Publications by authors named "Paolo A Ascierto"

314 Publications

JAK Inhibition with Ruxolitinib in Patients with COVID-19 and Severe Pneumonia: Multicenter Clinical Experience from a Compassionate Use Program in Italy.

J Clin Med 2021 Aug 23;10(16). Epub 2021 Aug 23.

Department of Clinical and Biological Sciences of the University of Turin, San Luigi University Hospital, 10143 Orbassano, Italy.

Jak inhibitors are potent anti-inflammatory drugs that have the potential to dampen the hyperactive inflammatory response associated with severe COVID-19. We reviewed the clinical outcomes of 218 patients with COVID-19 hospitalized for severe pneumonia and treated with ruxolitinib through a compassionate use program. Data on the duration of treatment; outcomes at 4, 7, 14, and 28 days; oxygen support requirements; clinical status; and laboratory parameters were retrospectively collected. Overall, according to the physician evaluation, 66.5% of patients showed improvement at follow-up; of these, 83.5% showed improvement by day 7. Oxygen support status also showed improvement, and by day 7, 21.6% of patients were on ambient air, compared with 1.4% at baseline, which increased to 48.2% by day 28. Significant decreases in C-reactive protein and increases in the lymphocyte total count were already observed by day 4, which seemed to correlate with a positive outcome. At the end of the observation period, 87.2% of patients were alive. No unexpected safety findings were observed, and grade 3/4 adverse events were reported in 6.9% of patients.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3390/jcm10163752DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8397012PMC
August 2021

The concepts of rechallenge and retreatment with immune checkpoint blockade in melanoma patients.

Eur J Cancer 2021 Sep 12;155:268-280. Epub 2021 Aug 12.

Department of Dermatology, University Hospital Essen, Essen & German Cancer Consortium, Partner Site, Germany.

Forty to 60% of patients with advanced or metastatic melanoma respond to first-line immune checkpoint inhibitors (ICI) and half of all patients in the metastatic setting eventually progress. This review evaluated the latest long-term data from clinical trials. It also considered data from recent retrospective studies, as these address important questions for clinical practice. 'Retreatment' defined as 'repeated treatment with the same therapeutic class following relapse after adjuvant treatment has ended' and showed activity in selected patients with recurrence after regular completion of adjuvant PD-1 treatment. In melanoma patients with adjuvant PD-1 monotherapy who recur during adjuvant treatment, further treatment with PD-1 monotherapy seems to have no clinical utility, indicating the need for a therapy switch or escalation in these patients. Targeted therapy with BRAF/MEK inhibitors and ipilimumab-based therapy (alone or combined with PD-1 blockade) show clinical activity in patients who recur during and after adjuvant treatment. 'Rechallenge', defined as 'repeated treatment with the same therapeutic class following disease progression in patients who had clinical benefit with prior treatment for unresectable or metastatic disease', with pembrolizumab at progression in the advanced setting achieving additional disease control. If possible, 'escalation' (PD-1 inhibitors combined with additional agents) should be preferred to PD-1 inhibitor monotherapy rechallenge as higher response rates were demonstrated. The combination of PD-1 plus CTLA-4 was found to be more effective but not more toxic than CTLA-4 alone. Promising antitumor activity was observed for escalation to lenvatinib plus pembrolizumab, entinostat plus pembrolizumab, and relatlimab plus nivolumab. Retreatment, rechallenge and escalation are available options for patients with melanoma who relapse in the adjuvant or advanced setting.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ejca.2021.07.002DOI Listing
September 2021

TMB and Inflammatory Gene Expression Associated with Clinical Outcomes following Immunotherapy in Advanced Melanoma.

Cancer Immunol Res 2021 Aug 13. Epub 2021 Aug 13.

Unit of Melanoma, Cancer Immunotherapy and Development Therapeutics, Istituto Nazionale Tumori IRCCS Fondazione G. Pascale, Naples, Italy.

Outcomes for patients with melanoma have improved over the past decade as a result of the development and FDA approval of immunotherapies targeting cytotoxic T lymphocyte antigen-4 (CTLA-4), programmed death-1 (PD-1), and programmed death ligand 1 (PD-L1). However, these therapies do not benefit all patients, and an area of intensive research investigation is identifying biomarkers that can predict which patients are most likely to benefit from them. Here, we report exploratory analyses of the associations of tumor mutational burden (TMB), a 4-gene inflammatory gene expression signature, and mutation status with tumor response, progression-free survival, and overall survival in patients with advanced melanoma treated as part of the CheckMate 066 and 067 phase III clinical trials evaluating immuno-oncology therapies. In patients enrolled in CheckMate 067 receiving the anti-PD-1 inhibitor nivolumab (NIVO) alone or in combination with the anti-CTLA-4 inhibitor ipilimumab (IPI) or IPI alone, longer survival appeared to associate with high (>median) versus low (≤median) TMB and with high versus low inflammatory signature scores. For NIVO-treated patients, the results regarding TMB association were confirmed in CheckMate 066. In addition, improved survival was observed with high TMB and absence of mutation. Weak correlations were observed between PD-L1, TMB, and the inflammatory signature. Combined assessment of TMB, inflammatory gene expression signature, and mutation status may be predictive for response to immune checkpoint blockade in advanced melanoma.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1158/2326-6066.CIR-20-0983DOI Listing
August 2021

Real Life Clinical Management and Survival in Advanced Cutaneous Melanoma: The Italian Clinical National Melanoma Registry Experience.

Front Oncol 2021 8;11:672797. Epub 2021 Jul 8.

Centro di Riferimento Oncologico di Aviano (CRO) IRCCS, Aviano (PN), Italy.

Background: Cutaneous melanoma (CM) is one of the most aggressive types of skin cancer. Currently, innovative approaches such as target therapies and immunotherapies have been introduced in clinical practice. Data of clinical trials and real life studies that evaluate the outcomes of these therapeutic associations are necessary to establish their clinical utility. The aim of this study is to investigate the types of oncological treatments employed in the real-life clinical management of patients with advanced CM in several Italian centers, which are part of the Clinical National Melanoma Registry (CNMR).

Methods: Melanoma-specific survival and overall survival were calculated. Multivariate Cox regression models were used to estimate the hazard ratios adjusting for confounders and other prognostic factors.

Results: The median follow-up time was 36 months (range 1.2-185.1). 787 CM were included in the analysis with completed information about therapies. All types of immunotherapy showed a significant improved survival compared with all other therapies (p=0.001). 75% was the highest reduction of death reached by anti-PD-1 (HR=0.25), globally immunotherapy was significantly associated with improved survival, either for anti-CTLA4 monotherapy or combined with anti-PD-1 (HR=0.47 and 0.26, respectively) and BRAFI+MEKI (HR=0.62).

Conclusions: The nivolumab/pembrolizumab in combination of ipilimumab and the addition of ant-MEK to the BRAFi can be considered the best therapies to improve survival in a real-world-population. The CNMR can complement clinical registries with the intent of improving cancer management and standardizing cancer treatment.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3389/fonc.2021.672797DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8298066PMC
July 2021

Perspectives in Melanoma: meeting report from the Melanoma Bridge (December 3rd-5th, 2020, Italy).

J Transl Med 2021 06 30;19(1):278. Epub 2021 Jun 30.

Cancer Diagnosis Program, Division of Cancer Treatment and Diagnosis, NCI, NIH, Rockville, MD, USA.

Advances in immune checkpoint therapy and targeted therapy have led to improvement in overall survival for patients with advanced melanoma. Single agent checkpoint PD-1 blockade and combination with BRAF/MEK targeted therapy demonstrated benefit in overall survival (OS). Superior response rates have been demonstrated with combined PD-1/CTLA-4 blockade, with a significant OS benefit compared with single-agent PD-1 blockade. Despite the progress in diagnosis of melanocytic lesions, correct classification of patients, selection of appropriate adjuvant and systemic therapies, and prediction of response to therapy remain real challenges in melanoma. Improved understanding of the tumor microenvironment, tumor immunity and response to therapy has prompted extensive translational and clinical research in melanoma. Development of novel biomarker platforms may help to improve diagnostics and predictive accuracy for selection of patients for specific treatment. There is a growing evidence that genomic and immune features of pre-treatment tumor biopsies may correlate with response in patients with melanoma and other cancers but they have yet to be fully characterized and implemented clinically. Overall, the progress in melanoma therapeutics and translational research will help to optimize treatment regimens to overcome resistance and develop robust biomarkers to guide clinical decision-making. During the Melanoma Bridge meeting (December 3rd-5th, 2020, Italy) we reviewed the currently approved systemic and local therapies for advanced melanoma and discussed novel biomarker strategies and advances in precision medicine.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/s12967-021-02951-xDOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8243582PMC
June 2021

First line treatment of BRAF mutated advanced melanoma: Does one size fit all?

Cancer Treat Rev 2021 Sep 18;99:102253. Epub 2021 Jun 18.

Department of Melanoma, Cancer Immunotherapy and Development Therapeutics, Istituto Nazionale Tumori IRCCS Fondazione Pascale, Napoli, Italy.

In the last decade, immunotherapy and target therapy have revolutionized the prognosis of patients with BRAF-V600 mutation-positive metastatic melanoma. To date, three different combinations of BRAF/MEK inhibitors have been approved for this population, showing comparable efficacy and unique toxicity profiles. Several immune-checkpoint inhibitors, including pembrolizumab, nivolumab and the combination of nivolumab plus ipilimumab, are also available options for untreated metastatic melanoma patients. A novel approach has emerged by combining immune-checkpoint inhibitors and targeted agents, based on preclinical hints of synergy, prompting clinical results from large randomized trials. Specifically, the triplet of atezolizumab, vemurafenib and cobimetinib has been recently approved by FDA for patients with untreated BRAF-mutant metastatic melanoma. With a wide variety of available treatment options in this setting, it is paramount to establish criteria to select the most effective and safe frontline tailored approaches, for each patient. Results from ongoing studies are awaited, to maximise the benefits in survival outcomes and quality of life for patients, balancing adverse events and clinical benefit. The purpose of this review is to summarize the current landscape of standard and experimental treatment strategies for the first line treatment of patients with BRAF-mutated advanced melanoma and discuss the best patient-centered tailored strategies in the first-line setting.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ctrv.2021.102253DOI Listing
September 2021

Hyperacute toxicity with combination ipilimumab and anti-PD1 immunotherapy.

Eur J Cancer 2021 Aug 25;153:168-178. Epub 2021 Jun 25.

Melanoma Institute Australia, The University of Sydney, Sydney, Australia; Royal North Shore Hospital and Mater Hospitals, Sydney, Australia. Electronic address:

Background: Combination ipilimumab and nivolumab is approved for several malignancies. Toxicity most often occurs 6-10 weeks into treatment. Whether very early toxicity is harder to manage or influences efficacy is unknown.

Methods: Consecutive metastatic melanoma patients who developed hyperacute toxicity, defined as Grade 2+ irAE within 21 days of receiving ipilimumab + anti-PD-1 were retrospectively identified from nine centres.

Results: A total of 82 patients developed hyperacute toxicity (estimated incidence 9%), at a median 10 days (range 1-21). Toxicities included colitis (N = 23), rash (17), hepatitis (9), endocrine (9), pneumonitis (6) and neurotoxicity (4) and were G2 (38%), G3 (52%), G4 (6%) and G5 (2% myocarditis). Fifty-nine percent required treatment beyond oral steroids, including IV steroids (28%), infliximab and other immunosuppression (30%). A total of 29% patients developed an additional hyperacute toxicity and 26% another toxicity >21 days after treatment commencement but before further immunotherapy. The objective response rate (ORR) was 54%, and after a median 11.6 mo follow-up, median PFS was 7.4 mo. Increasing levels of immunosuppression was associated with a reduced PFS (12-month PFS 62% no immunosuppression versus 49% oral steroids versus 33% IV steroids versus 20% further immunosuppressants, p = 0.006). There was no significant difference in ORR or PFS by duration of immunosuppression.

Conclusions: Hyperacute toxicities from combination immunotherapy have a wide spectrum and can be severe. Many patients require significant immunosuppression for prolonged durations and remain at risk of further severe toxicity. Melanoma outcomes in such patients appear similar to those of trial populations, although greater immunosuppression requirements may be associated with inferior outcomes.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ejca.2021.04.045DOI Listing
August 2021

Therapeutic Advancements Across Clinical Stages in Melanoma, With a Focus on Targeted Immunotherapy.

Front Oncol 2021 10;11:670726. Epub 2021 Jun 10.

Unit of Melanoma, Cancer Immunotherapy and Development Therapeutics, Istituto Nazionale Tumori IRCCS Fondazione G. Pascale, Napoli, Italy.

Melanoma is the most fatal skin cancer. In the early stages, it can be safely treated with surgery alone. However, since 2011, there has been an important revolution in the treatment of melanoma with new effective treatments. Targeted therapy and immunotherapy with checkpoint inhibitors have changed the history of this disease. To date, more than half of advanced melanoma patients are alive at 5 years; despite this breakthrough, approximately half of the patients still do not respond to treatment. For these reasons, new therapeutic strategies are required to expand the number of patients who can benefit from immunotherapy or combination with targeted therapy. Current research aims at preventing primary and acquired resistance, which are both responsible for treatment failure in about 50% of patients. This could increase the effectiveness of available drugs and allow for the evaluation of new combinations and new targets. The main pathways and molecules under study are the IDO inhibitor, TLR9 agonist, STING, LAG-3, TIM-3, HDAC inhibitors, pegylated IL-2 (NKTR-214), GITR, and adenosine pathway inhibitors, among others (there are currently about 3000 trials that are evaluating immunotherapeutic combinations in different tumors). Other promising strategies are cancer vaccines and oncolytic viruses. Another approach is to isolate and remove immune cells (DCs, T cells, and NK cells) from the patient's blood or tumor infiltrates, add specific gene fragments, expand them in culture with growth factors, and re-inoculate into the same patient. TILs, TCR gene transfer, and CAR-T therapy follow this approach. In this article, we give an overview over the current status of melanoma therapies, the clinical rationale for choosing treatments, and the new immunotherapy approaches.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3389/fonc.2021.670726DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8222774PMC
June 2021

PD-1/PD-L1 checkpoint inhibitors during late stages of life: an ad-hoc analysis from a large multicenter cohort.

J Transl Med 2021 06 24;19(1):270. Epub 2021 Jun 24.

Division of Medical Oncology, University of Insubria, Varese, Italy.

Background: The favourable safety profile and the increasing confidence with immune checkpoint inhibitors (ICIs) might have boosted their prescription in frail patients with short life expectancies, who usually are not treated with standard chemotherapy.

Methods: The present analysis aims to describe clinicians' attitudes towards ICIs administration during late stages of life within a multicenter cohort of advanced cancer patients treated with single agent PD-1/PD-L1 checkpoint inhibitors in Italy.

Results: Overall, 1149 patients with advanced cancer who received single agent PD-1/PD-L1 checkpoint inhibitors were screened. The final study population consisted of 567 deceased patients. 166 patients (29.3%) had received ICIs within 30 days of death; among them there was a significantly higher proportion of patients with ECOG-PS ≥ 2 (28.3% vs 11.5%, p < 0.0001) and with a higher burden of disease (69.3% vs 59.4%, p = 0.0266). In total, 35 patients (6.2%) started ICIs within 30 days of death; among them there was a higher proportion of patients with ECOG-PS ≥ 2 (45.7% vs 14.5%, p < 0.0001) and with a higher burden of disease (82.9% vs 60.9%, p = 0.0266). Primary tumors were significantly different across subgroups (p = 0.0172), with a higher prevalence of NSCLC patients (80% vs 60.9%) among those who started ICIs within 30 days of death. Lastly, 123 patients (21.7%) started ICIs within 3 months of death. Similarly, within this subgroup there was a higher proportion of patients with ECOG-PS ≥ 2 (29.3% vs 12.8%, p < 0.0001), with a higher burden of disease (74.0% vs 59.0%, p = 0.0025) and with NSCLC (74.0% vs 58.8%, p = 0.0236).

Conclusion: Our results confirmed a trend toward an increasing ICIs prescription in frail patients, during the late stages of life. Caution should be exercised when evaluating an ICI treatment for patients with a poor PS and a high burden of disease.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/s12967-021-02937-9DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8223272PMC
June 2021

5-Year Outcomes with Cobimetinib plus Vemurafenib in Mutation-Positive Advanced Melanoma: Extended Follow-up of the coBRIM Study.

Clin Cancer Res 2021 Jun 22. Epub 2021 Jun 22.

Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre and the University of Melbourne, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia.

Purpose: The randomized phase III coBRIM study (NCT01689519) demonstrated improved progression-free survival (PFS) and overall survival (OS) with addition of cobimetinib to vemurafenib compared with vemurafenib in patients with previously untreated mutation-positive advanced melanoma. We report long-term follow-up of coBRIM, with at least 5 years since the last patient was randomized.

Experimental Design: Eligible patients were randomized 1:1 to receive either oral cobimetinib (60 mg once daily on days 1-21 in each 28-day cycle) or placebo in combination with oral vemurafenib (960 mg twice daily).

Results: 495 patients were randomized to cobimetinib plus vemurafenib ( = 247) or placebo plus vemurafenib ( = 248). Median follow-up was 21.2 months for cobimetinib plus vemurafenib and 16.6 months for placebo plus vemurafenib. Median OS was 22.5 months (95% CI, 20.3-28.8) with cobimetinib plus vemurafenib and 17.4 months (95% CI, 15.0-19.8) with placebo plus vemurafenib; 5-year OS rates were 31% and 26%, respectively. Median PFS was 12.6 months (95% CI, 9.5-14.8) with cobimetinib plus vemurafenib and 7.2 months (95% CI, 5.6-7.5) with placebo plus vemurafenib; 5-year PFS rates were 14% and 10%, respectively. OS and PFS were longest in patients with normal baseline lactate dehydrogenase levels and low tumor burden, and in those achieving complete response. The safety profile remained consistent with previously published reports.

Conclusions: Extended follow-up of coBRIM confirms the long-term clinical benefit and safety profile of cobimetinib plus vemurafenib compared with vemurafenib monotherapy in patients with mutation-positive advanced melanoma.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1158/1078-0432.CCR-21-0809DOI Listing
June 2021

Quality of life in patients with BRAF-mutant melanoma receiving the combination encorafenib plus binimetinib: Results from a multicentre, open-label, randomised, phase III study (COLUMBUS).

Eur J Cancer 2021 Jul 4;152:116-128. Epub 2021 Jun 4.

Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston, MA, USA.

Background: In COLUMBUS, treatment with encorafenib plus binimetinib in patients with advanced BRAF-mutant melanoma showed improved progression-free and overall survival with favourable tolerability compared to vemurafenib treatment. Here, results on health-related quality of life (HRQoL) are presented.

Methods: COLUMBUS was a two-part, open-label, randomised, phase III study in patients with BRAF-mutant melanoma. In PART-I, 577 patients were randomised (1:1:1) to encorafenib plus binimetinib, encorafenib or vemurafenib. The primary objective was to assess progression-free survival. As a secondary objective, HRQoL was assessed by the EQ-5D, the EORTC QLQ-C30 and the FACT-M questionnaires. Furthermore, time to definitive 10% deterioration was estimated with a Kaplan-Meier analysis and differences in mean scores between groups were calculated with a mixed-effect model for repeated measures. Hospitalisation rate and the impact of hospitalisation on HRQoL were also assessed.

Results: Patients receiving the combination treatment showed improvement of their FACT-M and EORTC QLQ-C30 global health status scores, compared to those receiving vemurafenib (post-baseline score differences: 3.03 [p < 0.0001] for FACT M and 5.28 [p = 0.0042] for EORTC QLQ-C30), indicative of a meaningful change in patient's status. Furthermore, a delay in the deterioration of QoL was observed in non-hospitalised patients compared to hospitalised patients (hazard ratio [95% CI]: 1.16 [0.80; 1.68] for EORTC QLQ-C30 and 1.27 [0.81; 1.99] for FACT-M) and a risk reduction of 10% deterioration, favoured the combination in both groups.

Conclusion: The improved efficacy of encorafenib plus binimetinib compared to vemurafenib, translates into a positive impact on the perceived health status as assessed by the HRQoL questionnaires. The study is registered with ClinicalTrials.gov, number NCT01909453 and EudraCT number 2013-001176-38.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ejca.2021.04.028DOI Listing
July 2021

Perspectives in immunotherapy: meeting report from the immunotherapy bridge (December 2nd-3rd, 2020, Italy).

J Transl Med 2021 06 2;19(1):238. Epub 2021 Jun 2.

Department of Medicine, Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center, Buffalo, NY, USA.

Improved understanding of tumor immunology has enabled the development of therapies that harness the immune system and prevent immune escape. Numerous clinical trials and real-world experience has provided evidence of the potential for long-term survival with immunotherapy in various types of malignancy. Recurring observations with immuno-oncology agents include their potential for clinical application across a broad patient population with different tumor types, conventional and unconventional response patterns, durable responses, and immune-related adverse events. Despite the substantial achievements to date, a significant proportion of patients still fail to benefit from current immunotherapy options, and ongoing research is focused on transforming non-responders to responders through the development of novel treatments, new strategies to combination therapy, adjuvant and neoadjuvant approaches, and the identification of biomarkers of response. These topics were the focus of the virtual Immunotherapy Bridge (December 2nd-3rd, 2020), organized by the Fondazione Melanoma Onlus, Naples, Italy, in collaboration with the Society for Immunotherapy of Cancer and are summarised in this report.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/s12967-021-02895-2DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8173810PMC
June 2021

A Retrospective Analysis of Dabrafenib and/or Dabrafenib Plus Trametinib Combination in Patients with Metastatic Melanoma to Characterize Patients with Long-Term Benefit in the Individual Patient Program (DESCRIBE III).

Cancers (Basel) 2021 May 18;13(10). Epub 2021 May 18.

Medical Oncology, Universitair Ziekenhuis Brussel, 1090 Brussels, Belgium.

The dabrafenib plus trametinib (dab + tram) combination has demonstrated durable long-term efficacy in patients with V600-mutant metastatic melanoma. However, real-world data characterizing patients with long-term benefit are limited. DESCRIBE III was a global, observational, retrospective, chart review study in patients with unresectable or metastatic melanoma treated with dab monotherapy and/or dab + tram combination therapy as part of the Named Patient Program or Individual Patient Program. Overall, 509 patients were enrolled. Patients were categorized into three groups based on their observed treatment duration: long-term (on therapy ≥12 months), intermediate (on therapy ≥6 months and <12 months), and short-term (on therapy <6 months) duration of benefit. More patients in the short-term duration of benefit group had baseline characteristics associated with poor prognosis compared with the other two groups. Median lactate dehydrogenase (LDH) levels (368 U/L) at baseline were also higher in the short-term duration of benefit group. No new safety signals were identified. DESCRIBE III identified baseline characteristics associated with long-term benefit of dab + tram. Lower LDH level and <3 metastatic sites at baseline were associated with a longer duration of benefit, confirming that the findings from COMBI-d and COMBI-v are relevant to patients treated in a real-world setting.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3390/cancers13102466DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8158680PMC
May 2021

Ipilimumab alone or ipilimumab plus anti-PD-1 therapy in patients with metastatic melanoma resistant to anti-PD-(L)1 monotherapy: a multicentre, retrospective, cohort study.

Lancet Oncol 2021 06 11;22(6):836-847. Epub 2021 May 11.

Melanoma Institute Australia, University of Sydney, Sydney, NSW, Australia; Royal North Shore Hospital, Sydney, NSW, Australia; Mater Hospital, Sydney, NSW, Australia. Electronic address:

Background: Anti-PD-1 therapy (hereafter referred to as anti-PD-1) induces long-term disease control in approximately 30% of patients with metastatic melanoma; however, two-thirds of patients are resistant and will require further treatment. We aimed to determine the efficacy and safety of ipilimumab plus anti-PD-1 (pembrolizumab or nivolumab) compared with ipilimumab monotherapy in patients who are resistant to anti-PD-(L)1 therapy (hereafter referred to as anti-PD-[L]1).

Methods: This multicentre, retrospective, cohort study, was done at 15 melanoma centres in Australia, Europe, and the USA. We included adult patients (aged ≥18 years) with metastatic melanoma (unresectable stage III and IV), who were resistant to anti-PD-(L)1 (innate or acquired resistance) and who then received either ipilimumab monotherapy or ipilimumab plus anti-PD-1 (pembrolizumab or nivolumab), based on availability of therapies or clinical factors determined by the physician, or both. Tumour response was assessed as per standard of care (CT or PET-CT scans every 3 months). The study endpoints were objective response rate, progression-free survival, overall survival, and safety of ipilimumab compared with ipilimumab plus anti-PD-1.

Findings: We included 355 patients with metastatic melanoma, resistant to anti-PD-(L)1 (nivolumab, pembrolizumab, or atezolizumab), who had been treated with ipilimumab monotherapy (n=162 [46%]) or ipilimumab plus anti-PD-1 (n=193 [54%]) between Feb 1, 2011, and Feb 6, 2020. At a median follow-up of 22·1 months (IQR 9·5-30·9), the objective response rate was higher with ipilimumab plus anti-PD-1 (60 [31%] of 193 patients) than with ipilimumab monotherapy (21 [13%] of 162 patients; p<0·0001). Overall survival was longer in the ipilimumab plus anti-PD-1 group (median overall survival 20·4 months [95% CI 12·7-34·8]) than with ipilimumab monotherapy (8·8 months [6·1-11·3]; hazard ratio [HR] 0·50, 95% CI 0·38-0·66; p<0·0001). Progression-free survival was also longer with ipilimumab plus anti-PD-1 (median 3·0 months [95% CI 2·6-3·6]) than with ipilimumab (2·6 months [2·4-2·9]; HR 0·69, 95% CI 0·55-0·87; p=0·0019). Similar proportions of patients reported grade 3-5 adverse events in both groups (59 [31%] of 193 patients in the ipilimumab plus anti-PD-1 group vs 54 [33%] of 162 patients in the ipilimumab group). The most common grade 3-5 adverse events were diarrhoea or colitis (23 [12%] of 193 patients in the ipilimumab plus anti-PD-1 group vs 33 [20%] of 162 patients in the ipilimumab group) and increased alanine aminotransferase or aspartate aminotransferase (24 [12%] vs 15 [9%]). One death occurred with ipilimumab 26 days after the last treatment: a colon perforation due to immune-related pancolitis.

Interpretation: In patients who are resistant to anti-PD-(L)1, ipilimumab plus anti-PD-1 seemed to yield higher efficacy than ipilimumab with a higher objective response rate, longer progression-free, and longer overall survival, with a similar rate of grade 3-5 toxicity. Ipilimumab plus anti-PD-1 should be favoured over ipilimumab alone as a second-line immunotherapy for these patients with advanced melanoma.

Funding: None.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/S1470-2045(21)00097-8DOI Listing
June 2021

The role of local therapy in the treatment of solitary melanoma progression on immune checkpoint inhibition: A multicentre retrospective analysis.

Eur J Cancer 2021 Jul 7;151:72-83. Epub 2021 May 7.

Department of Medical Oncology, Netherlands Cancer Institute, Plesmanlaan 121, 1066 CX Amsterdam, the Netherlands; Division of Molecular Oncology and Immunology, Netherlands Cancer Institute, Plesmanlaan 121, 1066 CX Amsterdam, the Netherlands; Department of Internal Medicine, Leiden University Medical Center, Albinusdreef 2, 2333 AZ Leiden, the Netherlands.

Introduction: In patients with metastatic melanoma, progression of a single tumour lesion (solitary progression) after response to immune checkpoint inhibition (ICI) is increasingly treated with local therapy. We evaluated the role of local therapy for solitary progression in melanoma.

Patients And Methods: Patients with metastatic melanoma treated with ICI between 2010 and 2019 with solitary progression as first progressive event were included from 17 centres in 9 countries. Follow-up and survival are reported from ICI initiation.

Results: We identified 294 patients with solitary progression after stable disease in 15%, partial response in 55% and complete response in 30%. The median follow-up was 43 months; the median time to solitary progression was 13 months, and the median time to subsequent progression after treatment of solitary progression (TTSP) was 33 months. The estimated 3-year overall survival (OS) was 79%; median OS was not reached. Treatment consisted of systemic therapy (18%), local therapy (36%), both combined (42%) or active surveillance (4%). In 44% of patients treated for solitary progression, no subsequent progression occurred. For solitary progression during ICI (n = 143), the median TTSP was 29 months. Both TTSP and OS were similar for local therapy, ICI continuation and both combined. For solitary progression post ICI (n = 151), the median TTSP was 35 months. TTSP was higher for ICI recommencement plus local therapy than local therapy or ICI recommencement alone (p = 0.006), without OS differences.

Conclusion: Almost half of patients with melanoma treated for solitary progression after initial response to ICI had no subsequent progression. This study suggests that local therapy can benefit patients and is associated with favourable long-term outcomes.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ejca.2021.04.003DOI Listing
July 2021

Ipilimumab and Stereotactic Radiosurgery with CyberKnife System in Melanoma Brain Metastases: A Retrospective Monoinstitutional Experience.

Cancers (Basel) 2021 Apr 13;13(8). Epub 2021 Apr 13.

Radiation Oncology Unit, Istituto Nazionale Tumori-IRCCS-Fondazione G. Pascale, 80131 Naples, Italy.

The median overall survival (OS) and local control (LC) of patients with melanoma brain metastases (MBMs) are poor even with immune checkpoint inhibitors and/or radiotherapy (RT). The aims of the study were to evaluate the association and timing of stereotactic radiotherapy (SRT)/radiosurgery (SRS) performed with the CyberKnife System and ipilimumab (IPI). A total of 63 MBMs patients were analyzed: 53 received RT+IPI and 10 RT alone. Therefore, the patients were divided into four groups: RT PRE-PI (>4 weeks before IPI) (18), RT CONC-IPI (4 weeks before/between first and last cycle/within 3 months of last cycle of IPI) (20), RT POST-IPI (>3 months after IPI) (15), and NO-IPI (10). A total of 127 lesions were treated: 75 with SRS (one fraction) and 24 with SRT (three to five fractions). The median follow-up was 10.6 months. The median OS was 10.6 months for all patients, 10.7 months for RT+IPI, and 3.3 months for NO-IPI ( = 0.96). One-year LC was 50% for all patients, 56% for RT+IPI, and 18% for NO-IPI ( = 0.08). The 1-year intracranial control was 45% for all patients, 44% for RT+IPI, and 51% for NO-IPI ( = 0.73). IPI with SRS/SRT in MBMs treatment could improve LC. However, the impact and timing of the two modalities on patients' outcomes are still unclear.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3390/cancers13081857DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8068853PMC
April 2021

Adjuvant pembrolizumab versus placebo in resected stage III melanoma (EORTC 1325-MG/KEYNOTE-054): health-related quality-of-life results from a double-blind, randomised, controlled, phase 3 trial.

Lancet Oncol 2021 05 12;22(5):655-664. Epub 2021 Apr 12.

EORTC Headquarters, Brussels, Belgium.

Background: The European Organisation for Research and Treatment of Cancer (EORTC) 1325-MG/KEYNOTE-054 trial in patients with resected, high-risk stage III melanoma demonstrated improved recurrence-free survival with adjuvant pembrolizumab compared with placebo (hazard ratio 0·57 [98·4% CI 0·43-0·74]; p<0·0001). This study reports the results from the health-related quality-of-life (HRQOL) exploratory endpoint.

Methods: This double-blind, randomised, controlled, phase 3 trial was done at 123 academic centres and community hospitals across 23 countries. Patients aged 18 years or older with previously untreated histologically confirmed stage IIIA, IIIB, or IIIC resected cutaneous melanoma, and an Eastern Cooperative Oncology Group performance status score of 1 or 0 were eligible. Patients were randomly assigned (1:1) using a central interactive voice-response system on the basis of a minimisation technique stratified for stage and geographic region to receive intravenously 200 mg pembrolizumab or placebo. Treatment was administered every 3 weeks for 1 year, or until disease recurrence, unacceptable toxicity, or death. The primary endpoint of the trial was recurrence-free survival (reported elsewhere). HRQOL was a prespecified exploratory endpoint, with global health/quality of life (GHQ) over 2 years measured by the EORTC QLQ-C30 as the primary analysis. Analyses were done in the intention-to-treat population. This study is registered with ClinicalTrials.gov, NCT02362594, and EudraCT, 2014-004944-37, and long-term follow-up is ongoing.

Findings: Between Aug 26, 2015, and Nov 14, 2016, 1019 patients were assigned to pembrolizumab (n=514) or placebo (n=505). Median follow-up was 15·1 months (IQR 12·8-16·9) at the time of this analysis. HRQOL compliance was greater than 90% at baseline, greater than 70% during the first year, and greater than 60% thereafter for both groups. Because of low absolute compliance numbers at later follow-up, the analysis was truncated to week 84. Baseline GHQ scores were similar between groups (77·55 [SD 18·20] in the pembrolizumab group and 76·54 [17·81] in the placebo group) and remained stable over time. The difference in average GHQ score between the two groups over the 2 years was -2·2 points (95% CI -4·3 to -0·2). The difference in average score during treatment was -1·1 points (95% CI -3·2 to 0·9) and the difference in average score after treatment was -2·2 points (-4·8 to 0·4). These differences are within the 5-point clinical relevance threshold for the QLQ-C30 and are therefore clinically non-significant.

Interpretation: Pembrolizumab does not result in a clinically significant decrease in HRQOL compared with placebo when given as adjuvant therapy for patients with resected, high-risk stage III melanoma. These results support the use of adjuvant pembrolizumab in this setting.

Funding: Merck Sharp & Dohme.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/S1470-2045(21)00081-4DOI Listing
May 2021

Adjuvant pembrolizumab versus placebo in resected stage III melanoma (EORTC 1325-MG/KEYNOTE-054): distant metastasis-free survival results from a double-blind, randomised, controlled, phase 3 trial.

Lancet Oncol 2021 05 12;22(5):643-654. Epub 2021 Apr 12.

EORTC Headquarters, Brussels, Belgium.

Background: The European Organisation for Research and Treatment of Cancer (EORTC) 1325/KEYNOTE-054 trial assessed pembrolizumab versus placebo in patients with resected high-risk stage III melanoma. At 15-month median follow-up, pembrolizumab improved recurrence-free survival (hazard ratio [HR] 0·57 [98·4% CI 0·43-0·74], p<0·0001) compared with placebo, leading to its approval in the USA and Europe. This report provides the final results for the secondary efficacy endpoint, distant metastasis-free survival and an update of the recurrence-free survival results.

Methods: This double-blind, randomised, controlled, phase 3 trial was done at 123 academic centres and community hospitals across 23 countries. Patients aged 18 years or older with complete resection of cutaneous melanoma metastatic to lymph node, classified as American Joint Committee on Cancer staging system, seventh edition (AJCC-7) stage IIIA (at least one lymph node metastasis >1 mm), IIIB, or IIIC (without in-transit metastasis), and with an Eastern Cooperative Oncology Group performance status of 0 or 1 were eligible. Patients were randomly assigned (1:1) via a central interactive voice response system to receive intravenous pembrolizumab 200 mg or placebo every 3 weeks for up to 18 doses or until disease recurrence or unacceptable toxicity. Randomisation was stratified according to disease stage and region, using a minimisation technique, and clinical investigators, patients, and those collecting or analysing the data were masked to treatment assignment. The two coprimary endpoints were recurrence-free survival in the intention-to-treat (ITT) population and in patients with PD-L1-positive tumours. The secondary endpoint reported here was distant metastasis-free survival in the ITT and PD-L1-positive populations. This study is registered with ClinicalTrials.gov, NCT02362594, and EudraCT, 2014-004944-37.

Findings: Between Aug 26, 2015, and Nov 14, 2016, 1019 patients were assigned to receive either pembrolizumab (n=514) or placebo (n=505). At an overall median follow-up of 42·3 months (IQR 40·5-45·9), 3·5-year distant metastasis-free survival was higher in the pembrolizumab group than in the placebo group in the ITT population (65·3% [95% CI 60·9-69·5] in the pembrolizumab group vs 49·4% [44·8-53·8] in the placebo group; HR 0·60 [95% CI 0·49-0·73]; p<0·0001). In the 853 patients with PD-L1-positive tumours, 3·5-year distant metastasis-free survival was 66·7% (95% CI 61·8-71·2) in the pembrolizumab group and 51·6% (46·6-56·4) in the placebo group (HR 0·61 [95% CI 0·49-0·76]; p<0·0001). Recurrence-free survival remained longer in the pembrolizumab group 59·8% (95% CI 55·3-64·1) than the placebo group 41·4% (37·0-45·8) at this 3·5-year follow-up in the ITT population (HR 0·59 [95% CI 0·49-0·70]) and in those with PD-L1-positive tumours 61·4% (56·3-66·1) in the pembrolizumab group and 44·1% (39·2-48·8) in the placebo group (HR 0·59 [95% CI 0·49-0·73]).

Interpretation: Pembrolizumab adjuvant therapy provided a significant and clinically meaningful improvement in distant metastasis-free survival at a 3·5-year median follow-up, which was consistent with the improvement in recurrence-free survival. Therefore, the results of this trial support the indication to use adjuvant pembrolizumab therapy in patients with resected high risk stage III cutaneous melanoma.

Funding: Merck Sharp & Dohme.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/S1470-2045(21)00065-6DOI Listing
May 2021

The "Great Debate" at Immunotherapy Bridge 2020, December 3rd, 2020.

J Transl Med 2021 04 7;19(1):144. Epub 2021 Apr 7.

Department of Medicine, Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center, Buffalo, NY, USA.

As part of the 2020 Immunotherapy Bridge virtual congress (December 2nd-3rd, Italy), the Great Debate session featured counterpoint views from leading experts on three clinical questions in immunotherapy today. The first of these was whether antitumoral vaccination is still a treatment option. The second topic debated whether anti-programmed death (PD)-1/PD-ligand (L)1 blockade should be the backbone for immunotherapy combination. Finally, the use of innovative study designs and surrogate endpoints was considered from both an academic and industry perspective. For each topic, two experts presented the argument and counter-argument in support of two different points of view. As with previous Bridge congresses, the debates were assigned by meeting Chairs and positions taken by experts during the debates may not have necessarily reflected their respective personal view. The views summarised in this article are based on available evidence but may reflect personal interpretation of these data, clinical experience and subjective opinion of the speaker.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/s12967-021-02811-8DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8025454PMC
April 2021

The "Great Debate" at Melanoma Bridge 2020: December, 5th, 2020.

J Transl Med 2021 04 7;19(1):142. Epub 2021 Apr 7.

Department of Medicine, Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center, Buffalo, NY, USA.

The Great Debate session at the 2020 Melanoma Bridge virtual congress (December 3rd-5th, Italy) featured counterpoint views from experts on five specific controversial issues in melanoma. The debates considered whether or not innate immunity is important in the response to cancer and immunotherapy, how useful are the revised American Joint Committee on Cancer (AJCC) classification for the staging of patients, the use of sentinel node biopsy for staging patients, the use of triplet combination of targeted therapy plus immunotherapy versus combined immunotherapy, and the respective benefits of neoadjuvant versus adjuvant therapy. As is usual with Bridge congresses, the debates were assigned by meeting Chairs and positions taken by experts during the debates may not have necessarily reflected their own personal opinion.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/s12967-021-02808-3DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8028182PMC
April 2021

Sustainable responses in metastatic melanoma patients with and without brain metastases after elective discontinuation of anti-PD1-based immunotherapy due to complete response.

Eur J Cancer 2021 May 3;149:37-48. Epub 2021 Apr 3.

Department of Dermatology, University Hospital Zurich, Zurich, Switzerland.

Background: Anti-PD1-based immunotherapy is currently used in most patients with advanced melanoma. Despite the remarkable data regarding overall survival, the optimal treatment duration is still unknown.

Methods: We evaluated the outcome of 125 patients with advanced melanoma with and without brain metastases (MBM), treated either with anti-PD1 monotherapy (N = 97) or combined with anti-CTLA4 (N = 28) after elective treatment discontinuation due to complete response (CR) (group A, N = 86), or treatment-limiting toxicity (N = 33) and investigator's decision (ID, N = 6) (group B) with subsequent CR.

Results: For group A, median duration of treatment (mDoT) was 22 months (range 5-49) and median time to CR 9 months (range 2-47). Accordingly, mDoT for group B was 3 months (range 0-36) and median time to CR 7 months (range 1-32). Seven patients from group A and three from group B experienced disease recurrence. Off-treatment survival was not reached. Median off-treatment response time (mOTRt) was 19 months (range 0-42) and 25 months (range 0-66), respectively. For MBM, mOTRt was 17 months (range 7-41) and 28 months (range 9-39), respectively. After a median follow-up of 38 months (range 9-70), seven (5.6%) patients had deceased, one (0.8%) due to melanoma.

Conclusions: Treatment discontinuation is feasible also in patients with MBM. Efficacy outcomes seemed to be similar in both groups of patients who achieved CR, regardless of reason for discontinuation. In patients who experienced disease relapse, treatment re-challenge with anti-PD1 resulted in subsequent renewed response.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ejca.2021.02.037DOI Listing
May 2021

Outcome of melanoma patients with elevated LDH treated with first-line targeted therapy or PD-1-based immune checkpoint inhibition.

Eur J Cancer 2021 May 15;148:61-75. Epub 2021 Mar 15.

Department of Dermatology, University Hospital Regensburg, Regensburg, Germany.

Background: Elevated lactate dehydrogenase (LDH) is a known predictive and prognostic factor for a poor outcome in patients with metastatic melanoma. It is unclear whether first-line targeted therapy (TT) or immune checkpoint inhibition (ICI) is more beneficial in melanoma patients with elevated LDH because prospective studies in this area are lacking.

Methods: This multicentre retrospective cohort study was conducted at 25 melanoma centres worldwide to analyse progression-free survival (PFS) and overall survival (OS) among melanoma patients with elevated LDH. The role of confounders was addressed by using inverse probability of treatment weighting.

Results: Among 173 BRAFV600-mutant patients, PFS at 12 months in the TT group was 22% compared with 52% in the combined anti-PD-1 and anti-CTLA-4 group (HR 0.6, 95% CI 0.4-1.0, p = 0.07) and 18% in the anti-PD-1 monotherapy group (HR 1.8, 95% CI 1.2-2.8, p = 0.003). Twelve months' OS was 48% in the TT group compared with 83% in the combined anti-PD-1 and anti-CTLA-4 group (HR 0.5, 95% CI 0.3-1.0, p = 0.03) and 50% in the anti-PD-1 monotherapy group (HR 1.2, 95% CI 0.8-2.0, p = 0.37). The ORR in the TT group was 63%, compared with 55% and 20% in the combined anti-PD-1 and anti-CTLA-4 and anti-PD-1 monotherapy group, respectively. Among 314 patients receiving ICI first-line, PFS at 12 months was 33% in the anti-PD-1 group versus 38% in the combined anti-PD-1 and anti-CTLA-4 group (HR 0.8, 95% CI 0.6-1.0; p = 0.07). OS at 12 months was 54% in the anti-PD-1 group versus 66% in the combined ICI group (HR 0.7, 95% CI 0.5-1.0; p = 0.03). The ORR was 30% in the anti-PD-1 monotherapy group and 43% in the combined anti-PD-1 and anti-CTLA-4 group. Results from multivariate analysis confirmed the absence of qualitative confounding.

Conclusions: Among BRAF-mutant patients with elevated LDH, combined anti-PD-1 and anti-CTLA-4 blockade seems to be associated with prolonged OS compared with first-line TT. Among patients receiving ICI as a first-line treatment, OS appears to be longer for the combination of anti-PD-1 and anti-CTLA-4 than for anti-PD-1 alone.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ejca.2021.01.034DOI Listing
May 2021

Integrated Genomics Identifies miR-181/TFAM Pathway as a Critical Driver of Drug Resistance in Melanoma.

Int J Mol Sci 2021 Feb 11;22(4). Epub 2021 Feb 11.

TIGEM, Telethon Institute of Genetics and Medicine, 80078 Naples, Italy.

MicroRNAs (miRNAs) are attractive therapeutic targets and promising candidates as molecular biomarkers for various therapy-resistant tumors. However, the association between miRNAs and drug resistance in melanoma remains to be elucidated. We used an integrative genomic analysis to comprehensively study the miRNA expression profiles of drug-resistant melanoma patients and cell lines. MicroRNA-181a and -181b (miR181a/b) were identified as the most significantly down-regulated miRNAs in resistant melanoma patients and cell lines. Re-establishment of miR-181a/b expression reverses the resistance of melanoma cells to the BRAF inhibitor dabrafenib. Introduction of miR-181 mimics markedly decreases the expression of TFAM in A375 melanoma cells resistant to BRAF inhibitors. Furthermore, melanoma growth was inhibited in A375 and M14 resistant melanoma cells transfected with miR-181a/b mimics, while miR-181a/b depletion enhanced resistance in sensitive cell lines. Collectively, our study demonstrated that miR-181a/b could reverse the resistance to BRAF inhibitors in dabrafenib resistant melanoma cell lines. In addition, miR-181a and -181b are strongly down-regulated in tumor samples from patients before and after the development of resistance to targeted therapies. Finally, melanoma tissues with high miR-181a and -181b expression presented favorable outcomes in terms of Progression Free Survival, suggesting that miR-181 is a clinically relevant candidate for therapeutic development or biomarker-based therapy selection.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3390/ijms22041801DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7918089PMC
February 2021

The efficacy of immunotherapy for in-transit metastases of melanoma: an analysis of randomized controlled trials.

Melanoma Res 2021 04;31(2):181-185

Department of Surgical Oncology, Netherlands Cancer Institute - Antoni van Leeuwenhoek, Amsterdam, The Netherlands.

Nearly 10% of patients with high-risk early-stage melanoma will develop satellite or in-transit metastases (ITM), classified as stage III disease similar to lymph node metastases. The pivotal registration trials of the CTLA-4 antibody ipilimumab, and the PD-1 antibodies nivolumab and pembrolizumab, also included patients with unresectable stage III disease. However, there has been no analysis of patients with ITM, and anecdotal retrospective small series have indicated a potential lesser effect. This study aimed to identify patients with unresectable ITM within the randomized trials, and to determine response, progression-free survival and overall survival. The pivotal phase III randomized intervention trials that included melanoma patients with ITM, with or without nodal metastasis, and were treated with ipilimumab, nivolumab or pembrolizumab was identified. The datasets from each trial were then searched to identify the specific details of the investigated patient population for a pooled analysis. The primary endpoint was complete response rate. Seven trials that included stage III patients, and with accessible datasets, were identified. There was a total of 4711 patients, however, no patients with ITM could be identified, as this data was not captured by the case report forms. Evidence from prospective clinical trials on the use of immunotherapy in patients with ITM is lacking. We recommend pooling data from multiple institutions to examine efficacy of available drug therapies in this patient population, but more importantly, prospective clinical trials of locoregional treatments with or without systemic drug therapies are required.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1097/CMR.0000000000000719DOI Listing
April 2021

Pathological response and survival with neoadjuvant therapy in melanoma: a pooled analysis from the International Neoadjuvant Melanoma Consortium (INMC).

Nat Med 2021 02 8;27(2):301-309. Epub 2021 Feb 8.

Melanoma Institute Australia, The University of Sydney, Sydney, Australia.

The association among pathological response, recurrence-free survival (RFS) and overall survival (OS) with neoadjuvant therapy in melanoma remains unclear. In this study, we pooled data from six clinical trials of anti-PD-1-based immunotherapy or BRAF/MEK targeted therapy. In total, 192 patients were included; 141 received immunotherapy (104, combination of ipilimumab and nivolumab; 37, anti-PD-1 monotherapy), and 51 received targeted therapy. A pathological complete response (pCR) occurred in 40% of patients: 47% with targeted therapy and 33% with immunotherapy (43% combination and 20% monotherapy). pCR correlated with improved RFS (pCR 2-year 89% versus no pCR 50%, P < 0.001) and OS (pCR 2-year OS 95% versus no pCR 83%, P = 0.027). In patients with pCR, near pCR or partial pathological response with immunotherapy, very few relapses were seen (2-year RFS 96%), and, at this writing, no patient has died from melanoma, whereas, even with pCR from targeted therapy, the 2-year RFS was only 79%, and OS was only 91%. Pathological response should be an early surrogate endpoint for clinical trials and a new benchmark for development and approval in melanoma.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41591-020-01188-3DOI Listing
February 2021

No Impact of NRAS Mutation on Features of Primary and Metastatic Melanoma or on Outcomes of Checkpoint Inhibitor Immunotherapy: An Italian Melanoma Intergroup (IMI) Study.

Cancers (Basel) 2021 Jan 26;13(3). Epub 2021 Jan 26.

Rare Tumors and Melanoma Unit, IRCCS Istituto Tumori "Giovanni Paolo II", 70124 Bari, Italy.

Aims: It is debated whether the NRAS-mutant melanoma is more aggressive than NRAS wildtype. It is equally controversial whether NRAS-mutant metastatic melanoma (MM) is more responsive to checkpoint inhibitor immunotherapy (CII). 331 patients treated with CII as first-line were retrospectively recruited: 162 NRAS-mutant/BRAF wild-type (mut/wt) and 169 wt/wt. We compared the two cohorts regarding the characteristics of primary and metastatic disease, disease-free interval (DFI) and outcome to CII. No substantial differences were observed between the two groups at melanoma onset, except for a more frequent ulceration in the wt/wt group ( = 0.03). Also, the DFI was very similar in the two cohorts. In advanced disease, we only found lung and brain progression more frequent in the wt/wt group. Regarding the outcomes to CII, no significant differences were reported in overall response rate (ORR), disease control rate (DCR), progression free survival (PFS) or overall survival (OS) (42% versus 37%, 60% versus 59%, 12 (95% CI, 7-18) versus 9 months (95% CI, 6-16) and 32 (95% CI, 23-49) versus 27 months (95% CI, 16-35), respectively). Irrespectively of mutational status, a longer OS was significantly associated with normal LDH, <3 metastatic sites, lower white blood cell and platelet count, lower neutrophil-to-lymphocyte (N/L) ratio. Our data do not show increased aggressiveness and higher responsiveness to CII in NRAS-mutant MM.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3390/cancers13030475DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7865301PMC
January 2021

Reply to E. Hindié.

J Clin Oncol 2021 03 25;39(8):944-946. Epub 2021 Jan 25.

Alexander M. M. Eggermont, MD, PhD, Princess Máxima Center, Utrecht, the Netherlands; Christian U. Blank, MD, PhD, The Netherlands Cancer Institute-Antoni van Leeuwenhoek, Amsterdam, the Netherlands; Mario Mandala, MD, Azienda Ospedaliera Papa Giovanni XXIII, Bergamo, Italy; Georgina V. Long, BSc, MBBS, Melanoma Institute Australia, The University of Sydney, and Mater and Royal North Shore Hospitals, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia; Victoria G. Atkinson, MBBS, Princess Alexandra Hospital, Brisbane, Queensland, Australia; St 00B4ephane Dalle, MD, PhD, Hospices Civils de Lyon Cancer Institute, Lyon, France; Andrew M. Haydon, MBBS, PhD, Alfred Hospital, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia; Andrey Meshcheryakov, MD, PhD, N.N. Blokhin Cancer Research Center, Moscow, Russian Federation; Adnan Khattak, MD, Fiona Stanley Hospital and Edith Cowan University, Perth, Western Australia, Australia; Matteo S. Carlino, BMedSc, MBBS, Westmead and Blacktown Hospitals, Melanoma Institute Australia, and The University of Sydney, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia; Shahneen Sandhu, MD, Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia; James Larkin, PhD, Royal Marsden Hospital, London, United Kingdom; Susana Puig, MD, PhD, Hospital Clinic Universitari de Barcelona, Barcelona, Spain; Paolo A. Ascierto, MD, Istituto Nazionale Tumori IRCCS "Fondazione G. Pascale," Naples, Italy; Piotr Rutkowski, MD, PhD, Maria Skłodowska-Curie National Research Institute of Oncology, Warsaw, Poland; Dirk Schadendorf, MD, PhD, University Hospital Essen, Essen, Germany; German Cancer Consortium, Heidelberg, Germany; Rutger Koornstra, MD, PhD, Radboud University Medical Center Nijmegen, Nijmegen, the Netherlands; Leonel Hernandez-Aya, MD, Washington University School of Medicine, St Louis, MO; Anna Maria Di Giacomo, MD, Center for Immuno-Oncology, University Hospital of Siena, Siena, Italy; Alfonsus J. M. van den Eertwegh, MD, PhD, Amsterdam University Medical Center, location VUMC, Amsterdam, the Netherlands; Jean-Jacques Grob, MD, Aix Marseille University, Hôpital de la Timone, Marseille, France; Ralf Gutzmer, MD, Skin Cancer Center, Hannover Medical School, Hanover, Germany; Rahima Jamal, MD, BSc, Centre Hospitalier de l'Université de Montreal (CHUM), Centre de recherche du CHUM, Montreal, Quebec, Canada; Paul C. Lorigan, MD, Christie NHS Foundation Trust, Manchester, United Kingdom; Alexander C. J. van Akkooi, MD, PhD, The Netherlands Cancer Institute-Antoni van Leeuwenhoek, Amsterdam, the Netherlands; Clemens Krepler, MD, Merck & Co, Inc, Kenilworth, NJ; Nageatte Ibrahim, MD, Merck & Co, Inc, Kenilworth, NJ; Sandrine Marreaud, MD, European Organisation for Research and Treatment of Cancer Headquarters, Brussels, Belgium; Michal Kicinski, PhD, European Organisation for Research and Treatment of Cancer Headquarters, Brussels, Belgium; Stefan Suciu, PhD, European Organisation for Research and Treatment of Cancer Headquarters, Brussels, Belgium; and Caroline Robert, MD, PhD, Gustave Roussy and Paris-Saclay University, Villejuif, France.

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http://dx.doi.org/10.1200/JCO.20.03463DOI Listing
March 2021

New-generation anticancer drugs and medication-related osteonecrosis of the jaw (MRONJ): Late onset 3 years after ipilimumab endovenous administration with a possible role of target therapy.

Clin Case Rep 2021 Jan 2;9(1):61-66. Epub 2020 Dec 2.

Melanoma, Oncological Immunotherapy and Innovative Therapies Department INT - IRCCS "Fondazione G. Pascale" Naples Italy.

Association of immunotherapy and/or chemotherapy and/or targeted therapy, in sequence or as single therapies, may induce osteonecrosis of the jaw. Multidisciplinary team management of these patients should be provided.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/ccr3.3418DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7813008PMC
January 2021
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