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FDA approves Opdivo to treat advanced form of kidney cancer

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration today approved Opdivo (nivolumab) to treat patients with advanced (metastatic) renal cell carcinoma, a form of kidney cancer, who have received a certain type of prior therapy.

“Opdivo provides an important therapy option for patients with renal cell carcinoma,” said Richard Pazdur, M.D., director of the Office of Hematology and Oncology Products in the FDA’s Center for Drug Evaluation and Research. “It is one of few therapies that have demonstrated the ability to extend patients’ survival in treating this disease.” Torisel (temsirolimus), approved in 2007, is the only other FDA-approved therapy that has demonstrated overall survival in renal cell cancer.

Renal cell carcinoma is the most common form of kidney cancer in adults and forms in the tissues of the kidney that make urine. The National Cancer Institute estimates 61,560 new cases and 14,080 deaths from kidney and renal pelvis cancer in the United States this year. 

“Additionally, Opdivo’s extended indication, from melanoma and non-small cell lung cancer to renal cell cancer, demonstrates how immune therapies can benefit patients across a wide range of tumors,” continued Dr. Pazdur. Opdivo works by targeting the cellular pathway known as PD-1/PD-L1 (proteins found on the body’s immune cells and some cancer cells). By blocking this pathway, Opdivo may help the body’s immune system fight cancer cells. Opdivo is intended for use in renal cell carcinoma in patients who have received prior anti-angiogenic therapy (treatments that interfere with the blood vessels that contribute to the growth of cancerous cells).

For the entire press release please read on: FDA approves Opdivo to treat advanced form of kidney cancer