“A novel class of personalised cancer vaccines, tailored to the tumours of individual patients, kept disease in check in two early-stage clinical trials, pointing to a new way to help the immune system fight back.
“Although so-called immunotherapy drugs from the likes of Merck & Co, Bristol-Myers Squibb and Roche are starting to revolutionise cancer care, they still only work for a limited number of patients.
“By adding a personalised cancer vaccine, scientists believe it should be possible to improve substantially the effectiveness of such immune-boosting medicines.”
There are many hopes that combining immune checkpoint inhibitor drugs, or combining them with drugs of other types (immunotherapy, targeted therapy, or chemotherapy) is the future of treatment for many kinds of cancer. Literally hundreds of clinical trials are actively exploring these combinations, and melanoma is the cancer for which trials of this type abound. Last month, the annual meeting of the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) in Chicago featured just a few presentations in this area, apparently because it is too early to report results from the many ongoing trials with drug combinations. Continue reading…
“Patients with melanoma continued to experience tumor response to nivolumab monotherapy when treated beyond progression, according to a pooled analysis of data from the CheckMate 066 and CheckMate 067 studies.
” ‘The results of this analysis suggest that continued treatment with nivolumab [Opdivo, Bristol-Myers Squibb] may be an option to achieve further apparent clinical benefit in some patients with advanced melanoma,’ Georgina V. Long, PhD, BSc, MBBS, FRACP, chair of melanoma medical oncology and translational research at Melanoma Institute Australia and Royal North Shore Hospital of The University of Sydney in Sydney, Australia, and colleagues wrote.”
“More than one-fourth of patients with advanced BRAF V600-mutant melanoma remained alive at 5 years after treatment with the combination of dabrafenib (Tafinlar) and trametinib (Mekinist), long-term follow-up from a randomized trial showed.
“In the subgroup of patients with normal baseline lactate dehydrogenase (LDH) and fewer than 3 organ sites with metastases, half remained at alive at 5 years. No new safety signals emerged during long-term follow-up, as reported at the 2017 ASCO Annual Meeting in Chicago.”
“Combining the IDO inhibitor epacadostat with nivolumab (Opdivo) demonstrated promising signs of activity for patients with squamous cell carcinoma of the head and neck (SCCHC) and those with melanoma, according to findings from the phase I/II ECHO-204 study presented at the 2017 ASCO Annual Meeting.
“The combination demonstrated an objective response rate (ORR) of 63% and a complete response (CR) rate of 5% for patients with treatment-naive melanoma, in the multi-arm, open-label trial. In those with SCCHC, the ORR was 23% and the CR rate was 3%. The combination was not effective in unselected patients with ovarian cancer and colorectal cancer (CRC).”
“Patients who receive the standard surgical treatment for melanoma that has spread to one or more key lymph nodes do not live longer, a major new study shows.
“The study, published today in The New England Journal of Medicine, found that immediately removing and performing biopsies on all lymph nodes located near the original tumor, a procedure called completion lymph node dissection, did not result in increased overall survival rates.”
“Combining the PD-1 inhibitor pembrolizumab (Keytruda) with the HDAC inhibitor entinostat demonstrated promising clinical activity and acceptable safety in patients with melanoma who were refractory to immune checkpoint inhibitors.
“In the ongoing phase II ENCORE 601 trial, the PD-1/HDAC combination induced a response in 4 of 13 patients (31%; 95% CI, 9-61). The responses comprised 3 confirmed responses and 1 unconfirmed response, according to the study findings, which were presented in a poster at the 2017 ASCO Annual Meeting. An additional 4 patients achieved stable disease.”
“Nivolumab plus ipilimumab demonstrated an intracranial response (ICR) rate of 42% in asymptomatic patients with melanoma brain metastases who had not received prior local therapy to the brain.
“In the phase II Anti-PD1 Brain Collaboration (ABC) trial, the 6-month intracranial PFS rate was 46% with the anti–PD-1/CTLA-4 combination.
” ‘The combination of nivolumab and ipilimumab has high activity in melanoma brain metastases and may be considered for upfront therapy in such patients,’ said lead author Georgina V. Long, BSc, PhD, MBBS, clinical researcher at the Melanoma Institute Australia and Westmead Hospital in Sydney.”
“High response rates to a pair of combination therapies point to potentially new options for a group of metastatic melanoma patients who have been largely left out of recent treatment progress – those whose disease has spread to the brain.
“A combination regimen of two immunotherapies and another of two targeted therapies each significantly shrank metastatic brain tumors in at least 50 percent of patients in separate multi-center clinical trials presented today at the 2017 ASCO Annual Meeting by principal investigators from The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center.”