Publisher Correction: Adjuvant nivolumab in resected stage IIB/C melanoma: primary results from the randomized, phase 3 CheckMate 76K trial
CD4 Phenotypes Are Associated with Reduced Expansion of Tumor-Infiltrating Lymphocytes in Melanoma Patients Treated with Adoptive Cell Therapy
Tumor-infiltrating lymphocyte (TIL) adoptive cell therapy is effective in treating malignant melanoma, but its success relies on the adequate ex vivo expansion of TIL. To assess correlates of TIL expansion, CD4+ and CD8+ TIL were analyzed by RNA sequencing (RNA-seq) and chromatin immunoprecipitation sequencing of acetylated histone 3. Patients were grouped into "TIL high" and "TIL low" based on division at the median number of TIL infused. Greater numbers of TIL infused correlated with longer overall survival, and increased frequencies of CD4+ cells infused were negatively correlated with the number of TIL infused. RNA-seq analysis of CD4+ TIL showed increases in Th2/Th17/regulatory T cell-related transcripts and pathways in the TIL-low group. Analysis of a public single-cell RNA-seq dataset validated findings that increased frequencies of CD4+ cells were negatively correlated with the number of TIL infused. TIL-low patients had significantly increased frequencies of CD4+ cells expressing ETS2 and OSM and trended toward increased expression of TNFRSF18.
Germline immunomodulatory expression quantitative trait loci (ieQTLs) associated with immune-related toxicity from checkpoint inhibition
BACKGROUND:Immune checkpoint inhibition (ICI) has improved clinical outcomes for metastatic melanoma patients; however, 65-80% of patients treated with ICI experience immune-related adverse events (irAEs). Given the plausible link of irAEs with underlying host immunity, we explored whether germline genetic variants controlling the expression of 42 immunomodulatory genes were associated with the risk of irAEs in melanoma patients treated with the single-agent anti-CTLA-4 antibody ipilimumab (IPI). METHODS:We identified 42 immunomodulatory expression quantitative trait loci (ieQTLs) most significantly associated with the expression of 382 immune-related genes. These germline variants were genotyped in IPI-treated melanoma patients, collected as part of a multi-institutional collaboration. We tested the association of ieQTLs with irAEs in a discovery cohort of 95 patients, followed by validation in an additional 97 patients. RESULTS:We found that the alternate allele of rs7036417, a variant linked to increased expression of SYK, was strongly associated with an increased risk of grade 3-4 toxicity [odds ratio (OR) = 7.46; 95% confidence interval (CI) = 2.65-21.03; p = 1.43E-04]. This variant was not associated with response (OR = 0.90; 95% CI = 0.37-2.21; p = 0.82). CONCLUSION/CONCLUSIONS:We report that rs7036417 is associated with increased risk of severe irAEs, independent of IPI efficacy. SYK plays an important role in B-cell/T-cell expansion, and increased pSYK has been reported in patients with autoimmune disease. The association between rs7036417 and IPI irAEs in our data suggests a role of SYK overexpression in irAE development. These findings support the hypothesis that inherited variation in immune-related pathways modulates ICI toxicity and suggests SYK as a possible future target for therapies to reduce irAEs.
Perspectives in Melanoma: meeting report from the Melanoma Bridge (December 1st-3rd, 2022-Naples, Italy)
Outcomes for patients with melanoma have improved over the past decade with the clinical development and approval of immunotherapies targeting immune checkpoint receptors such as programmed death-1 (PD-1), programmed death ligand 1 (PD-L1) or cytotoxic T lymphocyte antigen-4 (CTLA-4). Combinations of these checkpoint therapies with other agents are now being explored to improve outcomes and enhance benefit-risk profiles of treatment. Alternative inhibitory receptors have been identified that may be targeted for anti-tumor immune therapy, such as lymphocyte-activation gene-3 (LAG-3), as have several potential target oncogenes for molecularly targeted therapy, such as tyrosine kinase inhibitors. Unfortunately, many patients still progress and acquire resistance to immunotherapy and molecularly targeted therapies. To bypass resistance, combination treatment with immunotherapies and single or multiple TKIs have been shown to improve prognosis compared to monotherapy. The number of new combinations treatment under development for melanoma provides options for the number of patients to achieve a therapeutic benefit. Many diagnostic and prognostic assays have begun to show clinical applicability providing additional tools to optimize and individualize treatments. However, the question on the optimal algorithm of first- and later-line therapies and the search for biomarkers to guide these decisions are still under investigation. This year, the Melanoma Bridge Congress (Dec 1st-3rd, 2022, Naples, Italy) addressed the latest advances in melanoma research, focusing on themes of paramount importance for melanoma prevention, diagnosis and treatment. This included sessions dedicated to systems biology on immunotherapy, immunogenicity and gene expression profiling, biomarkers, and combination treatment strategies.
Selective immune suppression using interleukin-6 receptor inhibitors for management of immune-related adverse events
BACKGROUND:Management of immune-related adverse events (irAEs) is important as they cause treatment interruption or discontinuation, more often seen with combination immune checkpoint inhibitor (ICI) therapy. Here, we retrospectively evaluated the safety and effectiveness of anti-interleukin-6 receptor (anti-IL-6R) as therapy for irAEs. METHODS:We performed a retrospective multicenter study evaluating patients diagnosed with de novo irAEs or flare of pre-existing autoimmune disease following ICI and were treated with anti-IL-6R. Our objectives were to assess the improvement of irAEs as well as the overall tumor response rate (ORR) before and after anti-IL-6R treatment. RESULTS:We identified a total of 92 patients who received therapeutic anti-IL-6R antibodies (tocilizumab or sarilumab). Median age was 61 years, 63% were men, 69% received anti-programmed cell death protein-1 (PD-1) antibodies alone, and 26% patients were treated with the combination of anti-cytotoxic T lymphocyte antigen-4 and anti-PD-1 antibodies. Cancer types were primarily melanoma (46%), genitourinary cancer (35%), and lung cancer (8%). Indications for using anti-IL-6R antibodies included inflammatory arthritis (73%), hepatitis/cholangitis (7%), myositis/myocarditis/myasthenia gravis (5%), polymyalgia rheumatica (4%), and one patient each with autoimmune scleroderma, nephritis, colitis, pneumonitis and central nervous system vasculitis. Notably, 88% of patients had received corticosteroids, and 36% received other disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs (DMARDs) as first-line therapies, but without adequate improvement. After initiation of anti-IL-6R (as first-line or post-corticosteroids and DMARDs), 73% of patients showed resolution or change to ≤grade 1 of irAEs after a median of 2.0 months from initiation of anti-IL-6R therapy. Six patients (7%) stopped anti-IL-6R due to adverse events. Of 70 evaluable patients by RECIST (Response Evaluation Criteria in Solid Tumors) V.1.1 criteria; the ORR was 66% prior versus 66% after anti-IL-6R (95% CI, 54% to 77%), with 8% higher complete response rate. Of 34 evaluable patients with melanoma, the ORR was 56% prior and increased to 68% after anti-IL-6R (p=0.04). CONCLUSION/CONCLUSIONS:Targeting IL-6R could be an effective approach to treat several irAE types without hindering antitumor immunity. This study supports ongoing clinical trials evaluating the safety and efficacy of tocilizumab (anti-IL-6R antibody) in combination with ICIs (NCT04940299, NCT03999749).
Prior anti-CTLA-4 therapy impacts molecular characteristics associated with anti-PD-1 response in advanced melanoma
Immune checkpoint inhibitors (ICIs), including CTLA-4- and PD-1-blocking antibodies, can have profound effects on tumor immune cell infiltration that have not been consistent in biopsy series reported to date. Here, we analyze seven molecular datasets of samples from patients with advanced melanoma (N = 514) treated with ICI agents to investigate clinical, genomic, and transcriptomic features of anti-PD-1 response in cutaneous melanoma. We find that prior anti-CTLA-4 therapy is associated with differences in genomic, individual gene, and gene signatures in anti-PD-1 responders. Anti-CTLA-4-experienced melanoma tumors that respond to PD-1 blockade exhibit increased tumor mutational burden, inflammatory signatures, and altered cell cycle processes compared with anti-CTLA-4-naive tumors or anti-CTLA-4-experienced, anti-PD-1-nonresponsive melanoma tumors. We report a harmonized, aggregate resource and suggest that prior CTLA-4 blockade therapy is associated with marked differences in the tumor microenvironment that impact the predictive features of PD-1 blockade therapy response.
Nivolumab versus placebo as adjuvant therapy for resected stage III melanoma: a propensity weighted indirect treatment comparison and number needed to treat analysis for recurrence-free survival and overall survival
BACKGROUND:Recurrence-free survival (RFS) and overall survival (OS) data for adjuvant nivolumab versus placebo (proxy for routine surveillance) in patients with high-risk, resected melanoma are lacking. This post hoc, indirect treatment comparison (ITC) used pooled data from the phase 3 EORTC 18,071 (ipilimumab vs. placebo) and CheckMate 238 (nivolumab vs. ipilimumab) trials to assess RFS and OS with nivolumab versus placebo and the numbers needed to treat (NNT) over 4Â years. METHODS:Patients with resected stage IIIB-C cutaneous melanoma (American Joint Committee on Cancer seventh edition) were included. Inverse probability treatment weighting (IPTW) was used to balance baseline characteristics. RFS NNTs were calculated for nivolumab versus ipilimumab and placebo. OS NNTs were calculated for nivolumab versus placebo. To adjust for different post-recurrence treatments, the difference in post-recurrence survival between the two ipilimumab arms was added to OS of the placebo arm. RESULTS:This ITC included 278, 643, and 365 patients treated with nivolumab, ipilimumab, and placebo, respectively. Following IPTW, nivolumab was associated with improved RFS versus placebo (hazard ratio [HR]: 0.49; 95% confidence interval [CI] 0.39-0.61) and ipilimumab (HR: 0.69; 95% CI 0.56-0.85). RFS NNT was 4.2 for nivolumab versus placebo and 8.9 for nivolumab versus ipilimumab. After post-recurrence survival adjustment, weighted 4-year OS rates were 75.8% for nivolumab and 64.1% for placebo; OS NNT for nivolumab versus placebo was 8.5. CONCLUSIONS:In patients with resected stage IIIB-C cutaneous melanoma in this ITC, nivolumab improved RFS versus placebo and ipilimumab, and OS versus placebo after post-recurrence survival adjustment.
Correction to: Nivolumab versus placebo as adjuvant therapy for resected stage III melanoma: a propensity weighted indirect treatment comparison and number needed to treat analysis for recurrence-free survival and overall survival
Dichotomous Nitric Oxide"“Dependent Post-Translational Modifications of STAT1 Are Associated with Ipilimumab Benefits in Melanoma
Although Ipilimumab (anti-CTLA-4) is FDA-approved for stage III/IV melanoma adjuvant treatment, it is not used clinically in first-line therapy, given the superior relapse-free survival (RFS)/toxicity benefits of anti-PD-1 therapy. However, it is important to understand anti-CTLA-4"™s mechanistic contribution to combination anti-PD-1/CTLA-4 therapy and investigate anti-CTLA-4 therapy for BRAF-wild type melanoma cases reresected after previous adjuvant anti-PD-1 therapy. Our group published that nitric oxide (NO) increased within the immune effector cells among patients with longer RFS after adjuvant ipilimumab, whereas NO increased within the immune suppressor cells among patients with shorter RFS. Herein, we measured the post-translational modifications of STAT1 (nitration-nSTAT1 and phosphorylation-pSTAT1) that are important for regulating its activity via flow cytometry and mass spectrometry approaches. PBMCs were analyzed from 35 patients undergoing adjuvant ipilimumab treatment. Shorter RFS was associated with higher pSTAT1 levels before (p = 0.007) and after (p = 0.036) ipilimumab. Ipilimumab-treated patients with high nSTAT1 levels before and after therapy in PBMCs experienced decreased RFS, but the change in nSTAT1 levels before and after ipilimumab therapy was associated with longer RFS (p = 0.01). The measurement of post-translational modifications in STAT1 may distinguish patients with prolonged RFS from ipilimumab and provide mechanistic insight into responses to ipilimumab combination regimens.
First-in-human phase I study of the OX40 agonist GSK3174998 with or without pembrolizumab in patients with selected advanced solid tumors (ENGAGE-1)
BACKGROUND:The phase I first-in-human study ENGAGE-1 evaluated the humanized IgG1 OX40 agonistic monoclonal antibody GSK3174998 alone (Part 1 (P1)) or in combination with pembrolizumab (Part 2 (P2)) in patients with advanced solid tumors. METHODS:GSK3174998 (0.003-10 mg/kg) ± pembrolizumab (200 mg) was administered intravenously every 3 weeks using a continuous reassessment method for dose escalation. Primary objectives were safety and tolerability; secondary objectives included pharmacokinetics, immunogenicity, pharmacodynamics, and clinical activity. RESULTS:138 patients were enrolled (45 (P1) and 96 (P2, including 3 crossovers)). Treatment-related adverse events occurred in 51% (P1) and 64% (P2) of patients, fatigue being the most common (11% and 24%, respectively). No dose-toxicity relationship was observed, and maximum-tolerated dose was not reached. Dose-limiting toxicities (P2) included Grade 3 (G3) pleural effusion and G1 myocarditis with G3 increased troponin. GSK3174998 ≥0.3 mg/kg demonstrated pharmacokinetic linearity and >80% receptor occupancy on circulating T cells; 0.3 mg/kg was selected for further evaluation. Limited clinical activity was observed for GSK3174998 (P1: disease control rate (DCR) ≥24 weeks 9%) and was not greater than that expected for pembrolizumab alone (P2: overall response rate 8%, DCR ≥24 weeks 28%). Multiplexed immunofluorescence data from paired biopsies suggested that increased infiltration of natural killer (NK)/natural killer T (NKT) cells and decreased regulatory T cells (Tregs) in the tumor microenvironment may contribute to clinical responses: CD16+CD56-CD134+ NK /NKT cells and CD3+CD4+FOXP3+CD134+ Tregs exhibited the largest magnitude of change on treatment, whereas CD3+CD8+granzyme B+PD-1+CD134+ cytotoxic T cells were the least variable. Tumor gene expression profiling revealed an upregulation of inflammatory responses, T-cell proliferation, and NK cell function on treatment with some inflammatory cytokines upregulated in peripheral blood. However, target engagement, evidenced by pharmacologic activity in peripheral blood and tumor tissue, did not correlate with clinical efficacy. The low number of responses precluded identifying a robust biomarker signature predictive of response. CONCLUSIONS:GSK3174998±pembrolizumab was well tolerated over the dose range tested and demonstrated target engagement. Limited clinical activity does not support further development of GSK3174998±pembrolizumab in advanced cancers. TRIAL REGISTRATION NUMBER:NCT02528357.