The first trial of the immunomodulator Yervoy® (ipilimumab) conducted in patients with uveal melanoma appears promising in according to the results of a small clinical trial presented at the recent Society of Melanoma Research (SMR) 2014 International Congress, in Zurich, Switzerland.
Uveal melanoma is the most common cancer of the eye in adults, and the uvea is the second most common location for primary melanoma. Current treatment options are very limited and survival is poor due to early spread of the cancer to the liver.
Yervoy® 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, Yervoy®may enhance the immune system’s response against tumor cells. Yervoy®was approved in March 2011 for the treatment of melanoma that has spread to other sites or cannot be surgically removed.
Dr Piulats and colleagues treated 32 patients at 5 centers in Spain with progressive uveal melanoma that had not previously received any systemic therapy with Yervoy® given every 3 weeks for 4 doses, and then every 12 weeks until progression of melanoma, intolerance of the drug, or withdrawal from the trial.
After approximately 2 years of follow-up almost 25% of patients survive. The disease control rate was close to 50%, with stable disease seen in 39.7% and a partial response in 6.45%. There are few treatment options for individuals with uveal melanoma, and Yervoy®appears promising. This trial however was small and uncontrolled. Additional evaluation in appropriately designed studies with greater numbers of patients are required.
Society of Melanoma Research (SMR) 2014 International Congress. The results that were reported in the poster presentation have been published in Pigment Cell Melanoma Research (Pigment Cell Melanoma Res 2014;27:1219).
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