Sapna P. Patel, MD, on Melanoma: New Data on Pembrolizumab, Adjuvant vs Neoadjuvant Plus Adjuvant
ESMO Congress 2022
Sapna P. Patel, MD, of The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, discusses the latest findings from the SWOG S1801 trial, which showed that using single-agent pembrolizumab as neoadjuvant therapy improved event-free survival compared to adjuvant therapy in high-risk resectable stage III–IV melanoma (Abstract LBA6).
Disclaimer: This video transcript has not been proofread or edited and may contain errors.
The rationale behind neoadjuvant immunotherapy for melanoma is that cancer comes in contact with T cells that are inside the tumor. If you remove the tumor, you remove those T cells with it. On the other hand, if you give neoadjuvant therapy while the tumor is still in place and those T cells, you end up generating a larger immune response than if you give the same treatment after the tumor is removed. With that in mind, we designed the SWOG S1801 phase II trial. The study was a randomized one-to-one study for participants with stage IIIB to IV resectable melanoma. Participants on the adjuvant arm were randomized to surgery first followed by 18 doses of adjuvant pembrolizumab, flat-dosed every three weeks. Participants on the neoadjuvant arm received 3 doses of pembrolizumab followed by surgery, and then 15 doses of adjuvant pembrolizumab.
Neoadjuvant therapy with pembrolizumab followed by adjuvant pembrolizumab improves event-free survival in resectable melanoma. Toxicities were well-managed and no new safety signals emerged. In fact, the use of neoadjuvant pembrolizumab did not lead to an increase in surgery events. Compared to the same therapy given entirely after surgery, the use of neoadjuvant pembrolizumab improves event-free survival in patients with resectable melanoma. The next steps for S1801 include central pathologic review on the neoadjuvant specimens to determine a correlation between pathologic response and clinical outcomes. Future neoadjuvant studies can consider S1801 as a benchmark and expand on deescalation of surgery protocols, deescalation of adjuvant therapy, or escalation of neoadjuvant or adjuvant regimens for those whose tumors do not respond.
Ana Oaknin, MD, PhD, of Barcelona’s Vall d’Hebron University Hospital, discusses an analysis of long-term survival from the EMPOWER-Cervical 1/GOG-3016/ENGOT-cx9 trial. Cemiplimab-rwlc is the first immunotherapy to demonstrate an overall survival benefit as a second-line monotherapy for patients with recurrent or metastatic cervical cancer previously treated with platinum-based chemotherapy but not immunotherapy. The benefit was sustained in this population (Abstract 519MO).
Julien Taïeb, MD, PhD, of Paris Descartes University, discusses phase II results from the SAMCO-PRODIGE 54 trial, which shows the efficacy and safety of avelumab in the second-line treatment of patients with deficient DNA mismatch–repair microsatellite-instability metastatic colorectal cancer. According to Dr. Taïeb, the study indirectly suggests this population should be treated as soon as possible with an immune checkpoint inhibitor (Abstract LBA23).
Christelle de la Fouchardiere, MD, of France’s Centre Léon Bérard, discusses phase III findings from the PRODIGE 65–UCGI 36–GEMPAX UNICANCER study, which evaluated whether the combination of gemcitabine and paclitaxel improves overall survival compared with gemcitabine alone in patients with metastatic pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma after FOLFIRINOX failure or intolerance (Abstract LBA60).
Toni K. Choueiri, MD, of the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, and Laurence Albiges, MD, PhD, of France’s Gustave Roussy Cancer Centre, discuss phase III findings showing that cabozantinib in combination with nivolumab and ipilimumab reduced the risk of disease progression or death compared with the combination of nivolumab plus ipilimumab in patients with previously untreated advanced renal cell carcinoma of IMDC (the International Metastatic RCC Database Consortium) intermediate or poor risk. However, the combination of cabozantinib, nivolumab, and ipilimumab vs nivolumab plus ipilimumab did not demonstrate an overall survival benefit to patients (Abstract LBA8).
Nizar M. Tannir, MD, of The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, discusses phase III findings from the PIVOT-09 study, which compared bempegaldesleukin plus nivolumab with the investigator’s choice of a tyrosine kinase inhibitor (either sunitinib or cabozantinib) in patients with previously untreated advanced renal cell carcinoma (Abstract LBA68).