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Nivolumab versus chemotherapy in patients with advanced melanoma who progressed after anti-CTLA-4 treatment (CheckMate 037)

A randomised, controlled, open-label, phase 3 trial

Editorial comment by Prof. R. Dummer:
The treatment of patients who progressed after ipilimumab and/or targeted therapy is a major challenge. These patients typically receive chemotherapy. However the treatment success is limited and chemotherapy still has a number of serious adverse reactions. The results of this study show a triple benefit for the immunotherapy in comparison to the chemotherapy. There are more responses, there is a longer response duration, and the number and the severity of the adverse reactions was and more significant in the chemotherapy group. The exploratory analysis of the responses in predefined patients subgroups, demonstrated benefit for the anti PD1-therapie for BRAF mutant patients and even in patients, that did not express PD-L1 in the tumor biopsy. This study will definitely have an impact on treatment recommendations for patients with pretreated advanced metastatic melanoma.

Jeffrey S Weber et al.

Lancet Oncol 2015;16:375–84