Tumor-Infiltrating Lymphocyte Therapy or Ipilimumab in Advanced Melanoma.

Rohaan MW, Borch TH, van den Berg JH, Met Ö, Kessels R, Geukes Foppen MH, Stoltenborg Granhøj J, Nuijen B, Nijenhuis C, Jedema I, van Zon M, Scheij S, Beijnen JH, Hansen M, Voermans C, Noringriis IM, Monberg TJ, Holmstroem RB, Wever LDV, van Dijk M, Grijpink-Ongering LG, Valkenet LHM, Torres Acosta A, Karger M, Borgers JSW, Ten Ham RMT, Retèl VP, van Harten WH, Lalezari F, van Tinteren H, van der Veldt AAM, Hospers GAP, Stevense-den Boer MAM, Suijkerbuijk KPM, Aarts MJB, Piersma D, van den Eertwegh AJM, de Groot JB, Vreugdenhil G, Kapiteijn E, Boers-Sonderen MJ, Fiets WE, van den Berkmortel FWPJ, Ellebaek E, Hölmich LR, van Akkooi ACJ, van Houdt WJ, Wouters MWJM, van Thienen JV, Blank CU, Meerveld-Eggink A, Klobuch S, Wilgenhof S, Schumacher TN, Donia M, Svane IM, Haanen JBAG. N Engl J Med. 2022 Dec 8;387(23):2113-2125. doi: 10.1056/NEJMoa2210233. PMID: 36477031.


Background: Immune checkpoint inhibitors and targeted therapies have dramatically improved outcomes in patients with advanced melanoma, but approximately half these patients will not have a durable benefit. Phase 1-2 trials of adoptive cell therapy with tumor-infiltrating lymphocytes (TILs) have shown promising responses, but data from phase 3 trials are lacking to determine the role of TILs in treating advanced melanoma.

Methods: In this phase 3, multicenter, open-label trial, we randomly assigned patients with unresectable stage IIIC or IV melanoma in a 1:1 ratio to receive TIL or anti-cytotoxic T-lymphocyte antigen 4 therapy (ipilimumab at 3 mg per kilogram of body weight). Infusion of at least 5×109 TILs was preceded by nonmyeloablative, lymphodepleting chemotherapy (cyclophosphamide plus fludarabine) and followed by high-dose interleukin-2. The primary end point was progression-free survival.

Results: A total of 168 patients (86% with disease refractory to anti-programmed death 1 treatment) were assigned to receive TILs (84 patients) or ipilimumab (84 patients). In the intention-to-treat population, median progression-free survival was 7.2 months (95% confidence interval [CI], 4.2 to 13.1) in the TIL group and 3.1 months (95% CI, 3.0 to 4.3) in the ipilimumab group (hazard ratio for progression or death, 0.50; 95% CI, 0.35 to 0.72; P<0.001); 49% (95% CI, 38 to 60) and 21% (95% CI, 13 to 32) of the patients, respectively, had an objective response. Median overall survival was 25.8 months (95% CI, 18.2 to not reached) in the TIL group and 18.9 months (95% CI, 13.8 to 32.6) in the ipilimumab group. Treatment-related adverse events of grade 3 or higher occurred in all patients who received TILs and in 57% of those who received ipilimumab; in the TIL group, these events were mainly chemotherapy-related myelosuppression.

Conclusions: In patients with advanced melanoma, progression-free survival was significantly longer among those who received TIL therapy than among those who received ipilimumab. (Funded by the Dutch Cancer Society and others; ClinicalTrials.gov number, NCT02278887.).