Nivolumab combined with ipilimumab resulted in longer progression-free survival and a higher objective response rate than ipilimumab alone in a phase 3 trial involving patients with advanced melanoma. We now report 3-year overall survival outcomes in this trial.
We randomly assigned, in a 1:1:1 ratio, patients with previously untreated advanced melanoma to receive nivolumab at a dose of 1 mg per kilogram of body weight plus ipilimumab at a dose of 3 mg per kilogram every 3 weeks for four doses, followed by nivolumab at a dose of 3 mg per kilogram every 2 weeks; nivolumab at a dose of 3 mg per kilogram every 2 weeks plus placebo; or ipilimumab at a dose of 3 mg per kilogram every 3 weeks for four doses plus placebo, until progression, the occurrence of unacceptable toxic effects, or withdrawal of consent. Randomization was stratified according to programmed death ligand 1 (PD-L1) status, BRAF mutation status, and metastasis stage. The two primary end points were progression-free survival and overall survival in the nivolumab-plus-ipilimumab group and in the nivolumab group versus the ipilimumab group.
At a minimum follow-up of 36 months, the median overall survival had not been reached in the nivolumab-plus-ipilimumab group and was 37.6 months in the nivolumab group, as compared with 19.9 months in the ipilimumab group (hazard ratio for death with nivolumab plus ipilimumab vs. ipilimumab, 0.55 [P<0.001]; hazard ratio for death with nivolumab vs. ipilimumab, 0.65 [P<0.001]). The overall survival rate at 3 years was 58% in the nivolumab-plus-ipilimumab group and 52% in the nivolumab group, as compared with 34% in the ipilimumab group. The safety profile was unchanged from the initial report. Treatment-related adverse events of grade 3 or 4 occurred in 59% of the patients in the nivolumab-plus-ipilimumab group, in 21% of those in the nivolumab group, and in 28% of those in the ipilimumab group.
Among patients with advanced melanoma, significantly longer overall survival occurred with combination therapy with nivolumab plus ipilimumab or with nivolumab alone than with ipilimumab alone. (Funded by Bristol-Myers Squibb and others; CheckMate 067 ClinicalTrials.gov number, NCT01844505.)