performance status and who have stable brain metastases (if present). Treatment should continue until unacceptable toxicity or disease progression. Not to be used for the treatment of patients with BRAF V600 mutations positive unresectable or metastatic melanoma. Not to be used for the treatment of patients who have previously received treatment with ipilimumab or pembrolizumab.
Funded, Mar 23, 2017
As monotherapy treatment for patients with advanced (unresectable or metastatic) melanoma until disease progression in patients with good performance status and who have stable brain metastases (if present).
Funded, Mar 13, 2017
For the treatment of patients with: – Primary unresectable or metastatic melanoma AND – Confirmed BRAF wild-type AND – A good performance status.
Funded, Mar 21, 2017 – Updated April 4, 2019:
• Treatment for patients with unresectable or metastatic melanoma, regardless of BRAF status, who are previously untreated or may have received prior treatment with BRAF targeted therapy, with good performance status and who have stable brain metastases (if present).
• For patients treated with anti-PD-1 monotherapy (instead of combination nivolumab plus ipilimumab) in the metastatic setting, ipilimumab monotherapy will be funded as a subsequent line of therapy provided that funding criteria are met.
Funded, Apr 1, 2017
As a single agent treatment option for patients with advanced melanoma (unresectable or metastatic BRAF wild type) who are previously untreated. Patients should have a good performance status and if present stable brain metastases. Treatment duration should continue until unacceptable toxicity or disease progression.
Funded, May 2, 2017
As first line single agent therapy for the treatment of unresectable or metastatic BRAF wild-type melanoma in patients who are previously untreated, with good performance status and, who have stable brain metastases (if present). Treatment should be discontinued upon disease progression or unacceptable toxicity.
Funded, Aug 3, 2017
Patients with unresectable or metastatlc BRAF wild-type melanoma who are previously untreated, with good performance status and who have stable brain metastates (if present). Treatment should continue until unacceptable toxicity or disease progression.
Funded, Aug 1, 2018
As first line single agent treatment for the treatment of unresectable or metastatic BRAF wild-type melanoma in patients who are previously untreated, with good performance status and, who have stable brain metastases (if present).
Please note: This information is not meant to act as a treatment decision aid, but rather to provide general information about which metastatic melanoma or skin cancer treatments are covered by provincial health care plans in Canada. It is current to the date indicated and may not be currently accurate due to the changing landscape of coverage in Canada. If you have private insurance coverage, you may have access to therapies not covered by the provincial plans in your province. All information obtained about specific treatments should be further discussed with your physician.
Melanoma What You Need To Know
A leading national melanoma resource written with the help of specialists in oncology and health care.
Watch Now Melanoma Updates and Treatments
The Melanoma Network of Canada has a number of free services for patients, caregivers and healthcare professionals.