Expert Point of View: Padmanee Sharma, MD, PhD

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“When we treat our patients, overall survival is the gold standard. We are all waiting for phase III overall survival data from CheckMate 067,” said formal discussant Padmanee Sharma, MD, PhD, Professor; Scientific Director of the Immunotherapy Platform; and Co-Director of the Parker Institute for Cancer Immunotherapy at MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston.

Based on data from CheckMate 066 and CheckMate 069, she noted, “Some patients will benefit from ipilimumab monotherapy, with a 2-year overall survival rate of 54%. And some patients will benefit from nivolumab monotherapy, with a 2-year overall survival rate of 57%. And some will require combination therapy, with a 2-year overall survival rate of 64%.

“The important question is which patients will require which treatment to maximize survival and minimize toxicity,” she continued.

“We have to look within the tumor tissue, and to do that we need a longitudinal tissue study to identify biomarkers that can guide treatment decisions. It is possible that monotherapy can do the job in some patients,” Dr. Sharma stated.

“We still have to identify novel immune checkpoint strategies and think about how to improve overall survival with combinations. We can now get durable overall survival, and how we select patients for monotherapy and combination therapy will be important,” she concluded. ■

Disclosure: Dr. Sharma reported no potential conflicts of interest.

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