Despite the dramatic improvements in recurrence-free survival in patients with metastatic melanoma treated with immune checkpoint inhibitors (ICI), a number of patients develop metastases during adjuvant therapy. It is not currently possible to predict which patients are most likely to develop disease recurrence due to a lack of reliable biomarkers. Thus, we retrospectively analyzed the case records of all patients who commenced adjuvant ICI therapy between January 2018 and December 2021 in a single university skin cancer center (n = 46) (i) to determine the rates of disease recurrence, (ii) to examine the utility of established markers, and (iii) to examine whether re-challenge with immunotherapy resulted in clinical response. Twelve out of forty-six (26%) patients developed a relapse on adjuvant immunotherapy in our cohort, and the median time to relapse was 139 days. Adjuvant immunotherapy was continued in three patients. Of the twelve patients who developed recurrence during adjuvant immunotherapy, seven had further disease recurrence within the observation period, with a median time of 112 days after the first progress. There was no significant difference comparing early recurrence (<180 days after initiation) on adjuvant immunotherapy to late recurrence (>180 days after initiation) on adjuvant immunotherapy. Classical tumor markers, including serum lactate dehydrogenase (LDH) and S-100, were unreliable for the detection of disease recurrence. Baseline lymphocyte and eosinophil counts and those during immunotherapy were not associated with disease recurrence. Interestingly, patients with NRAS mutations were disproportionately represented (60%) in the patients who developed disease recurrence, suggesting that these patients should be closely monitored during adjuvant therapy.
Research Areas and Centers
- Academic Focus: Center for Infection and Inflammation Research (ZIEL)
- Centers: Center for Research on Inflammation of the Skin (CRIS)
DFG Research Classification Scheme
- 204-05 Immunology
- 205-19 Dermatology