Upcoming events – Roche and Novartis hope to push forward again in melanoma

Source: Evaluate, October 2019

Welcome to your weekly roundup of approaching clinical readouts. The treatment of Braf-driven melanoma has been transformed by Braf and Mek inhibitors, which produce dramatic responses. Most patients relapse within a year, however, and a big question is whether adding anti-PD-(L)1 to the mix could help more people live longer.

Two phase III trials, being run by Roche and Novartis, are due to yield results before the end of the year, and promise to provide the first robust look at a triple combination strategy in this setting. Earlier studies have hinted at additional benefits with substantially greater toxicity, and clear survival benefits will need to be seen to drive another big step forward.

Still, the success of Opdivo plus Yervoy, a very toxic regimen that has also been responsible for transforming melanoma treatment, shows that some patients are willing to bear substantial risks if a durable response – or perhaps a cure – is possible. Not everyone responds to immunotherapies, however, and this is also likely to be seen in Roche and Novartis’s triple studies.

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