The purpose of this study is to determine if nivolumab (BMS-936558) is safe and well tolerated in patients with melanoma that has spread (metastasized) or cannot be surgically removed. Nivolumab boosts the body’s immune system by targeting a protein on white blood cells called PD-1.
PD-1 normally maintains the balance of the immune system by shutting it down at the right time. Some cancers take advantage of this shut-down mechanism by activating PD-1, enabling them to escape attack by the body’s white blood cells. Nivolumab binds to and inactivates PD-1, enhancing the body’s ability to detect and destroy cancer cells.
Nivolumab is given intravenously (by vein).