Mario Sznol, MD, explains the evaluation of efficacy and safety when examining the benefits of new immunotherapy combinations in cancer.
Mario Sznol, MD, a professor of Medicine (Medical Oncology) and the co-leader of Cancer Immunology at Yale Cancer Center, and the co-director of Yale SPORE in Skin Cancer, explains the evaluation of efficacy and safety when examining the benefits of new immunotherapy combinations in cancer.
When leveraging novel immunotherapy agents in the treatment of patients with cancer, the 2 goals of treatment are to increase survival rates and lower adverse effects (AEs), Sznol says.
In March 2022, the FDA approved the fixed-dose combination of relatlimab plus nivolumab (Opdivo; Opdualag) for the treatment of adult and pediatric patients who are 12 years of age or older and who have unresectable or metastatic melanoma. However, it is still not clear whether this combination has improved the 5-year cure rate for these patients compared with other agents and combinations, Sznol notes.
The patients who benefited from the addition of relatlimab to nivolumab could be the same patients who would have benefited from the addition of ipilimumab (Yervoy) to nivolumab, Sznol explains. If the survival curve does not change, a major treatment advancement has not been made, Sznol says.
However, the relatlimab/nivolumab data are still significant because they showed an improved safety profile compared with ipilimumab/nivolumab combinations, Sznol adds. Achieving a similar cure rate to other available regimens with a lower AE rate represents a step forward, Sznol concludes.