In a nutshell
This article investigated the safety and effectiveness of epacadostat and pembrolizumab (Keytruda) for patients with advanced melanoma. The authors concluded that this therapy is safe and has encouraging effectiveness in these patients.
The immune system normally works to detect abnormal or cancerous cells in the body and destroy them. However, this is not always possible as certain tumors can use a certain enzyme (IDO1) to hide from the immune system. This then allows the cancer to develop and grow.
Epacadostat works to block this enzyme. It helps the immune system detect and kill the cancer cells. Pembrolizumab is a type of immunotherapy which works with the immune system to help fight certain cancers. The safety and effectiveness of the combination of epacadostat and pembrolizumab for the treatment of melanoma remain under investigation.
Methods & findings
The study involved 62 patients with solid tumors. 22 patients had advanced melanoma. Patients received doses of epacadostat twice a day plus a dose of pembrolizumab every three weeks.
12 (55%) patients with melanoma responded to treatment. Of these, 5 had a complete response (disappearance of all signs of cancer).
24% of all patients reported severe to life-threatening side effects. These include rash and an increase of digestive enzymes.
The bottom line
The authors concluded that epacadostat and pembrolizumab combination treatment was well tolerated and has promising effectiveness for the treatment of advanced melanoma.
The fine print
This was only a phase I/II clinical trial. Further, larger studies are needed to determine the safety and effectiveness of this treatment.
Published By :
Journal of clinical oncology
Sep 28, 2018