Anti-cytotoxic T lymphocyte antigen-4 antibodies in melanoma
Giulio Tosti, Emilia Cocorocchio, Elisabetta Pennacchioli
Divisione Melanomi e Sarcomi, Istituto Europeo di Oncologia, Milano, Italy
Abstract: Approaches aimed at enhancement of the tumor specific response have provided proof for the rationale of immunotherapy in cancer, both in animal models and in humans. Ipilimumab, an anti-cytotoxic T lymphocyte antigen-4 (CTLA-4) antibody, is a new generation immunotherapeutic agent that has shown activity in terms of disease free and overall survival in metastatic melanoma patients. Its use was approved by the US Food and Drug Administration in March 2011 to treat patients with late stage melanoma that has spread or that cannot be removed by surgery. The mechanism of action of CTLA-4 antibodies in the activation of an antitumor immune response and selected clinical studies of ipilimumab in advanced melanoma patients are discussed. Ipilimumab treatment has been associated with immune related adverse events due to T-cell activation and proliferation. Most of these serious adverse effects are associated with the gastrointestinal tract and include severe diarrhea and colitis. The relationship between immune related adverse events and antitumor activity associated with ipilimumab was explored in clinical studies. Potential biomarkers predictive for clinical response and survival in patients treated with anti-CTLA-4 therapy are presently under investigation. Besides the conventional patterns of response and stable disease as defined by standard Response Evaluation Criteria in Solid Tumors criteria, in subsets of patients, ipilimumab has shown patterns of delayed clinical activity which were associated with an improved overall survival. For this reason a new set of response criteria for tumor immunotherapy has been proposed, which was termed immune related response criteria. These new criteria are presently used to better analyze clinical activity of immunotherapeutic regimens. Ipilimumab is currently under investigation in combination with other treatments, such as chemotherapy, target agents, radiotherapy, and other immunotherapeutic regimens.
Keywords: CTLA-4, CTLA-4 blockade, ipilimumab, metastatic melanoma, immunotherapy
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