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Bevacizumab plus Ipilimumab in Patients with Metastatic Melanoma

Hodi FS, Lawrence D, Lezcano C, Wu X, Zhou J, Sasada T, Zeng W, Giobbie-Hurder A, Atkins MB, Ibrahim N, Friedlander P, Flaherty KT, Murphy GF, Rodig S, Velazquez EF, Mihm MC Jr, Russell S, DiPiro PJ, Yap JT, Ramaiya N, Van den Abbeele AD, Gargano M, McDer

Cancer Immunol Res. 2014 Apr 21. [Epub ahead of print]

Editors' comments:
This is a study evaluating the combination of ipilimumab with bevacizumab in the treatment of metastatic melanoma. It shows that bevacizumab, blocking VEGF-A, is able to modify the immune responses triggered by the administration of ipilimumab, influencing the inflammation, the traffic of lymphocytes and immune regulation, with an acceptable toxicity profile. This study provides the basis for further research on the influences of antiangiogenic drugs in the immune response and the possibility of new associations with immune checkpoint blockade.

Abstract

Ipilimumab improves survival in advanced melanoma and can induce immune-mediated tumor vasculopathy. Besides promoting angiogenesis, vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) suppresses dendritic cell maturation and modulates lymphocyte endothelial trafficking. This study investigated the combination of CTLA4 blockade with ipilimumab and VEGF inhibition with bevacizumab. Patients with metastatic melanoma were treated in four dosing cohorts of ipilimumab (3 or 10 mg/kg) with four doses at 3-week intervals and then every 12 weeks, and bevacizumab (7.5 or 15 mg/kg) every 3 weeks. Forty-six patients were treated. Inflammatory events included giant cell arteritis (n = 1), hepatitis (n = 2), and uveitis (n = 2). On-treatment tumor biopsies revealed activated vessel endothelium with extensive CD8+ and macrophage cell infiltration. Peripheral blood analyses demonstrated increases in CCR7+/-/CD45RO+ cells and anti-galectin antibodies. Best overall response included 8 partial responses, 22 instances of stable disease, and a disease-control rate of 67.4%. Median survival was 25.1 months. Bevacizumab influences changes in tumor vasculature and immune responses with ipilimumab administration. The combination of bevacizumab and ipilimumab can be safely administered and reveals VEGF-A blockade influences on inflammation, lymphocyte trafficking, and immune regulation. These findings provide a basis for further investigating the dual roles of angiogenic factors in blood vessel formation and immune regulation, as well as future combinations of antiangiogenesis agents and immune checkpoint blockade