Programmed death receptor 1 (PD-1) and PD-1 ligand (PD-L1) monoclonal antibodies like pembrolizumab, nivolumab, and atezolizumab rarely induce durable remissions in patients with metastatic uveal melanoma, a study published in Cancer has shown.1

Although these agents have demonstrated significant activity in the treatment of advanced cutaneous melanoma, the efficacy and safety of PD-1 blockade has not been well studied in patients with uveal melanoma.

For the study, investigators analyzed data from 56 patients with stage IV uveal melanoma who had received immunotherapy between 2009 and 2015 at 9 academic centers.

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Of those, 86% had received prior therapy and 63% had been previously treated with ipilimumab. Three patients achieved an objective response to ipilimumab and 8 had stable disease as best response.

The majority of patients (68%) received pembrolizumab, 29% had nivolumab, and 4% were given atezolizumab.

Results showed that only 2 patients (3.6%; 95% CI, 1.8-22.5) achieved an objective tumor response and 5 patients (9%) had stable disease.

Median progression-free survival and overall survival were 2.6 months (95% CI, 2.4-2.8) and 7.6 months (95% CI, 0.7-14.6), respectively.

The study further revealed that there was no association between prior ipilimumab treatment or liver-directed therapy and progression-free survival or overall survival.

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In terms of safety, only 1 patient discontinued immunotherapy due to treatment-related toxicity.


  1. Algazi AP, Tsai KK, Shoushtari AN, et al. Clinical outcomes in metastatic uveal melanoma treated with PD-1 and PD-1L antibodies. Cancer. 2016 Aug 17. doi: 10.1002/cncr.30258. [Epub ahead of print]