Adjuvant Ipilimumab Improves Survival in High-Risk Melanoma

Excerpt:

“Patients with stage III melanoma who were considered to be at high risk for recurrence derived an overall survival benefit from adjuvant treatment with ipilimumab (Yervoy), although it came at the price of considerable toxicity, according to updated survival results from the phase III European Organisation for Research and Treatment (EORTC) 18071 trial. The results were presented at the 2016 European Society for Medical Oncology (ESMO) Congress by Alexander Eggermont, MD, Director General of the Institut Gustave Roussy in Villejuif, France, and simultaneously published in The New England Journal of Medicine.

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High Response Rates Observed with Ipilimumab Plus Nivolumab in Advanced Melanoma

Excerpt:

“Combined ipilimumab and nivolumab administered pre- and post-surgery reduced the tumor burden in patients with Stage III B/C melanoma, according to first results from the OpACIN trial reported at the ESMO 2016 Annual Congress.

“Tumor load was reduced after 6 weeks of ipilimumab plus nivolumab immunotherapy in 8 of 10 patients. Pathologic complete response (pCR) was achieved by 3 patients; and 5 patients showed minimal remaining micro metastases, including one partial response (PR) with remaining metastasis of 0.5 mm. One patient showed stable disease and 1 patient experienced progressive disease.”

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Prolonged Survival With Adjuvant Ipilimumab in Stage 3 Melanoma

Excerpt:

“Patients with completely resected stage 3 melanoma who received adjuvant treatment with ipilimumab (Yervoy, Bristol-Myers Squibb) lived longer than those who received placebo, show the latest results from the CA184-029 (EORTC 18071) study.

“This is the first time such a clear survival benefit has been seen with adjuvant therapy in the patient population, commented lead researcher Alexander M.M. Eggermont, MD, PhD, director general, Cancer Institute Gustave Roussy in Villejuif, France, noting that previous trials with adjuvant interferon have suggested a survival benefit, but only in some subgroups of patients.”

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Wolchok Discusses T-VEC, Other Immunotherapy Developments in Melanoma

Excerpt:

“Melanoma research is rapidly advancing, particularly with immunotherapy, explains Jedd D. Wolchok, MD, PhD.

“ ‘With immunotherapy, we have come an extremely long way in the treatment of melanoma,’ says Wolchok, the Lloyd J. Old/Virginia and Daniel K. Ludwig Chair in Clinical Investigation, chief, Melanoma and Immunotherapeutics Service, associate director, Ludwig Center for Cancer Immunotherapy, Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center.

“Combination trials with immunotherapies offer great promise, he says. Recently, the combination of talimogene laherparepvec (T-VEC; Imlygic) and ipilimumab (Yervoy) in patients with advanced melanoma demonstrated an objective response rate of 50% in a single-arm phase Ib trial after a median follow-up time of 20 months. Forty-four percent of patients had a durable response lasting more than 6 months; after 18 months, progression-free survival (PFS) was 50% and overall survival was 67%.”

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Melanoma: New Drugs and New Challenges (Part 2 of 2)


Editor’s note: This is part 2 of a 2-part post on the latest research in melanoma. To learn about research into drug combinations for melanoma that may work better than single drugs, check out Melanoma: New Drugs and New Challenges (Part 1 of 2).

As always, the more new treatments become available in melanoma, the more new challenges arise. With eight new drugs approved for melanoma in the last five years, oncologists may sometimes face the difficult choice of what drugs to choose for a patient’s first-line treatment. Immune checkpoint drugs sometimes cause serious side effects, but progress is being made on how to treat these and also how to treat patients with pre-existing autoimmune conditions. New approaches are needed in efforts to prevent recurrence of melanomas diagnosed at earlier stages of disease progression. These and other challenges are discussed below. Continue reading…


Melanoma: New Drugs and New Challenges (Part 1 of 2)


New targeted and immunotherapy drugs have changed the diagnosis of metastatic melanoma from a death sentence into a disease that can potentially be managed and even cured. Nevertheless, these new drugs do not work in all patients, or they may stop working after a transient response. This post (part one of two) will describe ongoing efforts to find drug combinations with higher efficacy than single drugs and decipher the mechanisms underlying drug resistance. Continue reading…


Novel Combination Study Planned for SCLC

Excerpt:

“A phase I/II study will explore the delta-like protein 3 (DLL3)-targeted antibody-drug conjugate rovalpituzumab tesirine (Rova-T) with the PD-1 inhibitor nivolumab (Opdivo) alone or in combination with the CTLA-4 inhibitor ipilimumab (Yervoy) for patients with relapsed extensive-stage small cell lung cancer (SCLC).

“AbbVie, the developer of rovalpituzumab tesirine, and Bristol-Myers Squibb, the company marketing nivolumab and ipilimumab announced the phase I/II study in a joint press release. As single-agents, rovalpituzumab tesirine and nivolumab have each demonstrated promising early findings for patients with SCLC. Additionally, nivolumab plus ipilimumab sparked promising response rates and overall survival (OS) findings. Data for the 3 agents were recently presented at the 2016 ASCO Annual Meeting.”

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I Thought Melanoma Would Kill Me. Here's Why It Didn't.

Excerpt:

“Several months ago, my wife, Françoise, and I attended something novel for melanoma patients: a survivors’ dinner. People said they wanted to make it an annual gathering. Planning anything that far in advance had been pointless for me. Two years ago, I was about to accept hospice care.

“When I was diagnosed in 1996, very early surgery was the only reliably successful treatment. A more advanced case was essentially a death sentence. Over the past five years, a series of revolutionary drugs have given me and many other people a surprisingly hopeful prospect. Nevertheless, the drugs’ development process has often been excruciating for participants in clinical trials, and the drugs’ remarkably high costs limit their value.”

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Combination of Nivolumab and Ipilimumab Moves Forward in NSCLC

Excerpt:

“How best to combine new immunotherapies is a burning question in oncology. A new study in the CheckMate series suggests that nivolumab (Opdivo) and ipilimumab (Yervoy) can be safely and effectively combined as first-line treatment of advanced non–small cell lung cancer (NSCLC), but further study is needed. This combination is being studied in the phase III CheckMate 227 trial. For now, a platinum-containing doublet is still the standard of care.

“ ‘Nivolumab plus ipilimumab has promising efficacy in advanced NSCLC. The combination is well tolerated, with no treatment-related deaths. Overall response rates range from 39% to 47%, and median duration of response has not yet been reached,’ said lead author Matthew Hellmann, MD, of Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, New York.

“Both nivolumab and ipilimumab enhance T-cell antitumor activity. The combination of nivolumab plus ipilimumab has been approved for the treatment of melanoma by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Nivolumab monotherapy has been approved by the FDA for adults with locally advanced NSCLC progressing after platinum-doublet chemotherapy.”

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