Background: Nivolumab combined with ipilimumab resulted in longer progression-free survival and a higher objective response rate than ipilimumab alone in a phase 3 trial involving patients with advanced melanoma. We now report 3-year overall survival outcomes in this trial.
Methods: We randomly assigned, in a 1:1:1 ratio, patients with previously untreated advanced melanoma to receive nivolumab at a dose of 1 mg per kilogram of body weight plus ipilimumab at a dose of 3 mg per kilogram every 3 weeks for four doses, followed by nivolumab at a dose of 3 mg per kilogram every 2 weeks; nivolumab at a dose of 3 mg per kilogram every 2 weeks plus placebo; or ipilimumab at a dose of 3 mg per kilogram every 3 weeks for four doses plus placebo, until progression, the occurrence of unacceptable toxic effects, or withdrawal of consent. Randomization was stratified according to programmed death ligand 1 (PD-L1) status, BRAF mutation status, and metastasis stage. The two primary end points were progression-free survival and overall survival in the nivolumab-plus-ipilimumab group and in the nivolumab group versus the ipilimumab group.
Results: At a minimum follow-up of 36 months, the median overall survival had not been reached in the nivolumab-plus-ipilimumab group and was 37.6 months in the nivolumab group, as compared with 19.9 months in the ipilimumab group (hazard ratio for death with nivolumab plus ipilimumab vs. ipilimumab, 0.55 [P<0.001]; hazard ratio for death with nivolumab vs. ipilimumab, 0.65 [P<0.001]). The overall survival rate at 3 years was 58% in the nivolumab-plus-ipilimumab group and 52% in the nivolumab group, as compared with 34% in the ipilimumab group. The safety profile was unchanged from the initial report. Treatment-related adverse events of grade 3 or 4 occurred in 59% of the patients in the nivolumab-plus-ipilimumab group, in 21% of those in the nivolumab group, and in 28% of those in the ipilimumab group.
Conclusions: Among patients with advanced melanoma, significantly longer overall survival occurred with combination therapy with nivolumab plus ipilimumab or with nivolumab alone than with ipilimumab alone. (Funded by Bristol-Myers Squibb and others; CheckMate 067 ClinicalTrials.gov number, NCT01844505 .).