Log in or Register to participate in these discussions

Interfron vs. Ipilimumab or Nevolumab for stage 4 melanoma

Interfron vs. Ipilimumab or Nevolumab for stage 4 melanoma

Posted by Halt on Jan 12, 2018 8:19 am

My husband has stage 4 melanoma and is about to start treatment with Interferon in about 10 days.  Our oncologist suggested we might want to consider Ipilimumab treatment as it typically is easier on the patient, however, it does come with a cost of about $150,000.  This drug is not covered in Saskatchewan, Canada, for treating this cancer.  Has anyone gone through treatment with Ipilimumab or Nevolumab or is anyone aware of a clinical trial where this particular drug is been researched.  I know there are clinical trials in Alberta and in Toronto but I'm assuming that option wasnt given to us because we dont live in the province where the trial is taking place.  Thanks everyone.

Re: Interfron vs. Ipilimumab or Nevolumab for stage 4 melanoma

Posted by Maritime connection on Jan 13, 2018 8:51 am

Did you check on the Melanoma Canada website for all clinical trials? It is a great site and it was there where I got my research for trials fir my husband. He just finished a year of Keytruda and now he is in the maintenance phase for the next 5 years in Moncton. My mother-in-law did interferon 10 yrs ago which is quite a difficult drug with flu-like symptoms all year long . The trial my husband done has the goal to use Keytruda in the earlier stages of melanoma as a adjuvant therapy rather than having to wait till stage 3 or 4 as it is currently aimed towards. Is your husband Braf positive or negative? Treatment options follow thereafter to the mutation. Hope this is helpful. Regards, Delores in Halifax

Re: Interfron vs. Ipilimumab or Nevolumab for stage 4 melanoma

Posted by sgt. pepper on Jan 13, 2018 4:37 pm

Hi Halt,

You definitely need to contact the Melanoma Network as the chairman (Annette Cyr, a three time survivor) knows what meds. are available and costs for treatment.  Her email is acyr@melanomanetwork.ca.  The website is www.melanomanetwork.ca.    I completed a clinical trial in Toronto with Pembrolizumab (Keytruda) last year and the treatment was successful as I am now cancer free. The research confirms the efficacy of this treatment as well as the immunotherapy drugs you mentioned.   I was stage three with three recurrences since 2011.   Annette will be able to advise you re funding for treatment.  Good Luck, Cherie

Re: Interfron vs. Ipilimumab or Nevolumab for stage 4 melanoma

Posted by Halt on Feb 19, 2018 9:57 pm

Thank you Cherie.   I did send an email to Ms. Cyr - thank you.  Unfortunately, as my husband is presently being treated with Interferon, he isn't a suitable candidate for the clinical trial.  We accepted the Interferon treatment out of fear as we knew nothing about the new treatments or clinical trials available.  Its heartbreaking to me to realize that my husband is being offered a 40 year old drug that shows little promise when there are other drugs now available that have the potential to extend his life.  Short of being accepted into a clinical trial, Keytruda costs about a million dollars per patient.  I'm so happy that you were able to be treated with Keytruda and have experienced such a wonderful result.  I only wish we had educated ourselves prior to the Interferon treatments because we might have been able to participate in a clinical trial - we were just so afraid and accepted the only treatment available to us in Saskatchewan.  I wish I had the million dollars it would cost to have my husband treated with Keytruda.

Re: Interfron vs. Ipilimumab or Nevolumab for stage 4 melanoma

Posted by sgt. pepper on Feb 20, 2018 2:49 pm

Hi Halt‍ 

I'm sorry to hear about your limited treatment options and am grateful that I had more choices than I did in 2011.  There have been more drugs available but access still seems to be a problem as noted in a recent newsletter from the Melanoma Network.  Annette is a key person for this type of advice  and she only had surgeries and Interferon as treatments in the past.  Hopefully your husband will have a positive outcome as well.  Good Luck!!!

Re: Interfron vs. Ipilimumab or Nevolumab for stage 4 melanoma

Posted by Eddie on Jan 12, 2021 10:36 am

Hi Halt‍ 

I don't know where they get the amount of 1 million dollars for treatment, I was told by my Oncologist that it was 6,000$ for each treatment and I've had 4 treatments for a squamous cell cancer on my neck, which is also skin cancer.  I had to stop treatment because of side effects. The treatment was stopped at the end of May 2020. I recently had a whole-body CT scan because of the pain in my leg area. I have just had a telephone appointment with my Oncologist last week and he told me the pain in my leg was not related to cancer and that I was now cancer-free. The treatment I had was nivolumab (OPDIVO)
Good luck to you and ask questions, keep a positive attitude. 
Eddie

Re: Interfron vs. Ipilimumab or Nevolumab for stage 4 melanoma

Posted by Eddie on Jan 12, 2021 10:57 am

Just to add, my first line of treatment was chemo, carboplatin and taxol, 4 treatments. It went away but came back within 2 months so they put me in the Clinical Trial for Immunotherapy. I highly recommend this therapy. It doesn't work for everyone and not all cancers but it's worth a try. Easy to tolerate compared to Chemo. ...Eddie

Re: Interfron vs. Ipilimumab or Nevolumab for stage 4 melanoma

Posted by Lianne_Moderator on Jan 12, 2021 3:09 pm

Hello Halt‍ 

It is such a challenge when we don't know what we don't know which can make it hard to know what to ask. A cancer diagnosis, even one that may seem the same as another, can have so many factors that may determine the course of treatment. This can include why one person may qualify for particular line of treatment and another would not.
 You have heard from some fabulous members here. I want to point you also to the cancer.ca  link regarding clinical trials here: https://www.cancer.ca/en/cancer-information/diagnosis-and-treatment/clinical-trials/?region=sk

And as well give you the cancer information helpline at 1-888-939-3333 who may be able to point you to helpful resources 

Wishing you well. Please keep us posted

Lianne