Safety, correlative markers, and clinical results of adjuvant nivolumab in combination with vaccine in resected high-risk metastatic melanoma

Geoffrey T Gibney, Ragini R Kudchadkar, Ronald C DeConti, Melissa S Thebeau, Maria P Czupryn, Leticia Tetteh, Cabell Eysmans, Allison Richards, Michael J Schell, Kate J Fisher, Christine E Horak, H David Inzunza, Bin Yu, Alberto J Martinez, Ibrahim Younos, Jeffrey S Weber
Clinical Cancer Research: An Official Journal of the American Association for Cancer Research 2015 February 15, 21 (4): 712-20

PURPOSE: The anti-programmed death-1 (PD-1) antibody nivolumab (BMS-936558) has clinical activity in patients with metastatic melanoma. Nivolumab plus vaccine was investigated as adjuvant therapy in resected stage IIIC and IV melanoma patients.

EXPERIMENTAL DESIGN: HLA-A*0201 positive patients with HMB-45, NY-ESO-1, and/or MART-1 positive resected tumors received nivolumab (1 mg/kg, 3 mg/kg, or 10 mg/kg i.v.) with a multi-peptide vaccine (gp100, MART-1, and NY-ESO-1 with Montanide ISA 51 VG) every 2 weeks for 12 doses followed by nivolumab maintenance every 12 weeks for 8 doses. Primary objective was safety and determination of a maximum tolerated dose (MTD). Secondary objectives included relapse-free survival (RFS), overall survival (OS), and immunologic correlative studies.

RESULTS: Thirty-three patients were enrolled. Median age was 47 years; 55% were male. Two patients had stage IIIC disease; 31 patients had stage IV disease. Median follow-up was 32.1 months. MTD was not reached. Most common related adverse events (>40%) were vaccine injection site reaction, fatigue, rash, pruritus, nausea, and arthralgias. Five related grade 3 adverse events [hypokalemia (1), rash (1), enteritis (1), and colitis (2)] were observed. Ten of 33 patients relapsed. Estimated median RFS was 47.1 months; median OS was not reached. Increases in CTLA-4(+)/CD4(+), CD25(+)Treg/CD4(+), and tetramer specific CD8(+) T-cell populations were observed with treatment (P < 0.05). Trends for lower baseline myeloid-derived suppressor cell and CD25(+)Treg/CD4(+) populations were seen in nonrelapsing patients; PD-L1 tumor status was not significantly associated with RFS.

CONCLUSIONS: Nivolumab with vaccine is well tolerated as adjuvant therapy and demonstrates immunologic activity with promising survival in high-risk resected melanoma, justifying further study.

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