Extended Follow-Up of Chronic Immune-Related Adverse Events Following Adjuvant Anti-PD-1 Therapy for High-Risk Resected Melanoma

Rachel S. Goodman, Aleigha Lawless, Rachel Woodford, Faisal Fa'Ak, Asha Tipirneni, J. Randall Patrinely, Hui Ling Yeoh, Suthee Rapisuwon, Andrew Haydon, Iman Osman, Janice M. Mehnert, Georgina V. Long, Ryan J. Sullivan, Matteo S. Carlino, Alexander M. Menzies, Douglas B. Johnson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Importance: Anti-programmable cell death-1 (anti-PD-1) improves relapse-free survival when used as adjuvant therapy for high-risk resected melanoma. However, it can lead to immune-related adverse events (irAEs), which become chronic in approximately 40% of patients with high-risk melanoma treated with adjuvant anti-PD-1. Objective: To determine the incidence, characteristics, and long-term outcomes of chronic irAEs from adjuvant anti-PD-1 therapy. Design, Setting, and Participants: This retrospective multicenter cohort study analyzed patients treated with adjuvant anti-PD-1 therapy for advanced and metastatic melanoma between 2015 and 2022 from 6 institutions in the US and Australia with at least 18 months of evaluable follow-up after treatment cessation (range, 18.2 to 70.4 months). Main Outcomes and Measures: Incidence, spectrum, and ultimate resolution vs persistence of chronic irAEs (defined as those persisting at least 3 months after therapy cessation). Descriptive statistics were used to analyze categorical and continuous variables. Kaplan-Meier curves assessed survival, and Wilson score intervals were used to calculate CIs for proportions. Results: Among 318 patients, 190 (59.7%) were male (median [IQR] age, 61 [52.3-72.0] years), 270 (84.9%) had a cutaneous primary, and 237 (74.5%) were stage IIIB or IIIC at presentation. Additionally, 226 patients (63.7%) developed acute irAEs arising during treatment, including 44 (13.8%) with grade 3 to 5 irAEs. Chronic irAEs, persisting at least 3 months after therapy cessation, developed in 147 patients (46.2%; 95% CI, 0.41-0.52), of which 74 (50.3%) were grade 2 or more, 6 (4.1%) were grade 3 to 5, and 100 (68.0%) were symptomatic. With long-term follow-up (median [IQR], 1057 [915-1321] days), 54 patients (36.7%) experienced resolution of chronic irAEs (median [IQR] time to resolution of 19.7 [14.4-31.5] months from anti-PD-1 start and 11.2 [8.1-20.7] months from anti-PD-1 cessation). Among patients with persistent irAEs present at last follow-up (93 [29.2%] of original cohort; 95% CI, 0.25-0.34); 55 (59.1%) were grade 2 or more; 41 (44.1%) were symptomatic; 24 (25.8%) were using therapeutic systemic steroids (16 [67%] of whom were on replacement steroids for hypophysitis (8 [50.0%]) and adrenal insufficiency (8 [50.0%]), and 42 (45.2%) were using other management. Among the 54 patients, the most common persistent chronic irAEs were hypothyroid (38 [70.4%]), arthritis (18 [33.3%]), dermatitis (9 [16.7%]), and adrenal insufficiency (8 [14.8%]). Furthermore, 54 [17.0%] patients experienced persistent endocrinopathies, 48 (15.1%) experienced nonendocrinopathies, and 9 (2.8%) experienced both. Of 37 patients with chronic irAEs who received additional immunotherapy, 25 (67.6%) experienced no effect on chronic irAEs whereas 12 (32.4%) experienced a flare in their chronic toxicity. Twenty patients (54.1%) experienced a distinct irAE. Conclusions and Relevance: In this cohort study of 318 patients who received adjuvant anti-PD-1, chronic irAEs were common, affected diverse organ systems, and often persisted with long-term follow-up requiring steroids and additional management. These findings highlight the likelihood of persistent toxic effects when considering adjuvant therapies and need for long-term monitoring and management..

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)E2327145
JournalJAMA Network Open
Issue number8
StatePublished - Aug 3 2023


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