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01.03.2018 | Original Paper | Ausgabe 3/2018

Medical Oncology 3/2018

Long-term survival with modern therapeutic agents against metastatic melanoma—vemurafenib and ipilimumab in a daily life setting

Medical Oncology > Ausgabe 3/2018
B. M. Lang, A. Peveling-Oberhag, D. Faidt, A. M. Hötker, V. Weyer-Elberich, S. Grabbe, C. Loquai


Despite new therapeutic options, metastatic melanoma remains to be one of the most fatal tumors. With the development of BRAF inhibitors and immune checkpoint inhibitors, overall survival could be prolonged significantly for the first time. Clinical studies implied that even long-term survival is possible with both types of drugs, but predictive markers are so far missing. In this study, we analyzed survival data from patients that received the first-in-class substances vemurafenib and ipilimumab, respectively, during the time period from registration of the drugs until availability of combination treatments. We aimed to evaluate the possibility of long-term survival in a daily life setting and to characterize patients that benefit from these drugs in order to gain insight into predictive attributes. Eighty patients were evaluated who were treated with either vemurafenib (n = 40) or ipilimumab (n = 40), and overall survival was analyzed. Subgroup analysis was performed for patients who were still alive 24 months after induction of therapy (long-term survival). Median overall survival (OS) was 8.0 months for patients treated with vemurafenib and 10.0 months for patients treated with ipilimumab (log-rank P value = 0.689). Long-term survival was achieved in 32.5% of patients (42.3% vemurafenib, 57.7% ipilimumab). Negative predictors of long-term survival in the vemurafenib group were brain and liver metastases, as well as elevated LDH, S100ß and liver enzymes. For ipilimumab, an increase in lymphocytes and eosinophils during course of treatment correlated with long-term survival. Our real-life experience shows that long-term survival is possible with using both therapeutic agents, vemurafenib and ipilimumab. Pattern of metastases and laboratory values might be of interest in decision making for a specific therapeutic approach. Combination of drugs and observational studies in larger patient cohorts are necessary to further validate our findings.

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