Immunotherapy treatment options

There are different immunotherapies available in Canada to treat skin melanoma and/or NSCLC. In general, all treatment options can cause serious side effects; in some cases, there is even a risk of fatal side effects. That’s why it is always important to carefully weigh the benefits of any cancer treatment against the possible risks. You should discuss possible side effects with your doctor before starting treatment.

Immunotherapy treatment options

Immunotherapy medications available in Canada to treat skin melanoma and/or NSCLC in adults

Brand name (generic name) What it treats How it works Some very common side effects (list is not exhaustive)
PrIMFINZI* (durvalumab) A type of lung cancer called NSCLC when it has grown within the lung and cannot be removed by surgery and the cancer has responded or stabilized after treatment with chemotherapy and radiation therapy. Helps the immune system fight the cancer. Cough, upper respiratory tract infection, rash, diarrhea, and fever.
PrKEYTRUDA® (pembrolizumab)

A kind of skin cancer called melanoma that has spread or cannot be removed by surgery (advanced melanoma).

A kind of lung cancer called NSCLC that tests positive for “PD-L1” and, has spread or cannot be removed by surgery (advanced lung cancer) and, if the tumour has an abnormal "EGFR" or "ALK" gene, when chemotherapy that contains platinum and an EGFR or ALK inhibitor medicine have been tried.

Helps the immune system fight the cancer. Diarrhea, nausea, itching, rash, joint pain, feeling unusually tired or weak, fever, feeling less hungry, shortness of breath, and patches of skin which have lost colour (vitiligo).
PrOPDIVO* (nivolumab)

A type of skin cancer that has spread or cannot be removed by surgery (advanced melanoma).

A type of advanced stage lung cancer called NSCLC that has spread or grown after treatment with platinum-containing chemotherapy.

Helps the immune system to attack and destroy cancer cells. Nausea, diarrhea, skin rash, itching, feeling tired or weak and decreased appetite.
PrTECENTRIQ* (atezolizumab) A type of lung cancer called NSCLC that cannot be removed by surgery or has spread to other parts of the body after treatment with platinum-based chemotherapy that did not work or is no longer working. Helps your immune system to fight your cancer. Feeling very tired with no energy (fatigue), loss of appetite, nausea, fever, chills, diarrhea, vomiting, rash, shortness of breath, itching of the skin, stomach pain and joint pain.
PrYERVOY* (ipilimumab) Melanoma, a kind of skin cancer, that has spread or cannot be removed by surgery. Helps your immune system attack and destroy cancer cells by your immune cells. Loss of appetite, diarrhea, nausea or vomiting, stomach pain, itching, skin rash and feeling tired or weak.

IMFINZI, KEYTRUDA and OPDIVO have been issued marketing authorization with conditions (NOC/c), which is a form of approval granted on the basis of promising evidence of clinical effectiveness following review of the submission by Health Canada. Products approved under Health Canada’s NOC/c policy are intended for the treatment, prevention or diagnosis of a serious, life-threatening or severely debilitating illness. They have demonstrated promising benefit, are of high quality, and possess an acceptable safety profile based on a benefit/risk assessment. In addition, they either respond to a serious unmet medical need in Canada or have demonstrated a significant improvement in the benefit/risk profile over existing therapies. Health Canada has provided access to these products on the condition that sponsors carry out additional clinical trials to verify the anticipated benefit within an agreed upon timeframe.

Talk to your doctor to find out what the best treatment option is for you.

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Cancer treatment, at a glance

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