Standard-Dose Pembrolizumab Plus Alternate-Dose Ipilimumab in Advanced Melanoma: KEYNOTE-029 Cohort 1C, a Phase 2 Randomized Study of Two Dosing Schedules.

Long GV, Robert C, Butler MO, Couture F, Carlino MS, O’Day S, Atkinson V, Cebon JS, Brown MP, Dalle S, Hill AG, Gibney GT, McCune S, Menzies AM, Niu C, Ibrahim N, Homet Moreno B, Diab A. Clin Cancer Res. (Epub 1 July 2021)


Purpose: Standard-dose pembrolizumab plus alternative-dose ipilimumab (1 mg/kg Q3W for 4 doses) were tolerable and had robust antitumor activity in advanced melanoma in cohort B of the phase 1 KEYNOTE-029 study. Cohort C evaluated standard-dose pembrolizumab with two other alternative ipilimumab regimens.

Patients and methods: Patients with treatment-naive unresectable stage III/IV melanoma were randomly assigned 1:1 to pembrolizumab 200 mg Q3W for ≤24 months plus ipilimumab 50 mg Q6W for 4 doses (PEM200+IPI50), or the same pembrolizumab regimen plus ipilimumab 100 mg Q12W for 4 doses (PEM200+IPI100). Primary end points were incidence of grade 3-5 treatment-related adverse events (TRAE) and objective response rate (ORR) per RECIST v1.1 by independent central review. Per protocol-defined thresholds, grade 3-5 TRAE incidence ≤26% indicated meaningful toxicity reduction and ORR ≥48% indicated no decrease in efficacy versus data reported for other PD-1 inhibitor/ipilimumab combinations.

Results: Median follow-up on February 18, 2019, was 16.3 months in PEM200+IPI50 (N = 51) and 16.4 months in PEM200+IPI100 (N = 51). Grade 3-5 TRAEs occurred in 12 (24%) patients in PEM200+IPI50 and 20 (39%) in PEM200+IPI100. One patient in PEM200+IPI50 died from treatment-related autoimmune myocarditis. Immune-mediated AEs or infusion reactions occurred in 21 (42%) patients in PEM200+IPI50 and 28 (55%) in PEM200+IPI100. ORR was 55% in PEM200+IPI50; 61% in PEM200+IPI100.

Conclusions: Pembrolizumab 200 mg Q3W plus ipilimumab 50 mg Q6W or 100 mg Q12W demonstrated antitumor activity above the predefined threshold; pembrolizumab plus ipilimumab 50 mg Q6W had lower incidence of grade 3-5 TRAEs than the predefined threshold, suggesting a reduction in toxicity.

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