In a nutshell
This study investigated the effectiveness and safety of the combined treatment with ipilimumab and pembrolizumab in advanced melanoma patients. Researchers suggested that the combined treatment improves cancer outcomes with manageable side effects.
The use of immunotherapy, such as nivolumab (Opdivo), pembrolizumab (Keytruda) or ipilimumab (Yervoy), to treat melanoma is rapidly increasing. These treatments help the immune system to attack and kill cancer cells. However, this therapy might be associated with increased negative side effects. Prior studies showed that a combination of nivolumab plus ipilimumab improved cancer outcomes but increased side effects.
The effectiveness and safety of standard doses of pembrolizumab plus reduced doses of ipilimumab are not clear.
Methods & findings
This study investigated the effectiveness and side effects associated with pembrolizumab plus ipilimumab.
This study included 153 patients. Patients were treated with pembrolizumab (2mg/kg) plus ipilimumab (1mg/kg) every 3 weeks for four doses. This was followed by pembrolizumab (2mg/kg) every 3 weeks for up to 2 years or disease progression. Patients were followed for an average of 17 months.
61% of patients responded to treatment. One-year overall survival (time from treatment until death from any cause) was 89%. 69% of patients were progression free at 1 year.
Moderate side effects occurred 45% of the patients. No treatment-related deaths occurred. The most common immune side effects were hypothyroidism (low activity of the thyroid gland; 16%) and hyperthyroidism (overactivity of the thyroid gland; 11%).
The bottom line
This study suggested that the combined treatment with ipilimumab plus pembrolizumab improves melanoma outcomes with manageable side effects.
Published By :
The Lancet. Oncology
Jul 17, 2017