Ipilimumab is a type of targeted therapy drug called an immune checkpoint inhibitor (a type of immunotherapy). It is a monoclonal antibody that binds to the protein CTLA-4 on immune cells called T cells. It works by keeping cancer cells from suppressing the immune system. This allows the immune system to attack and kill the cancer cells.
Use in Cancer
Ipilimumab is approved to treat:
- Colorectal cancer in adults and children aged 12 years and older. Ipilimumab is used with nivolumab to treat metastatic microsatellite instability-high (MSI-H) or mismatch repair deficient (dMMR) cancer that got worse after treatment with a fluoropyrimidine, oxaliplatin, and irinotecan hydrochloride.¹
- Esophageal cancer that cannot be removed by surgery or has spread to other parts of the body. Ipilimumab is used with nivolumab as the first treatment in adults with squamous cell carcinoma of the esophagus.
- Hepatocellular carcinoma (a type of liver cancer). Ipilimumab is used with nivolumab in patients who have already been treated with sorafenib.¹
- Malignant pleural mesothelioma. Ipilimumab is used with nivolumab as the first treatment in adults whose cancer cannot be removed by surgery.
- Ipilimumab is used alone to help prevent melanoma from coming back after surgery to remove melanoma in the skin and lymph nodes.
- Ipilimumab is used in alone or with nivolumab in adults and alone in children aged 12 years and older whose cancer cannot be removed by surgery or has spread to other parts of the body.
- Non-small cell lung cancer. Ipilimumab is used with nivolumab as the first treatment in adults with:
- Renal cell carcinoma (a type of kidney cancer) that is advanced. Ipilimumab is used with nivolumab in some patients with renal cell carcinoma as the first treatment.
Ipilimumab is also being studied in the treatment of other types of cancer.
More About Ipilimumab
Definition from the NCI Drug Dictionary - Detailed scientific definition and other names for this drug.
MedlinePlus Information on Ipilimumab - A lay language summary of important information about this drug that may include the following:
- warnings about this drug,
- what this drug is used for and how it is used,
- what you should tell your doctor before using this drug,
- what you should know about this drug before using it,
- other drugs that may interact with this drug, and
- possible side effects.
Drugs are often studied to find out if they can help treat or prevent conditions other than the ones they are approved for. This patient information sheet applies only to approved uses of the drug. However, much of the information may also apply to unapproved uses that are being studied.
Research Results and Related Resources
Clinical Trials Accepting Patients
Find Clinical Trials for Ipilimumab - Check for trials from NCI's list of cancer clinical trials now accepting patients.