Ipilimumab in Uveal Melanoma: Long-Lasting Responses in 25%

The gist: The drug ipilimumab showed promise for people with metastatic uveal melanoma in a recent clinical trial that tested it in volunteer patients. Ipilimumab (aka Zelboraf) has shown some success in treating cutaneous melanoma, but had not yet been tested in uveal melanoma. In the trial, ipilimumab was effective for some patients, and almost 25% are still alive two years after treatment; an encouraging outcome for the disease. More uveal melanoma patients will be given ipilimumab in clinical trials as research continues. One of the trials is currently recruiting patients.

“The first trial of the immunomodulator ipilimumab (Yervoy, Bristol-Myers Squibb Company) conducted in patients with malignant uveal melanoma has shown efficacy in some patients.

” ‘After almost 2 years’ follow-up, we can see that almost 25% of patients are still alive, and that is very encouraging in this population of patients with very bad outcome,’ lead investigator Josep Piulats, MD, PhD, from the Institut Catala d’Oncologia and L’Hospitalet del Llobregat in Spain, told Medscape Medical News.

“The results from the study, known as GEM1, were presented in a poster at the recent Society of Melanoma Research (SMR) 2014 International Congress, in Zurich, Switzerland.

“Although the study was small (only 32 patients) and open-label, and although it just missed its primary endpoint of improving overall survival, the researchers say they are encouraged by finding “objective responses in a population of highly metastatic patients.”