THURSDAY, Jan. 6, 2022 (HealthDay News) — For patients with previously untreated metastatic or unresectable melanoma, the combination of relatlimab, a lymphocyte-activation gene 3-blocking antibody, and nivolumab, a programmed death 1-blocking antibody, provides greater benefit in terms of progression-free survival than nivolumab alone, according to a study published in the Jan. 6 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine.

Hussein A. Tawbi, M.D., Ph.D., from the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, and colleagues examined relatlimab and nivolumab as a fixed-dose combination compared with nivolumab alone administered intravenously every four weeks to patients with previously untreated metastatic or unresectable melanoma.

The researchers found that the median progression-free survival was 10.1 and 4.6 months with relatlimab-nivolumab and nivolumab, respectively (hazard ratio for progression or death, 0.75). At 12 months, progression-free survival was 47.7 and 36.0 percent with relatlimab-nivolumab and nivolumab, respectively. Across key subgroups, progression-free survival favored relatlimab-nivolumab over nivolumab. Grade 3 or 4 treatment-related adverse events occurred in 18.9 and 9.7 percent of patients in the relatlimab-nivolumab and nivolumab groups, respectively.

“These data further support the added benefit of dual checkpoint inhibition over monotherapy, add another immune checkpoint combination to the therapeutic armamentarium, and establish relatlimab-nivolumab as a potential new treatment option for patients with previously untreated metastatic or unresectable melanoma,” the authors write.

The study was funded by Bristol Myers Squibb, the manufacturer of relatlimab.

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