In a study published in JAMA Network Open, researchers in the University of Florida College of Pharmacy used a network meta-analysis to compare novel immune checkpoint inhibitors, or ICIs, as a treatment option for advanced melanoma. In recent years, immunotherapy with novel ICIs has revolutionized the treatment approaches of advanced melanoma. Unfortunately, these treatments can cause unwanted immune-related adverse events, such as rash, diarrhea, hepatitis and pneumonia. These effects can be life threatening or severe enough to cause a patient to stop taking the treatment. Identifying which ICI treatments are most associated with the various unwanted events can help clinicians choose the best treatment for their patients.
Weihsuan “Jenny” Lo-Ciganic, Ph.D., M.S., M.S.Pharm., an assistant professor of pharmaceutical outcomes and policy in the UF College of Pharmacy, and Ching-Yuan “Peggy” Chang, M.S., a graduate student in the department, led the meta-analyisis. Their study found that two pembrolizumab regimens (2 mg/kg by intravenous infusion every three weeks or 10 mg/kg by intravenous infusion every three weeks), and one nivolumab regimen (3 mg/kg by intravenous infusion every two weeks) were the three ICI regimens with the lowest risk of any or severe immune-related adverse events. By using network analysis, the team was able to compare results from randomized trials even when head-to-head comparisons were lacking. Lo-Ciganic said study’s findings may be valuable for clinical decision-making regarding treatment regimen selection for individuals with advanced melanoma.