June 2014 Edition Vol.11, Issue 6
The primary investigator, Antoni Ribas, MD, PhD, David Geffen School of Medicine, stated, “These are remarkable response rates for an antibody that hits the immune system, and not the tumor.” Regarding overall survival, he said, “Until quite recently late-stage melanoma had a survival rate of 6 to 9 months. In this study, we have yet to reach median overall survival.”
Furthermore, with Grade 3/4 adverse events of only 12% (mainly itching and rash), “… this is one of the most benign therapies ever used in my clinic,” concluded Ribas.
“Obviously, this [adverse events] raises concerns,” said Dr. Mario Sznol, Yale University School of Medicine, “but these events were expected with combination treatment and were manageable.”
Dr. O’Day took a step beyond the study’s conclusions and suggested that response rates for the combination were very similar to those seen with anti-PD-1 monotherapy. To distinguish between the two checkpoint approaches, and if ipilimumab contributes to the cause, he stated that “it’s the overall survival data that will tell the tale.”