Cancer Treatment Centers of America

Nivolumab (Opdivo®)

Nivolumab

Brand name: Opdivo®

Nivolumab may be used to treat metastatic melanoma, non-small cell lung (NSCLC), renal cell carcinoma, a common form of kidney cancer, and metastatic urothelial carcinoma, a type of bladder cancer. It may also be used to treat some cases of head and neck cancer and Hodgkin lymphoma.

Nivolumab is a checkpoint inhibitor, a type of immunotherapy drug designed to target the PD-1 protein receptor. Cancer cells are able to send a signal to the PD-1 via the PD-L1 molecule, tricking the T-cell into recognizing the cancer cell as normal. Nivolumab is designed to disrupt that signal and expose the cancer cell to the immune system.

Nivolumab is given intravenously over a 60-minute period, usually every two weeks. The dosage and frequency depend on how the cancer responds to the therapy and the severity of side effects you may be experiencing.

Nivolumab side effects

Before taking nivolumab, tell your doctor if you have an auto-immune condition such as Crohn’s disease or lupus. You should also tell your doctor if you have had an organ transplant, lung or breathing problems, liver problems or any other serious medical issues. Nivolumab travels through the bloodstream, so tell your doctor if you are nursing, pregnant or plan to become pregnant. You should also inform your doctor about any drugs or nutritional supplements you are taking.

Because nivolumab helps prompt an immune response, T-cells can attack healthy cells in addition to malignant cells, triggering an auto-immune reaction.

The most common side effects of nivolumab for melanoma patients include:

  • Fatigue
  • Joint or muscle pain
  • Diarrhea
  • Rash or itchy skin
  • Nausea

The most common side effects of nivolumab for NSCL patients include:

  • Fatigue
  • Joint or muscle pain
  • Decreased appetite
  • Cough
  • Constipation

The most common side effects of nivolumab for renal cell carcinoma patients include:

  • Fatigue
  • Shortness of breath
  • Joint or muscle pain
  • Decreased appetite
  • Rash
  • Diarrhea
  • Cough
  • Constipation
  • Rash or itchy skin
  • Nausea

The most common side effects of nivolumab for Hodgkin lymphoma patients include:

  • Fatigue
  • Upper respiratory infection
  • Fever

Your care team at Cancer Treatment Centers of America ® (CTCA) will explain the side effects of nivolumab, help you determine whether you are a candidate for the drug and recommend a treatment plan tailored to you and your needs.

Nivolumab for cancer treatment

Nivolumab is used to treat:
  • Melanoma
  • Non-small cell lung cancer
  • Renal cell carcinoma
  • Hodgkin lymphoma

At Cancer Treatment Centers of America® (CTCA), we are committed to delivering innovative treatment options to our patients as soon as possible. Nivolumab is not an option for every patient. Your care team will explore your treatment options and involve you and your family throughout the care plan process, so you are empowerd to make informed decisions about your treatment.

 

The information provided here is for educational purposes only. In no way should it be considered as offering medical advice. Cancer Treatment Centers of America assumes no responsibility for how this material is used. Please check with a physician if you suspect you are ill. Also note that while Cancer Treatment Centers of America frequently updates its contents, medical information changes rapidly. Therefore, some information may be out of date.