Purpose: TNF blockers can be used to manage gastrointestinal inflammatory side effects following nivolumab and/or ipilimumab treatment in patients with advanced melanoma. Our preclinical data showed that anti-TNF could promote the efficacy of immune checkpoint inhibitors.
Patients and methods: TICIMEL (NTC03293784) is an open-label, two-arm phase Ib clinical trial. Fourteen patients with advanced and/or metastatic melanoma (stage IIIc/IV) were enrolled. Patients were treated with nivolumab (1 mg/kg) and ipilimumab (3 mg/kg) combined to infliximab (5 mg/kg, N = 6) or certolizumab (400/200 mg, N = 8). The primary endpoint was safety and the secondary endpoint was antitumor activity. Adverse events (AEs) were graded according to the NCI Common Terminology Criteria for Adverse Events and response was assessed following RECIST 1.1.
Results: Only one dose-limiting toxicity was observed in the infliximab cohort. The two different combinations were found to be safe. We observed lower treatment-related AEs with infliximab as compared with certolizumab. In the certolizumab cohort, one patient was not evaluable for response. In this cohort, four of eight patients exhibited hepatobiliary disorders and seven of seven evaluable patients achieved objective response including four complete responses (CRs) and three partial responses (PRs). In the infliximab cohort, we observed one CR, two PRs, and three progressive diseases. Signs of activation and maturation of systemic T-cell responses were seen in patients from both cohorts.
Conclusions: Our results show that both combinations are safe in human and provide clinical and biological activities. The high response rate in the certolizumab-treated patient cohort deserves further investigations.
Trial registration: ClinicalTrials.gov NCT03293784.
©2020 American Association for Cancer Research.