Rescuing Cancer Immunity by Plasma Exchange in Metastatic Melanoma (ReCIPE-M1): protocol for a single-institution, open-label safety trial of plasma exchange to clear sPD-L1 for immunotherapy

BMJ Open. 2022 May 12;12(5):e050112. doi: 10.1136/bmjopen-2021-050112.


Background: Patients with metastatic melanoma rely on PD-(L)1 immunotherapy, but only one-third of patients experience treatment response and all initial responders eventually develop resistance. Tumour-derived extracellular vesicles expressing Programmed death ligand 1 (evPD-L1) and soluble Programmed death ligand 1 (sPD-L1) in peripheral blood of patients with melanoma limit PD-(L)1 immunotherapy and correlate with poor survival. Therapeutic plasma exchange (TPE) removes immunosuppressive evPD-L1 and sPD-L1. We hypothesise that TPE may rescue and restore antimelanoma immunity.

Methods: In this two-arm study, 60 patients with metastatic melanoma progressing on checkpoint inhibition will be accrued. All patients will undergo radiotherapy on days 1-5 (at least one measurable lesion will not be irradiated) and ongoing checkpoint inhibition on day 8 and every 2-3 weeks per standard of care. Patients with baseline sPD-L1 level of ≥1.7 ng/mL and adequate clinical capacity will be enrolled in the TPE intervention arm and will undergo TPE on days 5-7, in addition to standard of care radiotherapy and immunotherapy. Other patients will remain in the standard of care arm.The primary endpoint of the study is to evaluate safety. Secondary endpoints include kinetics of sPD-L1 and evPD-L1 and clinical response by RECIST (Response Evaluation Criteria in Solid Tumors) criteria. Study registered at (NCT04581382).

Ethics and dissemination: This trial has been approved by the Mayo Clinic Institutional Review Board. It will assess the safety and feasibility of TPE in improving outcomes for PD-(L)1 inhibitor immunotherapy in melanoma. Data will be maintained on a secure database with deidentified patient information. Data will be shared on publication in a peer-reviewed journal without the aid of professional writers. If successful, this trial will lay the ground for phase II studies that will include cancer treated with PD-(L)1 inhibitors which may benefit from TPE such as renal, bladder and lung cancers.

Trial registration number: NCT04581382.

Keywords: IMMUNOLOGY; ONCOLOGY; Prostate disease; Radiobiology.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial Protocol

MeSH terms

  • B7-H1 Antigen
  • Humans
  • Immunotherapy / methods
  • Lung Neoplasms* / therapy
  • Melanoma* / therapy
  • Neoplasms, Second Primary*
  • Plasma Exchange


  • B7-H1 Antigen

Associated data