Melanoma Coverage from Every Angle

‘Priming’ Patients With Advanced Melanoma for Retreatment With Checkpoint Inhibitors

By: Sarah Campen, PharmD
Posted: Friday, January 10, 2020

For patients with melanoma that is resistant to checkpoint inhibitor immunotherapy, limited treatment options exist. An early phase II study conducted by Andre van der Westhuizen, MD, of the Calvary Mater Newcastle Hospital and University of Newcastle in Australia, suggests that “priming” these patients by sequentially administering azacitidine and carboplatin may allow for successful retreatment with checkpoint inhibitors. The results of the PRIME002 study were presented at the 2019 International Congress of The Society for Melanoma Research (SMR) in Salt Lake City.

The investigators enrolled seven patients with primary immunotherapy-resistant metastatic melanoma who had previously received at least six cycles of pembrolizumab or combination ipilimumab and nivolumab. In this study, patients received two priming cycles, with each cycle consisting of azacitidine for 5 days followed by carboplatin on day 8 of a 28-day cycle. Then, avelumab was administered every 2 weeks until disease progression.

All seven patients received two cycles of azacitidine and carboplatin and six doses of avelumab. After the priming cycles, the overall response and disease control rates were 14% and 100%, respectively; after six doses of azacitidine, the rates were 28.6% and 71.4%, respectively.

“The results meet the criteria for continuation and expansion,” concluded Dr. van der Westhuizen and colleagues.

Disclosure: For full disclosures of the study authors, visit

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