The efficacy of nivolumab is greater than that of other anti-melanoma drugs, so nivolumab-based combined therapies that enhance anti-tumor immune responses in patients with metastatic melanoma are of great interest to dermato-oncologists. As we have previously reported, IFN-β enhances the anti-tumor immune response of anti-PD-1 antibodies against B16F10 melanoma in vivo. To explore the potential of this property of IFN-β as part of a combination therapy for the treatment of metastatic melanoma patients, we performed a phase 1 trial, using a traditional rule-based 3 + 3 design, on patients with advanced melanoma. The nivolumab dose was fixed at 2 mg/kg, every 3 weeks. IFN-β was administered to three groups at doses of 1 million, 2 million, and 3 million units, respectively. Dose-limiting toxicities were defined as any grade 3-5 adverse events occurring between day 0 and day 42 that might possibly be related to nivolumab and IFN-β. Of the nine patients who received this combined therapy, none experienced doselimiting toxicities, and all completed the treatment phase of the study. Patient follow-up continued for 6 months following the final treatment. There were two complete responses (22%) and one partial response (11%), all of which occurred in patients who had received monthly IFN-β immediately prior to the study. In this study, we determined the safe dose of IFN-β, when combined with nivolumab, to be 3 million units. To determine the efficacy of this combination therapy, further phase II trials are required.
- Safe dose
- Traditional rule-based 3 + 3 design
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