Updates in targeted therapy for melanoma

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Published: 3 Jun 2018
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Prof Dirk Schadendorf - Hospitals Essen-Mitte, Essen, Germany

Dr Schadendorf speaks with ecancer at the 2018 American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) Annual Meeting in Chicago about conference highlights in treating skin cancers.

He highlights the data from a trial of pembrolizumab plus epacadostat, which was negative, and survival data from studies of adjuvant nivolumab.

ecancer's filming has been kindly supported by Amgen through the ecancer Global Foundation. ecancer is editorially independent and there is no influence over content.

ecancer's filming has been kindly supported by Amgen through the ecancer Global Foundation. ecancer is editorially independent and there is no influence over content.

One of the major events was the presentation obviously of the pembrolizumab plus epacadostat data today showing no benefit. One of the first trials in the new era of immune checkpoint blockade which turned out to be completely negative, no benefit. So the intervention targeting IDO is probably dead for some time which is an important message for the community because other programmes for using IDO inhibitors have collapsed, not only in melanoma but also in other entities. So these results were a major impact in drug development.

It’s still important to take ownership of negative trials and use that to guide care going forwards.

Yes, it’s an important lesson also in terms of how we now move forward combining our backbone checkpoint blockade antibodies with additional agents. So understanding mechanisms is of critical importance and not just adding one thing to the other. The interesting thing with epacadostat, and IDO inhibitors, was that there was no single agent activity and no single activity, no side effects, no additional effects in combination with PD-1 antibodies. So now, thinking about it, listening about it, no surprise but there was so much excitement after the phase I/II study data with a PFS of close to two years now it’s back to basics.

Updates of the second adjuvant treatment modality which is already licensed in the US and will be available in Europe in roughly September which is an update of nivolumab survival data. Also nivolumab shows a survival benefit in stage 3 melanoma patients and that’s new. We have known from the ESMO presentation last year that there is a relapse free survival benefit in comparison to high dose ipilimumab and now we have seen also benefit in overall survival in comparison to high dose ipilimumab which is good news for those patients. The safety profile is excellent.