JOURNAL ARTICLE

Safety, efficacy, and biomarkers of nivolumab with vaccine in ipilimumab-refractory or -naive melanoma

Jeffrey S Weber, Ragini Reiney Kudchadkar, Bin Yu, Donna Gallenstein, Christine E Horak, H David Inzunza, Xiuhua Zhao, Alberto J Martinez, Wenshi Wang, Geoffrey Gibney, Jodi Kroeger, Cabell Eysmans, Amod A Sarnaik, Y Ann Chen
Journal of Clinical Oncology: Official Journal of the American Society of Clinical Oncology 2013 December 1, 31 (34): 4311-8
24145345

PURPOSE: Nivolumab, a human immunoglobulin G4-blocking antibody against the T-cell programmed death-1 checkpoint protein, has activity against metastatic melanoma. Its safety, clinical efficacy, and correlative biomarkers were assessed with or without a peptide vaccine in ipilimumab-refractory and -naive melanoma.

PATIENTS AND METHODS: In this phase I study, 90 patients with unresectable stage III or IV melanoma who were ipilimumab naive and had experienced progression after at least one prior therapy (cohorts 1 to 3, 34 patients) or experienced progression after prior ipilimumab (cohorts 4 to 6, 56 patients) received nivolumab at 1, 3, or 10 mg/kg every 2 weeks for 24 weeks, then every 12 weeks for up to 2 years, with or without a multipeptide vaccine.

RESULTS: Nivolumab with vaccine was well tolerated and safe at all doses. The RECIST 1.1 response rate for both ipilimumab-refractory and -naive patients was 25%. Median duration of response was not reached at a median of 8.1 months of follow-up. High pretreatment NY-ESO-1 and MART-1-specific CD8(+) T cells were associated with progression of disease. At week 12, increased peripheral-blood T regulatory cells and decreased antigen-specific T cells were associated with progression. PD-L1 tumor staining was associated with responses to nivolumab, but negative staining did not rule out a response. Patients who experienced progression after nivolumab could respond to ipilimumab.

CONCLUSION: In patients with ipilimumab-refractory or -naive melanoma, nivolumab at 3 mg/kg with or without peptide vaccine was well tolerated and induced responses lasting up to 140 weeks. Responses to nivolumab in ipilimumab-refractory patients or to ipilimumab in nivolumab-refractory patients support combination or sequencing of nivolumab and ipilimumab.

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