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Posted by on Jan 15, 2018 in Melanoma | 0 comments

In a nutshell

This study investigated the effectiveness of Talimogene Laherparepvec (T-VEC) combined with ipilimumab (Yervoy) and ipilimumab alone to treat patients with melanoma. Researchers suggested that the combined treatment was associated with better outcomes. 

Some background

Newer therapies, such as immunotherapy have changed cancer treatment. Prior studies revealed that the immunotherapy drug ipilimumab (helps the immune system to attack and kill cancer cells) is associated with better outcomes in the treatment of melanoma. T-VEC is a virus that infects and kills cancer cells. It is injected directly into the tumor. It is not clear if combining ipilimumab with T-VEC (works with the immune system to combat cancer cells) increases the treatment response. 

Methods & findings

This study investigated the effectiveness of the combined treatment T-VEC and ipilimumab compared to ipilimumab alone to treat stage 3 and 4 melanoma.

198 patients were randomly assigned to receive the combined treatment (98; group A) or ipilimumab (100; group B) alone.

39% of the patients in group A responded to the treatment and 18% in group B. Response to the treatment was not only seen in the skin lesions but also in organ lesions (cancer that has spread): 52% of the patients in group A had a response in organ lesions, compared to 23% of group B. Patients in group A had a 17 higher chance of a longer time without the tumor growing or spreading compared to group B.

Common side effects were fatigue (59% in group A and 42% in group B), chills (53% in group A and 3% in group B) and diarrhea (42% in group A and 35% in group B). Severe side effects were seen in 45% of the patients from group A and in 35% from group B.     

The bottom line

This study suggested that tumor response was increased in patients treated with the combined treatment T-VEC plus ipilimumab, with manageable side effects.

The fine print

This study was funded by Amgen Inc., the producer of T-VEC. 

Published By :

Journal of clinical oncology

Date :

Oct 05, 2017

Original Title :

Randomized, Open-Label Phase II Study Evaluating the Efficacy and Safety of Talimogene Laherparepvec in Combination With Ipilimumab Versus Ipilimumab Alone in Patients With Advanced, Unresectable Melanoma.

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