Combining talimogene laherparepvec with immunotherapies in melanoma and other solid tumors

Cancer Immunol Immunother. 2017 Jun;66(6):683-695. doi: 10.1007/s00262-017-1967-1. Epub 2017 Feb 25.


Talimogene laherparepvec is a first-in-class intralesional oncolytic immunotherapy. In a recent Phase III trial (OPTiM), talimogene laherparepvec significantly improved durable response rate compared with subcutaneous granulocyte-macrophage colony-stimulating factor (GM-CSF). Overall response rate was also higher in the talimogene laherparepvec arm, and the greatest efficacy was demonstrated in patients with earlier-stage (IIIB, IIIC, or IVM1a) melanoma. Talimogene laherparepvec was well tolerated, with the majority (89%) of adverse events being grade 1 or 2. Preclinical studies have shown that talimogene laherparepvec exerts antitumor activity by selectively replicating within and destroying cancer cells, and through the release of tumor-associated antigens and expression of GM-CSF, which facilitates a wider antitumor immune response. It is hypothesized that combining talimogene laherparepvec with a systemic immunotherapy may, by bringing together complementary mechanisms of action, further enhance the efficacy of both agents. Indeed, talimogene laherparepvec is currently being assessed in combination with immune checkpoint inhibitors, including ipilimumab and pembrolizumab, in trials for melanoma and other solid tumors. Early results in melanoma indicate that the combination of talimogene laherparepvec with ipilimumab or pembrolizumab has greater efficacy than either therapy alone, without additional safety concerns above those expected for each monotherapy. In this review, we discuss the latest results from trials assessing talimogene laherparepvec in combination with other immunotherapies, provide an overview of ongoing and upcoming combination trials, and suggest future directions for talimogene laherparepvec in combination therapy for solid tumors.

Keywords: Checkpoint inhibitors; Combination treatment; Immunotherapy; Melanoma; Solid tumors; Talimogene laherparepvec.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Combined Modality Therapy
  • Humans
  • Immunotherapy*
  • Melanoma / immunology
  • Melanoma / therapy*
  • Neoplasms / immunology
  • Neoplasms / therapy*
  • Oncolytic Virotherapy*
  • Oncolytic Viruses / immunology*