Bristol-Myers melanoma drug boosts survival for 22 pct of patients

Sept 27 Fri Sep 27, 2013 4:45pm EDT

Sept 27 (Reuters) - Yervoy, the melanoma drug sold by Bristol-Myers Squibb Co, improves survival for around 22 percent of patients, according pooled results from 12 clinical trials to be presented by the company at a European conference this weekend.

The results, from trials involving 1,861 patients, show that the number of survivors plateaus at around 3 years of treatment, with some patients so far followed for up to 10 years.

"This pooled analysis is encouraging, particularly when considering that metastatic melanoma is one of the most aggressive forms of cancer and historically, average survival was just six to nine months," Dr. F. Stephen Hodi, of Boston's Dana-Farber/Harvard Cancer Center, said in a statement.

Yervoy, also known as ipilimumab, is designed to unleash the body's own immune system to fight tumors.

Bristol-Myers is testing the drug against a variety of other cancers, including those of the lung, stomach and ovaries. The company said last month that initial results from a late-stage trial showed that Yervoy failed to significantly prolong survival among patients with advanced prostate cancer who had previously received chemotherapy.

Results from the analysis of melanoma trials were scheduled for presentation on Saturday in Amsterdam at a meeting of the European Cancer Congress.

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