PURPOSE Preclinical data suggest the combination of an anti–programmed death receptor 1 antibody plus dabrafenib and trametinib to have superior antitumor activity compared with dabrafenib plus trametinib alone. These observations are supported by translational evidence suggesting that immune checkpoint inhibitors plus targeted therapy may improve treatment outcomes in patients with BRAF V600–mutant metastatic melanoma. COMBI-i is a phase III trial evaluating spartalizumab, an anti–programmed death receptor 1 antibody, in combination with dabrafenib and trametinib (sparta-DabTram), versus placebo plus dabrafenib and trametinib (placebo-DabTram) in patients with BRAF V600–mutant unresectable or metastatic melanoma. METHODS Patients received spartalizumab 400 mg intravenously every 4 weeks plus dabrafenib 150 mg orally twice daily and trametinib 2 mg orally once daily or placebo-DabTram. Participants were age ≥ 18 years with unresectable or metastatic BRAF V600–mutant melanoma. The primary end point was investigator-assessed progression-free survival. Overall survival was a key secondary end point (ClinicalTrials.gov identifier: NCT02967692 ). RESULTS At data cutoff (July 1, 2020), the median progression-free survival was 16.2 months (95% CI, 12.7 to 23.9 months) in the sparta-DabTram arm versus 12.0 months (95% CI, 10.2 to 15.4 months) in the placebo-DabTram arm (hazard ratio, 0.82 [95% CI, 0.66 to 1.03]; P = .042 [one-sided; nonsignificant]). The objective response rates were 69% (183 of 267 patients) versus 64% (170 of 265 patients), respectively. Grade ≥ 3 treatment-related adverse events occurred in 55% (146 of 267) of patients in the sparta-DabTram arm and 33% (88 of 264) in the placebo-DabTram arm. CONCLUSION The study did not meet its primary end point; broad first-line use of sparta-DabTram is not supported by these results. Further biomarker-driven investigation may identify patient subpopulations who could benefit from checkpoint inhibitor plus targeted therapy combinations.
AbstractCountless biophysical studies have sought distinct markers in the cellular mechanical response that could be linked to morphogenesis, homeostasis, and disease. Here, an iterative-fitting methodology visualizes the time-dependent viscoelastic behavior of human skin cells under physiologically relevant conditions. Past investigations often involved parameterizing elastic relationships and assuming purely Hertzian contact mechanics, which fails to properly account for the rich temporal information available. We demonstrate the performance superiority of the proposed iterative viscoelastic characterization method over standard open-search approaches. Our viscoelastic measurements revealed that 2D adherent metastatic melanoma cells exhibit reduced elasticity compared to their normal counterparts—melanocytes and fibroblasts, and are significantly less viscous than fibroblasts over timescales spanning three orders of magnitude. The measured loss angle indicates clear differential viscoelastic responses across multiple timescales between the measured cells. This method provides insight into the complex viscoelastic behavior of metastatic melanoma cells relevant to better understanding cancer metastasis and aggression.
Immune checkpoint inhibitors (ICI) have revolutionized the therapeutic landscape of metastatic melanoma. However, ICI are often associated with immune-related adverse events (IRAE) such as colitis, hepatitis, pancreatitis, hypophysitis, pneumonitis, thyroiditis, exanthema, nephritis, myositis, encephalitis, or myocarditis. Biomarkers associated with the occurrence of IRAE would be desirable. In the literature, there is only little data available and furthermore mostly speculative, especially in view of genetic alterations. Our major aim was to check for possible associations between NGS-based genetic alterations and IRAE. We therefore analyzed 95 melanoma patients with ICI and evaluated their NGS results. We checked the data in view of potential associations between copy number variations (CNVs), small variations (VARs), human leucocyte antigen (HLA), sex, blood count parameters, pre-existing autoimmune diseases and the occurrence of IRAE. We conducted a literature research on genetic alterations hypothesized to be associated with the occurrence of IRAE. In total, we identified 39 genes that have been discussed as hypothetical biomarkers. We compared the list of these 39 genes with the tumor panel that our patients had received and focused our study on those 16 genes that were also included in the tumor panel used for NGS. Therefore, we focused our analyses on the following genes: AIRE, TERT, SH2B3, LRRK2, IKZF1, SMAD3, JAK2, PRDM1, CTLA4, TSHR, FAN1, SLCO1B1, PDCD1, IL1RN, CD274, UNG. We obtained relevant results: female sex was significantly associated with the development of hepatitis, combined immunotherapy with colitis, increased total and relative monocytes at therapy initiation were significantly associated with the development of pancreatitis, the same, pre-existing autoimmune diseases. Further significant associations were as follows: HLA homozygosity (hepatitis), and VARs on SMAD3 (pancreatitis). Regarding CNVs, significant markers included PRDM1 deletions and IL1RN (IRAE), CD274 duplications and SLCO1B1 (hepatitis), PRDM1 and CD274 (encephalitis), and PRDM1, CD274, TSHR, and FAN1 (myositis). Myositis and encephalitis, both, were associated with alterations of PRDM1 and CD274, which might explain their joined appearance in clinical practice. The association between HLA homozygosity and IRAE was clarified by finding HLA-A homozygosity as determining factor. We identified several genetic alterations hypothesized in the literature to be associated with the development of IRAE and found significant results concerning pre-existing autoimmune diseases and specific blood count parameters. Our findings can help to better understand the development of IRAE in melanoma patients. NGS might be a useful screening tool, however, our findings have yet to be confirmed in larger studies.