Posted on June 7th, 2010 by
Among patients with previously treated, advanced melanoma, treatment with the investigational drug ipilimumab improved overall and progression-free survival. The results of this Phase III clinical trial were presented at the 2010 annual meeting of the American Society of Clinical Oncology.
Melanoma is the most deadly type of skin cancer. Each year in the United States, there are roughly 68,000 new diagnoses of melanoma and 8,700 deaths from the disease. Finding effective treatments for advanced melanoma has been challenging, and research in this area continues.
Ipilimumab is an investigational drug that targets a molecule known as CTLA4. CTLA4 is found on the surface of T cells and is thought to inhibit immune responses. By targeting this molecule, ipilimumab may enhance the immune system’s response against tumor cells.
To evaluate ipilimumab in the treatment of melanoma, researchers conducted an international Phase III clinical trial among 676 patients with previously treated, Stage III or Stage IV melanoma.
Patients were assigned to one of three treatment groups: 1) ipilimumab; 2) ipilimumab plus the gp100 vaccine; or 3) the gp100 vaccine alone. The gp100 vaccine is an experimental melanoma vaccine that is also designed to stimulate T cells to attack melanoma cells. In previous studies it has shown modest anticancer activity and was superior to treatment with IL-2.
These results suggest that ipilimumab may delay cancer progression and improve overall survival among patients with previously treated, advanced melanoma. The addition of the gp100 vaccine to ipilimumab did not appear to further improve outcomes.
Reference: O’Day S, Hodi FS, McDermott DF et al. A phase III, randomized, double-blind, multicenter study comparing monotherapy with ipilimumab or gp100 peptide vaccine and the combination in patients with previously treated, unresectable stage III or IV melanoma. Presented at the 2010 annual meeting of the American Society of Clinical Oncology. June 4-8, 2010. Chicago, IL. Abstract 4.
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