Clinical features of acquired resistance to anti-PD-1 therapy in advanced melanoma

Daniel Y. Wang, Zeynep Eroglu, Alpaslan Ozgun, Paul D. Leger, Shilin Zhao, Fei Ye, Jason J. Luke, Richard W. Joseph, Rizwan Haq, Patrick A. Ott, F. Stephen Hodi, Jeffrey A. Sosman, Douglas B. Johnson, Elizabeth I. Buchbinder

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Scopus citations


Anti-PD-1 therapy has improved clinical outcomes in advanced melanoma, but most patients experience intrinsic resistance. Responding patients can develop acquired resistance to anti-PD-1. We retrospectively reviewed 488 patients treated with anti-PD-1 from three academic centers and identified 36 patients with acquired resistance, defined as disease progression following objective response. The incidence, timing, disease sites, post-progression survival (PPS), and outcomes were evaluated descriptively. The acquired resistance cohort consisted of 67% with more than 1 feature of poor prognosis (stage M1c, elevated LDH, or brain metastasis), and 67% had previously received ipilimumab. Partial and complete responses were achieved in 89% (n = 32) and 11% (n = 4) of patients, respectively, and median time to resistance (progression-free survival; PFS) was 11.1 months (range 4.3-32.8 months). Most progression was isolated (78% of patients, n = 28) and occurred while receiving therapy (78%, n = 28). The median PPS was 12.8 months (range 0.1-51.8 months), and the median overall survival was 33.7 months. Among isolated progressors, 15 received localized therapy (12 with surgery, 3 with radiation). Patients with isolated versus systemic progression exhibited a trend for improved PPS (P = 0.081), and patients with an initial PFS ≥ 15 months showed significant PPS improvement (P = 0.036). Two patients experienced subsequent responses to anti-PD-1 resumption. In conclusion, acquired resistance to anti-PD-1 was frequently associated with excellent clinical outcomes and often presented as isolated progression amenable to localized therapy (surgery or radiation) or systemic progression sensitive to therapy resumption.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)357-362
Number of pages6
JournalCancer Immunology Research
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 2017

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Medicine


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