ESMO 2019 Congress, Sept. 27 – Oct. 1, Barcelona, Spain

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Barcelona, Spain, 28 September 2019 – One in two patients with metastatic melanoma is alive with combination immunotherapy, according to late breaking results of the CheckMate 067 trial presented at the ESMO Congress 2019 in Barcelona, Spain. (1,2)

“In the past, metastatic melanoma was regarded as untreatable,” said study author Prof James Larkin, Royal Marsden NHS Foundation Trust, London, UK. “Oncologists considered melanoma different to other cancers – it couldn’t be treated once it had spread. Traditional chemotherapy never really worked well. This treatment transforms the disease to one with an approximately 50% cure rate. The priority now is to find ways to cure the remaining 50%.”

The five-year analysis of CheckMate 067 is the longest phase 3 follow-up for checkpoint inhibitor combination therapy. A total of 945 patients with previously untreated stage III or IV melanoma were randomly allocated in a 1:1:1 ratio to 1) nivolumab plus ipilimumab; 2) nivolumab plus placebo; or 3) ipilimumab plus placebo until progression or unacceptable toxicity. Each nivolumab arm was compared to ipilimumab monotherapy.

The five-year overall survival rates were 52% for nivolumab plus ipilimumab, 44% for nivolumab, and 26% for ipilimumab. “This is a major improvement on what we have seen historically,” said Larkin. “Ten years ago, the five-year survival for melanoma was around 5%. With ipilimumab monotherapy, which has been used for around ten years, around 20% of patients are long-term survivors and the remainder live for just six to nine months.”

The median time from randomisation to subsequent therapy was eight months with ipilimumab monotherapy, 25.2 months with nivolumab monotherapy, and as yet unreached with combination immunotherapy. The proportion of patients alive and free from subsequent therapy was 45% with ipilimumab, 58% with nivolumab, and 74% with combination therapy. Quality of life was preserved in both nivolumab arms.

“We know that the two immunotherapy drugs together can have significant side-effects and some patients even need to discontinue treatment,” said Larkin. “But for those patients who did stop treatment because of side-effects, it did not impair the success of the therapy. In other words, the outcome for people who stop treatment because of side-effects seems to be just as good as for people who didn’t stop treatment for side-effects. One of the key points about immunotherapies is that you can re-educate the immune system even with a short duration of treatment. This is in contrast to other treatments like chemotherapy which require a full course to be effective.”

Larkin said there is currently no method to predict which patients are most likely to benefit from combination immunotherapy. “The decision on which treatments to give is a matter for doctors to discuss with individual patients and their families,” he said. “The two drugs together definitely have a role in treating metastatic melanoma and will be the choice for some patients. For others, the decision may be to give the drugs in sequence.”

Commenting on the results, Dr Teresa Amaral, Centre for Dermato-oncology, Eberhard Karls University Tuebingen, Germany, said: “With this long follow-up, we can now say with a degree of certainty that PD-1 based therapy is an option for patients with advanced melanoma regardless of PD-L1 status and BRAF mutation.”

Amaral noted that the difference in overall survival rates between the nivolumab arms has steadily increased with each year of follow-up and is now 8%. For the large subgroup of patients with a BRAF mutation the five-year overall survival rates are 30% with ipilimumab, 46% with nivolumab, and 60% with nivolumab plus ipilimumab. “When the BRAF mutation is present, clinicians need to decide whether individual patients are best served with immunotherapy or targeted therapy,” she said. “While this study was not powered to compare the nivolumab arms, the results suggest that if patients harbouring a BRAF mutation are to receive immunotherapy, they might derive greater benefit with combination immunotherapy. Caution is needed when comparing the results to other trials, but the five-year overall survival rate with combined targeted therapy in the COMBI-d and COMBI-v trials was 34%.” (3)

Previous reports showed that PD-1 monotherapy was less toxic than combination immunotherapy. In the current report, quality of life appeared similar in both nivolumab arms and patients receiving the combination were free from subsequent therapy for longer. “These aspects need to be discussed with patients when deciding which type of immunotherapy they should receive,” she said.

Regarding the next steps in this field, Amaral said: “Further research is needed to identify the patients who are resistant to immunotherapy and will not derive any benefit. This is important not only because of the toxicity related to the therapy but also for the most effective use of resources.”

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References

1 LBA68_PR ‘5-year survival outcomes of the CheckMate 067 phase 3 trial of nivolumab plus ipilimumab (NIVO+IPI) combination therapy in advanced melanoma’ will be presented by James M. Larkin during the Proffered Paper session on Saturday, 28 September, 08:30 to 10:15 (CEST) in the Cordoba Auditorium (Hall 7). Annals of Oncology, Volume 30, Supplement 5, October 2019

2 https://www.esmo.org/Conferences/ESMO-Congress-2019?hit=ehp

3 Robert C, Grob JJ, Stroyakovskiy D, et al. Five-Year Outcomes with Dabrafenib plus Trametinib in Metastatic Melanoma. N Engl J Med. 2019;381:626-636. doi: 10.1056/NEJMoa1904059.

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LBA68_PR – 5-year survival outcomes of the CheckMate 067 phase 3 trial of nivolumab plus ipilimumab (NIVO+IPI) combination therapy in advanced melanoma

J.M.G. Larkin1, V. Chiarion-Sileni2, R. Gonzalez3, J.J. Grob4, P. Rutkowski5, C. Lao6, C.L. Cowey7, D. Schadendorf8, J. Wagstaff9, R. Dummer10, P.F. Ferrucci11, M. Smylie12, D. Hogg13, A. Hill14, I. Marquez-Rodas15, J.B.A.G. Haanen16, J. Rizzo17, A. Balogh18, F.S. Hodi19, J. Wolchok20

1Medicine, Royal Marsden Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, London, United Kingdom, 2Head Of Melanoma And Esophageal Cancer Unit, Oncology Institute of Veneto IRCCS, Padua, Italy, 3Division Of Medical Oncology, University of Colorado Cancer Center, Aurora, United States of America, 4Hopital de la Timone, Marseille, France, 5Department Of Soft Tissue/bone Sarcoma And Melanoma, Maria Sklodowska Curie Institute – Oncology Centre (MSCI), Warsaw, Poland, 6Medical Oncology, Internal Medicine, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, United States of America,7, Texas Oncology – Baylor Sammons Cancer Center, Dallas, United States of America, 8Department Of Dermatology, University Hospital Essen, Essen, Germany and German Cancer Consortium, Heidelberg, Germany, 9Oncology Department, The College of Medicine, Swansea University, Swansea, United Kingdom, 10Dermatology, Universitatsspital Zurich, Zurich/Switzerland, 11Melanoma Medical Oncology, European Institute of Oncology IRCCS, Milan, Italy, 12Department Of Oncology, Cross Cancer Institute, Edmonton, Canada, 13Division Of Medical Oncology, Princess Margaret Cancer Center, Toronto, Canada, 14Department Of Medical Oncology, Tasman Oncology Research, Southport, Australia, 15Medical Oncology, Hospital General Universitario Gregorio Maranon, Madrid, Spain, 16Medical Oncology Department, Netherlands Cancer Institute/Antoni van Leeuwenhoek hospital (NKI-AVL), Amsterdam, Netherlands, 17Oncology Clinical Development, Bristol-Myers Squibb, Princeton, United States of America, 18Global Biometric Sciences, Bristol-Myers Squibb, Princeton, United States of America, 19Melanoma Disease Center, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, Boston, United States of America, 20Melanoma & Immunotherapeutics Service, Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center and Weill Cornell Medical College, New York, United States of America

Background: Results from CheckMate 067 have shown significant improvements in objective response, progression-free survival (PFS), and overall survival (OS) with NIVO+IPI and NIVO alone vs IPI in patients with advanced treatment-naive melanoma. Here we present 5-year outcomes from the study.

Methods: Eligible patients with previously untreated stage III or IV melanoma (N = 945) were randomly assigned 1:1:1 and stratified by programmed death ligand 1 (PD-L1) status, BRAF mutation status, and metastasis stage. Patients received NIVO 1 mg/kg + IPI 3 mg/kg for 4 doses Q3W followed by NIVO 3 mg/kg Q2W (n = 314), NIVO 3 mg/kg Q2W + placebo (n = 316), or IPI 3 mg/kg Q3W for 4 doses + placebo (n = 315) until progression or unacceptable toxicity. Co-primary endpoints were OS and PFS; the study was not powered to compare the NIVO-containing groups. Descriptive analyses were performed to evaluate efficacy between NIVO+IPI and NIVO, treatment-free status, and health-related quality of life (HRQoL).

Results: With a minimum follow-up of 60 months, the NIVO-containing arms continued to show improved OS, PFS, and response vs IPI (table). In addition, descriptive analyses showed longer OS with NIVO+IPI (median OS, > 60.0 mo [not reached]) than with NIVO alone (median OS, 36.9 mo), as well as a higher proportion of patients alive and treatment-free with the combination. No sustained deterioration of HRQoL (EQ-5D-3L utility index) was observed during treatment or following treatment discontinuation with NIVO or NIVO+IPI.

Conclusions: This 5-year analysis represents the longest phase 3 follow-up for checkpoint inhibitor combination therapy and demonstrates long-term survival with both NIVO-containing arms vs IPI. In descriptive analyses, NIVO+IPI was associated with improved survival and a higher likelihood of being alive and treatment-free compared with NIVO alone, both without loss of QoL.

Clinical trial identification: ClinicalTrials.gov, NCT01844505

Editorial acknowledgement: Writing and editorial assistance was provided by Melissa Kirk, PhD, and Michele Salernitano of StemScientific, an Ashfield Company.

Legal entity responsible for the study: Bristol-Myers Squibb

Funding: Bristol-Myers Squibb

Disclosure: J.M.G. Larkin: Honoraria (self), Advisory / Consultancy, Research grant / Funding (self): Achilles; Honoraria (self), Advisory / Consultancy: AstraZeneca; Honoraria (self), Advisory / Consultancy: Boston Biomedical; Honoraria (self), Advisory / Consultancy, Research grant / Funding (self): BMS; Honoraria (self), Advisory / Consultancy: Eisai; Honoraria (self), Advisory / Consultancy: EUSA Pharma; Honoraria (self), Advisory / Consultancy: GSK; Honoraria (self), Advisory / Consultancy: Ipsen; Honoraria (self), Advisory / Consultancy: Imugene; Honoraria (self), Advisory / Consultancy: Incyte; Honoraria (self), Advisory / Consultancy: iOnctura; Honoraria (self), Advisory / Consultancy: Kymab; Honoraria (self), Advisory / Consultancy: Merck Serono; Honoraria (self), Advisory / Consultancy, Research grant / Funding (self): MSD; Honoraria (self), Advisory / Consultancy, Research grant / Funding (self): Nektar; Honoraria (self), Advisory / Consultancy, Research grant / Funding (self): Novartis; Honoraria (self), Advisory / Consultancy: Pierre Fabre; Honoraria (self), Advisory / Consultancy, Research grant / Funding (self): Pfizer; Honoraria (self), Advisory / Consultancy, Research grant / Funding (self): Roche; Honoraria (self), Advisory / Consultancy: Secarna; Research grant / Funding (self): Aveo; Research grant / Funding (self): Covance; Honoraria (self), Advisory / Consultancy: Vitaccess.
V. Chiarion-Sileni: Advisory / Consultancy, Speaker Bureau / Expert testimony, Travel / Accommodation / Expenses: Bristol-Myers Squibb; Advisory / Consultancy, Speaker Bureau / Expert testimony, Travel / Accommodation / Expenses: MSD; Advisory / Consultancy, Speaker Bureau / Expert testimony, Travel / Accommodation / Expenses: Pierre Fabre; Advisory / Consultancy, Speaker Bureau / Expert testimony, Travel / Accommodation / Expenses: Novartis; Advisory / Consultancy, Speaker Bureau / Expert testimony, Travel / Accommodation / Expenses: Merck-Serono; Advisory / Consultancy, Speaker Bureau / Expert testimony, Travel / Accommodation / Expenses: Incyte.

R. Gonzalez: Honoraria (self), Research grant / Funding (self): Bristol-Myers Squibb; Honoraria (self), Research grant / Funding (self): Genentech/Roche; Honoraria (self), Research grant / Funding (self): Novartis; Honoraria (self), Research grant / Funding (self): GSK; Honoraria (self), Research grant / Funding (self): Array; Honoraria (self), Research grant / Funding (self): Amgen; Honoraria (self), Research grant / Funding (self): Incyte; Honoraria (self), Research grant / Funding (self): NewLink Genetics; Research grant / Funding (self): Merck; Research grant / Funding (self): Takeda; Research grant / Funding (self): Boston Biomedical; Research grant / Funding (self): Checkmate Pharmaceuticals; Research grant / Funding (self): Tesaro; Research grant / Funding (self): Syndax; Research grant / Funding (self): Nektar.

J.J. Grob: Travel / Accommodation / Expenses: Bristol-Myers Squibb; Travel / Accommodation / Expenses: MSD; Travel / Accommodation / Expenses: Roche/Genentech; Travel / Accommodation / Expenses: Novartis; Travel / Accommodation / Expenses: AMGEN; Travel / Accommodation / Expenses: Pierre Fabre; Travel / Accommodation / Expenses: Sanofi; Travel / Accommodation / Expenses: Sun Pharma.

P. Rutkowski: Honoraria (self), Research grant / Funding (self): Bristol-Myers Squibb; Honoraria (self): MSD; Honoraria (self): Roche; Honoraria (self): Novartis; Honoraria (self): Pierre Fabre; Honoraria (self): Eli Lilly; Honoraria (self): Pfizer; Honoraria (self): Blueprint Medicines .

C. Lao: Advisory / Consultancy, Research grant / Funding (self), Travel / Accommodation / Expenses: Bristol-Myers Squibb; Advisory / Consultancy, Research grant / Funding (self), Travel / Accommodation / Expenses: Genentech; Advisory / Consultancy, Research grant / Funding (self), Travel / Accommodation / Expenses: Merck; Advisory / Consultancy, Research grant / Funding (self), Travel / Accommodation / Expenses: Dynavax; Advisory / Consultancy, Research grant / Funding (self), Travel / Accommodation / Expenses: Novartis; Advisory / Consultancy, Research grant / Funding (self), Travel / Accommodation / Expenses: Immunocore.

D. Schadendorf: Honoraria (self): Roche/Genentech; Honoraria (self): Merck Serono; Honoraria (self): Amgen; Honoraria (self), Advisory / Consultancy, Speaker Bureau / Expert testimony, Research grant / Funding (self), Travel / Accommodation / Expenses: Novartis, Pfizer; Honoraria (self), Advisory / Consultancy, Speaker Bureau / Expert testimony, Research grant / Funding (self), Travel / Accommodation / Expenses: Bristol-Myers Squibb; Honoraria (self), Advisory / Consultancy, Speaker Bureau / Expert testimony, Research grant / Funding (self), Travel / Accommodation / Expenses: Merck Sharp & Dohme; Honoraria (self), Advisory / Consultancy, Speaker Bureau / Expert testimony, Research grant / Funding (self), Travel / Accommodation / Expenses: Immunocore, Philogen; Honoraria (self), Advisory / Consultancy, Speaker Bureau / Expert testimony, Research grant / Funding (self), Travel / Accommodation / Expenses: Incyte, Regeneron; Honoraria (self), Advisory / Consultancy, Speaker Bureau / Expert testimony, Research grant / Funding (self), Travel / Accommodation / Expenses: 4SC, Mologen; Honoraria (self), Advisory / Consultancy, Speaker Bureau / Expert testimony, Research grant / Funding (self), Travel / Accommodation / Expenses: Pierre Fabre; Honoraria (self), Advisory / Consultancy, Speaker Bureau / Expert testimony, Research grant / Funding (self), Travel / Accommodation / Expenses: Mologen; Honoraria (self), Advisory / Consultancy, Speaker Bureau / Expert testimony, Research grant / Funding (self), Travel / Accommodation / Expenses: Sanofi/Regeneron; Honoraria (self), Advisory / Consultancy, Speaker Bureau / Expert testimony, Research grant / Funding (self), Travel / Accommodation / Expenses: Roche; Honoraria (self), Advisory / Consultancy, Speaker Bureau / Expert testimony, Research grant / Funding (self), Travel / Accommodation / Expenses: Sysmex; Honoraria (self), Advisory / Consultancy, Speaker Bureau / Expert testimony, Research grant / Funding (self), Travel / Accommodation / Expenses: Grunenthal Group; Honoraria (self), Advisory / Consultancy, Speaker Bureau / Expert testimony, Research grant / Funding (self), Travel / Accommodation / Expenses: Agenus; Honoraria (self), Advisory / Consultancy, Speaker Bureau / Expert testimony, Research grant / Funding (self), Travel / Accommodation / Expenses: Array; Honoraria (self), Advisory / Consultancy, Speaker Bureau / Expert testimony, Research grant / Funding (self), Travel / Accommodation / Expenses: BioPharma; Honoraria (self), Advisory / Consultancy, Speaker Bureau / Expert testimony, Research grant / Funding (self), Travel / Accommodation / Expenses: AstraZeneca; Honoraria (self), Advisory / Consultancy, Speaker Bureau / Expert testimony, Research grant / Funding (self), Travel / Accommodation / Expenses: LEO Pharma.

J. Wagstaff: Honoraria (self): Bristol Myers Squib .

R. Dummer: Advisory / Consultancy: Novartis; Advisory / Consultancy: MSD; Advisory / Consultancy: Bristol-Myers Squibb; Advisory / Consultancy: Roche; Advisory / Consultancy: Amgen; Advisory / Consultancy: Takeda; Advisory / Consultancy: Pierre Fabre; Advisory / Consultancy: Sun Pharma; Advisory / Consultancy: Sanofi; Honoraria (self): Amgen; Honoraria (self): Bristol-Myers Squibb; Honoraria (self): MSD; Honoraria (self): Novartis; Honoraria (self): Pierre Fabre; Honoraria (self): Roche; Honoraria (self): Sun Pharma; Honoraria (self): Takeda; Honoraria (self): Sanofi.

P.F. Ferrucci: Honoraria (self), Research grant / Funding (self): Bristol-Myers Squibb; Honoraria (self): MSD; Honoraria (self): Roche; Honoraria (self): Novartis; Honoraria (self): Pierre Fabre.

M. Smylie: Honoraria (self): Bristol-Myers Squibb; Honoraria (self): Merck; Honoraria (self): Sanofi Genzyme; Honoraria (self): Novartis.

D. Hogg: Honoraria (self): Bristol-Myers Squibb; Honoraria (self), Research grant / Funding (self): EMD Sereno; Honoraria (self): Novartis; Honoraria (self): Roche; Honoraria (self): Merck.

I. Marquez-Rodas: Honoraria (self), Research grant / Funding (self), Research grant / Funding (institution): Bristol-Myers Squibb; Honoraria (self), Research grant / Funding (self): Novartis; Honoraria (self), Research grant / Funding (self): Roche; Honoraria (self), Research grant / Funding (self): BIONCOTECH; Honoraria (self), Research grant / Funding (self): AMGEN; Honoraria (self), Research grant / Funding (self): Incyte; Honoraria (self): Sanofi ; Honoraria (self): Regeneron.

J.B.A.G. Haanen: Research grant / Funding (self): Bristol-Myers Squibb; Research grant / Funding (self): Novartis; Research grant / Funding (self): MSD; Research grant / Funding (self): Neon Therapeutics .

J. Rizzo: Honoraria (self), Full / Part-time employment: Bristol-Myers Squibb.

A. Balogh: Shareholder / Stockholder / Stock options, Full / Part-time employment: Bristol-Myers Squibb.

F..S. Hodi: Honoraria (self), Advisory / Consultancy, Research grant / Funding (self), Research grant / Funding (institution): Bristol-Myers Squibb; Honoraria (self): Merck, EMD Serono, Takeda, Surface, ; Honoraria (self): Genentech/Roche, Compass Therapeutics,; Honoraria (self): Apricity, Bayer, Aduro, Partners Therapeutics; Honoraria (self): Sanofi, Pfizer, Pionyr, Verastem; Honoraria (self): Rheos, Kairos, Bicara; Honoraria (self), Research grant / Funding (self): Novartis; Advisory / Consultancy, Shareholder / Stockholder / Stock options: Torque, 7 Hills Pharma, Psioxus Therapeutics ; Licensing / Royalties: patent Methods for Treating MICA-Related Disorders (#20100111973) with royalties paid; a patent Tumor Antigens and Uses Thereof (#7250291) issued; a patent Angiopoiten-2 Biomarkers Predictive of Anti-Immune Checkpoint Response (#20170248603) pending; a .

J. Wolchok: Honoraria (self), Research grant / Funding (self): Bristol-Myers Squibb ; Honoraria (self): Advaxis, Elucida, Amgen, Eli Lilly; Honoraria (self): Apricity, F Star, Array BioPharma, Imvaq; Honoraria (self): Ascentage, Janssen, Astellas, Kleo; Honoraria (self): Bayer, Merck, Adaptive Biotech, Neon Therapeutics; Honoraria (self): Beigene, ONO, Celgene, Polaris Pharma; Honoraria (self): Chugai, Polynoma, PsiOxus, Puretech; Honoraria (self): Recepta, Sellas Life Sciences; Honoraria (self): Serametrix, Surface, Syndax; Advisory / Consultancy, Shareholder / Stockholder / Stock options: Potenza Therapeutics, Tizona Pharma; Honoraria (self), Research grant / Funding (self): Genentech, MedImmune; Advisory / Consultancy, Shareholder / Stockholder / Stock options: Trieza, Linneaus .

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