Combination Treatment Improves Survival for Advanced Melanoma

June 21, 2017 by Elisa Becze BA, ELS, Editor

A combination of nivolumab and ipilimumab improved overall survival when compared to either drug alone, according to results from a recent study reported at the American Association for Cancer Research 2017 annual meeting (!/4292/presentation/12341).

The phase III study involved 945 patients with advanced melanoma who had not received prior treatment for advanced disease. They were randomly assigned 1:1:1 to nivolumab + ipilimumb, nivolumab + placebo, or ipilimumab + placebo. Two-year overall survival was highest among patients receiving the combination treatment (64%), followed by nivolumab (59%) and ipilimumab (45%). In descriptive analyses, patients receiving the combination treatment had a 12% lower risk of death.

Frequency of grade 3 or 4 adverse events was higher with the combination treatment than with patients receiving nivolumab or ipilimumab with placebo (58%, 21%, and 28%, respectively). The most common side effects in the combination group were diarrhea/colitis and hepatitis and were generally manageable.

The researchers noted that the study is still ongoing and that some endpoints had not yet been reached. Additional analyses are needed.

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