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Jeffrey S. Weber, MD, PhD, discusses unmet needs in ocular and mucosal melanoma.
Jeffrey S. Weber, MD, PhD, Laura and Isaac Perlmutter Professor of Oncology, Department of Medicine, NYU Grossman School of Medicine, deputy director, Perlmutter Cancer Center, codirector, Melanoma Research Program, NYU Langone Health, discusses unmet needs in ocular and mucosal melanoma.
Despite significant advances in the treatment of patients with melanoma, such as the integration of nivolumab (Opdivo) plus ipilimumab (Yervoy), around half of patients treated need additional therapy, Weber says. As such, therapeutic development is important in melanoma, particularly for the ocular and mucosal subtypes.
In August 2021, the FDA granted a priority review designation to the biologics license application of tebentafusp (IMCgp100) for the treatment of adult patients with HLA-A*02:01–positive metastatic uveal melanoma. Data from the phase 3 IMCgp100-202 trial (NCT03070392) demonstrated a median overall survival of 21.7 months with tebentafusp vs 16 months with investigator’s choice of pembrolizumab (Keytruda), ipilimumab (Yervoy), or dacarbazine in this patient population.
However, beyond this agent, no therapies are approved for use in patients with metastatic uveal or ocular melanomas, underscoring the need for novel therapies. Moreover, clinical trials evaluating adjuvant therapy in ocular melanoma are needed, Weber adds.
Similarly, novel therapies are needed in mucosal melanoma where the combination of nivolumab and ipilimumab is not as effective as it is in cutaneous melanoma, Weber says. Although most melanomas and melanomas of unknown origin are likely cutaneous, the 5% of patients with ocular, mucosal, or acral lentiginous melanomas that are characterized by low mutation burden and are less sensitive to immunotherapy represent an area of significant unmet need, Weber concludes.