Skip to main navigationSkip to main content
The University of Southampton
Southampton Health Technology Assessments CentreNews

SHTAC is critically appraising the company’s submission to NICE on a new drug for advanced melanoma

Published: 5 October 2015
New drug for advanced melanoma
New drug for advanced melanoma

SHTAC is assessing the clinical-effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of nivolumab in treating advanced melanoma, as part of the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) Single Technology Appraisal process.

Melanoma is a cancer of the skin. In its early stages, melanoma does not always show symptoms and can often be cured by surgical resection (removal of the lesion). However, at presentation in around 10% of people melanomas will have spread to nearby lymph nodes (stage III- advanced melanoma) or to other parts of the body (stage IV – metastatic melanoma). It occurs more commonly in fair-skinned people and there is strong association with ultra violet exposure. People with an above-average mole count, sun-sensitive skin, or a strong family history of melanoma are also at increased risk. Melanoma is the 5th most common cancer in the UK with around 13,000 new cases diagnosed each year. More than one-third of people diagnosed with melanoma are aged less than 55 years.

The management of advanced melanoma is rapidly evolving, with a number of new drug treatments becoming available in recent years. One such drug is nivolumab (brand name ‘Opdivo’ ®, Bristol-Myers Squibb), classed as a programmed-death ligand 1 (PD-L1) inhibitor. It uses the body’s own immune system to attack cancer cells. Commonly referred to as cancer immunology, or immuno-oncology, this type of treatment is distinct to traditional chemotherapy which uses chemical substances to fight cancer cells. Nivolumab has a marketing authorisation in the UK, as a monotherapy (single drug treatment), for treating advanced (unresectable or metastatic) melanoma in adults.

SHTAC will be critically appraising the drug company’s evidence submission to NICE on the clinical and cost effectiveness of nivolumab, to inform NICE’s guidance to the NHS, expected in May 2016.

For more information about SHTAC’s cancer research, please see our research page.

You can also find out more about the University of Southampton’s Centre for Cancer Immunology by visiting the ‘You’re It’ website.

Privacy Settings