The Future of Novel Immunotherapy Combinations in Melanoma

December 9, 2019
Dr. Georgina Long

The overall survival rate in patients with melanoma has increased exponentially in the past decade. But thanks to the use of combinations in the treatment of melanoma, the future looks even brighter, according to one expert from the Melanoma Institute Australia.

The overall survival rate in patients with melanoma has increased exponentially in the past decade. But thanks to the use of combinations in the treatment of melanoma, the future looks even brighter, according to one expert from the Melanoma Institute Australia.

Georgina Long of the University of Sydney recently spoke with OncLive®, CURE®’s sister publication, about what new combinations are currently being investigated and how the promise they hold could improve the treatment landscape for melanoma even further.

Transcription:

We’ve done well. We’ve now come from a five-year overall survival rate of less than 5% 10 years ago to now over 50% with combination, although it has toxicities. Our next step is to raise that bar further. We do want to aim towards 100% and zero deaths from melanoma.

So, looking at novel combinations, the platform that we think is exciting in the melanoma field, and that we are learning about at the Society of Melanoma Research, is the neoadjuvant platform, where we can assess doublets and triplets of novel therapies (and) within six weeks, get a pathological response readout, which we have already correlated with relapse-free survival for immunotherapies, and with that benchmarked, we can have a no-go or go decision as to whether further to explore combinations and triplets — and there are some exciting combinations coming up.

We know that TIL (tumor-infiltrating lymphocyte) therapy after PD-1 progression seems to have activity. We know there are other targets that we are looking at, targeted therapies besides BRAF, but VGF targets may complement our checkpoint inhibitors. And there are many intralesional treatments that work on the innate immune system, like toll-like receptor 9, that are under investigation.

So, there’s a lot of activity by specific antibodies, but there’s a lot of activity in this space, and we hope to achieve zero deaths from melanoma.

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