Multi-institutional, prospective, randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled phase IIb trial of the tumor lysate, particle-loaded, dendritic cell (TLPLDC) vaccine to prevent recurrence in high-risk melanoma patients: A subgroup analysis
BACKGROUND: Checkpoint inhibitors (CPI) in combination with cell-based vaccines may produce synergistic antitumor immunity. The primary analysis of the randomized and blinded phase IIb trial in resected stage III/IV melanoma demonstrated TLPLDC is safe and improved 24-month disease-free survival (DFS) in the per treatment (PT) analysis. Here, we examine efficacy within pre-specified and exploratory subgroups.
METHODS: Stage III/IV patients rendered disease-free by surgery were randomized 2:1 to TLPLDC vaccine versus placebo. The pre-specified PT analysis included only patients completing the primary vaccine/placebo series at 6 months. Kaplan-Meier analysis was used to compare 24-month DFS among subgroups.
RESULTS: There were no clinicopathologic differences between subgroups except stage IV patients were more likely to receive CPI. In stage IV patients, 24-month DFS was 43% for vaccine versus 0% for placebo (p = 0.098) in the ITT analysis and 73% versus 0% (p = 0.002) in the PT analysis. There was no significant difference in 24-month DFS when stratified by use of immunotherapy or CPI. For patients with resected recurrent disease, 24-month DFS was 88.9% versus 33.3% (p = 0.013) in the PT analysis. All benefit from vaccination was in the PT analysis; no benefit was found in patients receiving up to three doses.
CONCLUSION: The TLPLDC vaccine improved DFS in patients completing the primary vaccine series, particularly in the resected stage IV patients. The efficacy of the TLPLDC vaccine will be confirmed in a phase III study evaluating adjuvant TLPLDC + CPI versus Placebo + CPI in resected stage IV melanoma patients.