The molecular and functional landscape of resistance to immune checkpoint blockade in melanoma.
Abstract Resistance to immune checkpoint inhibitor therapies in melanoma is common and remains an intractable clinical challenge. In this study, we comprehensively profile immune checkpoint inhibitor resistance mechanisms in short-term tumor cell lines and matched tumor samples from melanoma patients progressing on immune checkpoint inhibitors. Combining genome, transcriptome, and high dimensional flow cytometric profiling with functional analysis, we identify three distinct programs of immunotherapy resistance. Here we show that resistance programs include (1) the loss of wild-type antigen expression, resulting from tumor-intrinsic IFNγ signaling and melanoma de-differentiation, (2) the disruption of antigen presentation via multiple independent mechanisms affecting MHC [...]
IFN-γ signature enables selection of neoadjuvant treatment in patients with stage III melanoma.
Abstract Neoadjuvant ipilimumab + nivolumab has demonstrated high pathologic response rates in stage III melanoma. Patients with low intra-tumoral interferon-γ (IFN-γ) signatures are less likely to benefit. We show that domatinostat (a class I histone deacetylase inhibitor) addition to anti-PD-1 + anti-CTLA-4 increased the IFN-γ response and reduced tumor growth in our murine melanoma model, rationalizing evaluation in patients. To stratify patients into IFN-γ high and low cohorts, we developed a baseline IFN-γ signature expression algorithm, which was prospectively tested in the DONIMI trial. Patients with stage III melanoma and high intra-tumoral IFN-γ scores were randomized to neoadjuvant nivolumab [...]
Efficacy of ipilimumab 3mn/kg following progression on low-dose ipilimumab in metastatic melanoma.
Abstract Background: Differing doses of ipilimumab (IPI) are used in combination with an anti-PD1 antibody in advanced melanoma. There is no data on the outcomes of patients who progress following low-dose IPI (< 3 mg/kg) and are subsequently treated with IPI 3 mg/kg (IPI3). We conducted a multicentre retrospective survey to assess the efficacy of this strategy. Methods: Patients with resected stage III, unresectable stage III or IV melanoma who received low dose IPI (< 3 mg/kg) with an anti-PD1 antibody with recurrence (neo/adjuvant) or progressive disease (metastatic), who then received IPI3± anti-PD1 antibody were eligible. Best investigator-determined Response [...]
Challenges in oncology career: are we closing the gender gap? Results of the new ESMO Women for Oncology Committee survey.
Abstract Background: Following a European Society for Medical Oncology Women for Oncology (ESMO W4O) survey in 2016 showing severe under-representation of female oncologists in leadership roles, ESMO launched a series of initiatives to address obstacles to gender equity. A follow-up survey in October 2021 investigated progress achieved. Materials and methods: The W4O questionnaire 2021 expanded on the 2016 survey, with additional questions on the impact of ethnicity, sexual orientation and religion on career development. Results were analysed according to respondent gender and age. Results: The survey sample was larger than in 2016 (n = 1473 versus 482), especially among [...]
Case series: Immune checkpoint inhibitor-induced transverse myelitis.
Abstract Introduction: Increasing implementation of the highly efficacious immune checkpoint inhibitors (ICIs) has raised awareness of their various complications in the form of immune-related adverse events (irAEs). Transverse myelitis following ICIs is thought to be a rare but serious neurologic irAE and knowledge is limited about this distinct clinical entity. Cases: We describe four patients across three tertiary centers in Australia with ICI-induced transverse myelitis. Three patients had a diagnosis of stage III–IV melanoma treated with nivolumab and one patient had stage IV non-small cell lung cancer treated with pembrolizumab. All patients had longitudinally extensive transverse myelitis on magnetic [...]
Intratumoral CD16+ macrophages are associated with clinical outcomes of patients with metastatic melanoma treated with combination anti-PD-1 and anti-CTLA-4 therapy.
Abstract Purpose: This study characterizes intratumoural macrophage populations within baseline melanoma biopsies from patients with advanced melanoma who received either anti-PD-1 monotherapy or combination with anti-CTLA-4. Particularly, FcγRIIIa (CD16) expressing macrophage densities were investigated for associations with response and progression-free survival. Experimental design: Patients with advanced melanoma who received either anti-PD-1 monotherapy or combination anti-PD-1 and anti-CTLA-4 were retrospectively identified. Macrophage populations were analyzed within baseline melanoma biopsies via multiplex immunohistochemistry in relation to treatment outcomes. Results: Patients who responded to combination ICI contained higher CD16+ macrophage densities than those who did not respond (196 vs 7 cells/mm2; p [...]
Efficacy and toxicity of adjuvant radiotherapy in recurrent melanoma after adjuvant immunotherapy.
Abstract Background: In patients with stage III melanoma, despite surgical resection and adjuvant systemic therapy, locoregional recurrences still occur. The randomized, phase III Trans-Tasman Radiation Oncology Group (TROG) 02.01 trial demonstrated that adjuvant radiotherapy (RT) after complete lymphadenectomy (CLND) halves the incidence of melanoma recurrence within local nodal basins without improving overall survival or quality of life. However, the study was conducted prior to the current era of adjuvant systemic therapies and when CLND was the standard approach for microscopic nodal disease. As such, there is currently no data on the role of adjuvant RT in patients with melanoma [...]
IFNγ signaling sensitizes melanoma cells to BH3 Mimetics.
Abstract Immunotherapy targeting PD-1 and/or CTLA4 leads to durable responses in a proportion of patients with melanoma. However, many patients will not respond to these immune checkpoint inhibitors, and up to 60% of responding patients will develop treatment resistance. We describe a vulnerability in melanoma driven by immune cell activity that provides a pathway towards additional treatment options. This study evaluated short-term melanoma cell lines (referred to as PD1 PROG cells) derived from melanoma metastases that progressed on PD-1 inhibitor–based therapy. We show that the cytokine IFN-γ primes melanoma cells for apoptosis by promoting changes in the accumulation and [...]
Durability of response to immune checkpoint inhibitors in metastatic Merkel cell carcinoma after treatment cessation.
Abstract Background: Metastatic Merkel cell carcinoma (mMCC) is highly responsive to immune checkpoint inhibitors (ICIs); however, durability of response after treatment cessation and response to retreatment in the setting of progression is unknown. Methods: Patients (pts) having mMCC from 10 centres who discontinued ICI treatment for a reason other than progression were studied. Results: Forty patients were included. Median time on treatment was 13.5 months (range 1-35). Thirty-one patients (77.5%) stopped treatment electively while 9 patients (22.5%) stopped due to treatment-related toxicity. After median of 12.3 months from discontinuation, 14 pts (35%) have progressed (PD). Disease progression rate following [...]
Survival update of neoadjuvant ipilimumab plus nivolumab in macroscopic stage III melanoma in the OpACIN and OpACIN-neo trials.
Abstract Background Neoadjuvant ipilimumab plus nivolumab has yielded high response rates in patients with macroscopic stage III melanoma. These response rates translated to high short-term survival rates. However, data on long-term survival and disease recurrence are lacking. Patients and methods In OpACIN, 20 patients with macroscopic stage III melanoma were randomized to ipilimumab 3 mg/kg plus nivolumab 1 mg/kg q3w four cycles of adjuvant or split two cycles of neoadjuvant and two adjuvant. In OpACIN-neo, 86 patients with macroscopic stage III melanoma were randomized to arm A (2× ipilimumab 3 mg/kg plus nivolumab 1 mg/kg q3w; n = 30), [...]