Ipilmumab and cranial radiation in metastatic melanoma patients: a case series and review.


BACKGROUND: Ipilimumab improves survival in metastatic melanoma patients. This population frequently develops brain metastases, which have been associated with poor survival and are often treated with radiation. Therefore, outcomes following ipilimumab and radiation are of interest, especially given case reports and animal studies suggest combined treatment may generate abscopal responses outside the radiation field. FINDINGS: We reviewed sixteen consecutive melanoma patients who received 1 to 8 courses of radiation, with a sum total of 51, systematically evaluating abscopal responses by following the largest extra-cranial lesion. We also reviewed other series of patients treated with cranial radiation and ipilimumab. Our patients received between 1 and 8 courses of cranial radiation. Four patients received radiation concurrently with ipilimumab. Median survival was 14 months, and 17 months in patients initially treated with SRS. Interestingly, after radiotherapy, there was a 2.8-fold increased likelihood that the rate of extra-cranial index lesion response improved that didn't reach statistical significance (p = 0.07); this was more pronounced when ipilimumab was administered within three months of radiation (p < 0.01). CONCLUSION: Our experience and review of recently published series suggest ipilimumab and cranial radiation is well tolerated and can result in prolonged survival. Timing of ipilimumab administration in relation to radiation may impact outcomes. Additionally, our results demonstrate a trend for favorable systemic response following radiotherapy worthy of further evaluation in studies powered to detect potential synergies between radiation and immunotherapy.





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Publication Info

Schoenfeld, Jonathan D, Anand Mahadevan, Scott R Floyd, Michael A Dyer, Paul J Catalano, Brian M Alexander, David F McDermott, Irving D Kaplan, et al. (2015). Ipilmumab and cranial radiation in metastatic melanoma patients: a case series and review. J Immunother Cancer, 3. p. 50. 10.1186/s40425-015-0095-8 Retrieved from https://hdl.handle.net/10161/15935.

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Scott Richard Floyd

Gary Hock and Lyn Proctor Associate Professor of Radiation Oncology

Diseases of the brain carry particular morbidity and mortality, given the fundamental function of the brain for human life and quality of life. Disease of the brain are also particularly difficult to study, given the complexity of the brain. Model systems that capture this complexity, but still allow for experiments to test therapies and mechanisms of disease are badly needed.  We have developed an experimental model system that uses slices made from rat and mouse brains to create a test platform to research new treatments for brain diseases such as stroke, Alzheimer's disease, Huntington's disease and brain tumors. This model system reduces the number of experimental animals used, and streamlines experiments so that final testing in laboratory animals is more efficient. We use this brainslice system and limited numbers of experimental animals to test drugs and genetic pathways to treat stroke, Alzheimer's disease, Huntington's disease and brain tumors. As many brain tumors are treated with radiation therapy, we have a particular interest in the cellular response to DNA damage caused by radiation. DNA damage signaling and repair are fundamental processes necessary for cells to maintain genomic integrity. Problems with these processes can lead to cancer. As many cancer cells have altered DNA damage and repair pathways, we can apply DNA damage as cancer therapy. Our knowledge of how normal and neoplastic cells handle DNA damage is still incomplete. A deeper understanding can lead to improved cancer treatment, and to better protection from the harmful effects of DNA damaging agents like radiation. To this end, we plan experiments that test the effects of radiation on normal animal tissues and animal models of cancer, as well as molecular pathways in brain diseases such as Alzheimer’s, Huntington’s and stroke.

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