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Safety and efficacy of the combination of nivolumab plus ipilimumab in patients with melanoma and asymptomatic or symptomatic brain metastases (CheckMate 204)



In patients with melanoma and asymptomatic brain metastases (MBM), nivolumab plus ipilimumab provided an intracranial response rate of 55%. Here, we present the first report for patients who were symptomatic and/or required corticosteroids and updated data for asymptomatic patients.


Patients with measurable MBM, 0.5-3.0 cm, were enrolled into Cohort A (asymptomatic) or Cohort B (stable neurologic symptoms and/or receiving corticosteroids). Nivolumab, 1 mg/kg, and ipilimumab, 3 mg/kg, were given intravenously every 3 weeks ×4, followed by nivolumab, 3 mg/kg, every 2 weeks until progression, unacceptable toxicity, or 24 months. The primary endpoint was intracranial clinical benefit rate (CBR; complete response [CR], partial response [PR], or stable disease ≥6 months).


Symptomatic patients (N = 18) received a median of one nivolumab and ipilimumab combination dose and had an intracranial CBR of 22.2%. Two of 12 patients on corticosteroids had CR; 2 responded among the 6 not on corticosteroids. Median intracranial progression-free survival (PFS) and overall survival (OS) were 1.2 and 8.7 months, respectively. In contrast, with 20.6 months of follow-up, we confirmed an intracranial CBR of 58.4% in asymptomatic patients (N = 101); median duration of response, PFS, and OS were not reached. No new safety signals were observed.


Nivolumab plus ipilimumab provides durable clinical benefit for asymptomatic patients with MBM and should be considered for first-line therapy. This regimen has limited activity in MBM patients with neurologic symptoms and/or requiring corticosteroids, supporting the need for alternative approaches and methods to reduce the dependency on corticosteroids. Clinical trial registration., NCT02320058.

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