Press conference moderator Suzanne L. Topalian, MD, Director of the Melanoma Program at Sidney Kimmel Comprehensive Cancer Center, Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, said, “The approval of ipilimumab [Yervoy] as first-line therapy for advanced melanoma in 2011 was a landmark moment. This was the first drug ever to show a survival advantage in melanoma. It was also a landmark moment for immunotherapy and checkpoint blockade. Ipilimumab became the gold standard for treatment of advanced melanoma.”
She continued, “KEYNOTE-006 is the first demonstration that pembrolizumab [Keytruda] is superior to ipilimumab. We expect this study to change the treatment landscape for melanoma.”
Important areas of future research include combinations of immune therapies and optimal sequencing, she noted. ■
Disclosure: Dr. Topalian receives research grants from Bristol-Myers Squibb, and her spouse is a consultant for Merck.
Pembrolizumab (Keytruda) proved superior to ipilimumab (Yervoy) for the treatment of unresectable advanced melanoma in the global phase III KEYNOTE-006 trial. Pembrolizumab significantly improved overall survival, progression-free survival, and overall response rate compared with ipilimumab, which...