Can Patients Discontinue Immunotherapy and Still Benefit?

Excerpt:

“At present in clinical practice, immunotherapy with anti-PD-1 agents is administered indefinitely until intolerable toxicities or progressive disease sets in. But there has been anecdotal evidence that patients who stop treatment may still derive benefit, and now there is evidence of this from a post hoc analysis of a randomized study.

“It comes from the CheckMate 069 trial that evaluated the combination of nivolumab (Opdivo, Bristol-Myers Squibb Company) and ipilimumab (Yervoy, Bristol-Myers Squibb Company) vs ipilimumab alone in patients with metastatic melanoma.

“New results from a post hoc analysis of this trial, presented at the recent American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) 2016 Annual Meeting (abstract 9518), show that a subgroup of patients who discontinued combination immunotherapy because of treatment-related adverse events achieved an impressive overall response rate (ORR) of 66%.”

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Total Body Irradiation Did Not Improve Response of Adoptive Cell Transfer

Excerpt:

“Adding total body irradiation to preparative lymphodepletion chemotherapy prior to the adoptive cell transfer of tumor-infiltrating lymphocytes (TILs) had no effect on tumor regression in patients with metastatic melanoma, according to the results of a study published in the Journal of Clinical Oncology.

“However, adoptive cell transfer of TILs did mediate the objective complete response of 24% of patients.

“ ‘The nonmyeloablative chemotherapy regimen thus seemed to provide sufficient lymphodepletion for successful adoptive transfer without the need to add total body irradiation,’ wrote researchers led by Stephanie L. Goff, MD, of the National Cancer Institute.”

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Distinct Features Associated With Benefit for BRAF/MEK Inhibition

Excerpt:

“With the development of novel targeted and immunotherapeutic agents that are more efficacious than traditional chemotherapy, treatment paradigms in melanoma have undergone major changes. Current recommendations for first-line systemic therapy for patients with advanced or metastatic melanoma consider BRAF mutation status, tumor growth rate, and the presence or absence of cancer-related symptoms.

“Immunotherapies with agents that block CTLA-4 or PD-1/PD-L1 checkpoints have been associated with durable responses in a subset of patients, and are often considered for patients with low-volume, asymptomatic metastatic melanoma. Targeted therapies, on the other side, are preferred for patients with BRAF-mutant tumors who have symptomatic disease and benefit from the rapid response associated with these agents.”

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Long-Term Survival Achieved in Metastatic Melanoma With Personalized Vaccine

Excerpt:

“Two patients with melanoma that had spread to the liver survived for at least 8.5 and 12 years after resection of the hepatic tumor and treatment with patient-specific immunotherapeutic vaccines. The vaccines, designed to activate the immune system against the tumor, were derived from the patients’ own dendritic cells loaded with proteins isolated from their tumors, as described in an article published in Cancer Biotherapy and Radiopharmaceuticals.

“Robert O. Dillman, MD, formerly Vice President Oncology, Caladrius Biosciences, Inc. and currently Chief Medical Officer, NeoStem Oncology (Irvine, CA) and Executive Medical and Scientific Director, Hoag Cancer Institute (Newport Beach, CA) discusses the typically poor prognosis for patients with melanoma of the eye or skin that spreads to the liver, and reports on the potential to achieve long-term survival without disease progression in a subset of patients using the eltrapuldencel-T vaccine. One patient had no disease progression for more than 4.5 years, while the other patient survived and remained disease-free for more than 12 years.”

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Bristol-Myers Squibb Receives Positive CHMP Opinion for Opdivo® (nivolumab) in Combination with Yervoy® (ipilimumab) for Treatment of Advanced Melanoma

Excerpt:

Bristol-Myers Squibb Company (NYSE: BMY) announced today that the Committee for Medicinal Products for Human Use (CHMP) has recommended the approval of Opdivo in combination with Yervoy for the treatment of advanced (unresectable or metastatic) melanoma in adults. The CHMP also added an informative statement to the broad indication that relative to Opdivo monotherapy, an increase in progression-free survival (PFS) for the combination of Opdivo with Yervoy is established only in patients with low tumor PD-L1 expression. This CHMP recommendation will now be reviewed by the European Commission (EC), which has the authority to approve medicines for the European Union. Opdivo monotherapy is already approved by the EC for advanced melanoma and previously treated advanced squamous non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC), and was recommended for approval by the CHMP in February for previously treated advanced or metastatic non-squamous NSCLC and renal cell carcinoma (RCC).”

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TILs Advancing as Melanoma Immunotherapy Option

Excerpt:

“After nearly 30 years of research, tumor-infiltrating lymphocyte (TIL) technology is being investigated as a means of producing personalized immunotherapy for patients with metastatic melanoma in a small clinical trial that may help open the door for broader application in other solid tumor types.

“The form of adoptive cell therapy, which utilizes TILs from the patient’s tumor, represents an intriguing way of overcoming the immunosuppressive power of cancer, according to Jeffrey S. Weber, MD, PhD. The melanoma expert provided an overview of the technology and its potential benefit in a lecture for oncologists and oncology professionals presented by Targeted Oncology, a division of MJH Associates, the publisher of OncologyLive, on February 19 in Miami Beach, Florida. Weber is the deputy director of the Laura and Isaac Perlmutter Cancer Center, co-director of its melanoma program, and head of Experimental Therapeutics at NYU Langone Medical Center.”

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Talimogene Laherparepvec, Pembrolizumab Combination Safely Treats Advanced Melanoma

Excerpt:

“Patients with advanced unresectable melanoma can safely receive combination therapy with full doses of talimogene laherparepvec and pembrolizumab, according to study results presented at HemOnc TodayMelanoma and Cutaneous Malignancies.

“In previous studies, talimogene laherparepvec (Imlygic, Amgen) — a herpes simplex virus-1-based oncolytic immunotherapy — significantly improved durable response rate in patients with advanced melanoma. Also, pembrolizumab (Keytruda, Merck) — an anti–PD-1 antibody — showed superiority over ipilimumab (Yervoy, Bristol Meyers Squibb) in patients with stage III or IV melanoma.

“Both drugs appeared tolerable and demonstrated nonoverlapping adverse event profiles…”

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Melanoma Therapy Tied to Cutaneous Adverse Events

“Anti-programmed cell death (PD)-1 therapy for metastatic melanoma is associated with the development of immune-related cutaneous events, according to research published in the March issue of the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology.

“Shelley Ji Eun Hwang, M.B.B.S., from the University of Sydney, and colleagues reviewed the clinical and histologic information of 82 patients treated with single-agent anti-PD-1 therapy for  at one institution from May 2012 to February 2015.”


New Biomarker Identifies Eye Cancer Patients at High Risk for Metastasis

“A study by J. William Harbour, M.D., Associate Director for Basic Research and leader of the Eye Cancer Site Disease Group at Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine, and colleagues, published today in Clinical Cancer Research, details the discovery of a biomarker that puts patients at a higher risk for metastasis of uveal melanoma.

“Among uveal melanomas categorized as class 1, those with high levels of the biomarker PRAME mRNA were more likely to metastasize than those with low levels of PRAME mRNA, indicating that patients with this biomarker be monitored more closely for metastatic disease.

“The estimated five-year rate of metastasis was 0 percent for PRAME mRNA–low class 1 uveal melanomas and 38 percent for PRAME mRNA–high class 1 uveal melanomas. This research builds upon Harbour’s identification of class 1 and 2 uveal melanomas in 2004.”