Relatlimab + Nivolumab Increase Survival in Metastatic Melanoma

Over the last 10+ years, there have been extreme advances in the treatment of metastatic melanoma. In particular, researchers have sought to develop therapies which halted cancer progression and reduced treatment-related toxicities. According to Medical XPress, one combination treatment which addresses these issues is relatlimab and nivolumab. In the Phase 2/3 RELATIVITY-047 clinical trial, researchers discovered that the combination was not only safe and well-tolerated, but helped improve progression-free survival (PFS) by twofold compared to just nivolumab treatment. Interested in checking out the full study findings? Take a look at the New England Journal of Medicine.

The Research

Within this particular study, researchers evaluated the intersection between relatlimab and nivolumab treatment, and PFS in metastatic melanoma. Both treatments are immune checkpoint inhibitors, which help T cells mobilize to better fight cancer cells. Altogether, 714 patients enrolled. Patients had either Stage III or IV metastatic melanoma. 96% of patients enrolled were Caucasian. During the trial, patients received either nivolumab or the combination treatment. Findings from the study show:

  • 470 patients (65.8%) discontinued the trial due to metastatic melanoma progression.
  • Overall, patients receiving the combination treatment saw around 10.1 months of PFS, compared to just 4.6 months for those taking just nivolumab. Within the group receiving combination therapy, 47.7% had PFS 1-year following the trial.
  • Altogether, the combination treatment was relatively safe and well-tolerated. However, some adverse reactions did occur. These included fatigue, rash, colitis, hypothyroidism, and heightened pancreatic and liver enzyme levels.
  • However, there were five total deaths during the trial (3 receiving combination therapy and 2 receiving just nivolumab) that were found to be associated with treatment.

Metastatic Melanoma

Also known as Stage III or Stage IV melanoma, metastatic melanoma refers to cancer which spreads beyond its initial tumor and metastasizes to other areas of the body. Normally, melanoma forms in melanocytes, cells which produce melanin. In early stages, it appears as asymmetric, discolored, large, and uneven moles on the skin. However, as it spreads, it may impact other areas of the body; symptoms are largely dependent on where is affected. Risk factors for metastatic melanoma include UV light exposure, fair skin, a large number of moles, being older, or having a family history of melanoma. Once the cancer spreads, potential symptoms include:

  • Fatigue
  • Swollen and/or painful lymph nodes
  • Unintended weight loss
  • Headaches
  • Weakness or numbness in the extremities
  • Hepatomegaly (enlarged liver)
  • Appetite loss
  • Cough
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Bone pain and/or fracturing
  • Seizures

Learn more about metastatic melanoma.

Jessica Lynn

Jessica Lynn

Jessica Lynn has an educational background in writing and marketing. She firmly believes in the power of writing in amplifying voices, and looks forward to doing so for the rare disease community.

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