Molecular Medicine Israel

Nivolumab and Melanoma

This follow-up study confirms survival benefit and demonstrates long-term safety and response duration

“Immune checkpoints” regulate the outcome of lymphocyte engagement with antigen-presenting cells and tumor cells. They down-modulate the adaptive immune responses that can enable cancer cells to evade immune attack. Immune checkpoint therapies have gained prominence over the past year, as critical trials of anti–CTLA-4 (ipilimumab), and anti–PD-1 and anti–PD-L1 therapies targeting the programmed-cell death receptor have shown highly promising results. Now, investigators report long-term follow-up of patients treated with the anti–PD-1 therapy nivolumab.

The authors retrospectively reviewed overall survival, safety, and response duration after treatment cessation in 107 patients with advanced melanoma who received intravenous nivolumab every 2 weeks for up to 22 months. Median overall survival in these patients was 16.8 months; 1-year and 2-year survival rates were 62% and 43%. One-third of patients had objective tumor regression. Of 17 patients who discontinued nivolumab for reasons other than disease progression, 12 maintained response for 16 to 52 weeks after discontinuation. Twenty-four patients experienced grade 3 to 4 treatment-related adverse events, and 54% experienced adverse events considered to be immune related. There were no treatment-related deaths.

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