An immunotherapy survivor population: health-related quality of life and toxicity in patients with metastatic melanoma treated with immune checkpoint inhibitors

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PURPOSE: The immune checkpoint inhibitors (ICIs) have resulted in subgroups of patients with metastatic melanoma achieving high-quality durable responses. Metastatic melanoma survivors are a new population in the era of cancer survivorship. The aim of this study was to evaluate metastatic melanoma survivors in terms of health-related quality of life (HRQoL), immune-related adverse events (irAEs) and exposure to immunosuppressive agents in a large single centre in the UK. METHODS: We defined the survivor population as patients with a diagnosis of metastatic melanoma who achieved a durable response to an ICI and had been followed-up for a minimum of 12 months from initiation of ICI without disease progression. HRQoL was assessed using SF-36. Electronic health records were accessed to collect data on demographics, treatments, irAEs and survival. HRQoL data was compared with two norm-based datasets. RESULTS: Eighty-four metastatic melanoma survivors were eligible and 87% (N = 73) completed the SF-36. ICI-related toxicity of any grade occurred in 92% of patients and 43% had experienced a grade 3 or 4 toxicity. Almost half (49%) of the patients required steroids for the treatment of ICI-related toxicity, whilst 14% required treatment with an immunosuppressive agent beyond steroids. Melanoma survivors had statistically significant lower HRQoL scores with regard to physical, social and physical role functioning and general health compared with the normative population. There was a trend towards inferior scores in patients with previous exposure to ipilimumab compared with those never exposed to ipilimumab. CONCLUSIONS: Our results show that metastatic melanoma survivors have potentially experienced significant ICI-related toxicity and experience significant impairments in specific HRQoL domains. Future service planning is required to meet this population's unique survivorship needs.

Journal details

Volume 28
Issue number 2
Pages 561-570
Available online
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