Patients with uveal melanoma who were treated with tebentafusp, an investigational immunotherapy, lived a median 5.7 months longer than those in comparison groups, researchers reported in study findings presented at the American Association for Cancer Research 2021 annual meeting.

Researchers randomized 378 patients with previously untreated metastatic uveal melanoma to receive treatment with tebentafusp or a physician-selected comparison treatment (i.e., pembrolizumab, ipilimumab, or dacarbazine). After preliminary analysis, the researchers found that the median overall survival was 21.7 months in the tebentafusp group versus 16 months for the comparison group. 

The most common adverse events were skin-related or cytokine-mediated, including pyrexia, pruritus, and rash, but they decreased in frequency and severity after the first three to four doses and were generally manageable with standard interventions. Less than 4% of patients chose to discontinue tebentafusp treatment because of adverse events.  

“This is the first clinical trial to report an improvement in overall survival for patients with metastatic uveal melanoma,” the researchers said. The drug’s manufacturer sponsored the trial with the intent to apply for U.S. Food and Drug Administration approval later in 2021.