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The oncologist


oregon; portland; PPMC


BACKGROUND: CheckMate 040 assessed the efficacy and safety of nivolumab in patients with advanced hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC). Understanding the safety profile of nivolumab is needed to support the management of treatment-related adverse events (TRAEs). This analysis assessed the safety of nivolumab monotherapy in the phase I/II, open-label CheckMate 040 study.

MATERIALS AND METHODS: Select TRAEs (sTRAEs; TRAEs with potential immunologic etiology requiring more frequent monitoring) occurring between first dose and 30 days after last dose were analyzed in patients in the dose-escalation and -expansion phases. Time to onset (TTO), time to resolution (TTR), and recurrence of sTRAEs were assessed, and the outcome of treatment with immune-modulating medication (IMM) was evaluated.

RESULTS: The analysis included 262 patients. The most common sTRAE was skin (35.5%), followed by gastrointestinal (14.5%) and hepatic (14.1%) events; the majority were grade 1/2, with 10.7% of patients experiencing grade 3/4 events. One patient had grade 5 pneumonitis. Median (range) TTO ranged from 3.6 (0.1-59.9) weeks for skin sTRAEs to 47.6 (47.1-48.0) weeks for renal sTRAEs. Overall, 68% of sTRAEs resolved, with median (range) TTR ranging from 3.7 (0.1-123.3+) weeks for gastrointestinal sTRAEs to 28.4 (0.1-79.1) weeks for endocrine sTRAEs. Most gastrointestinal and all hepatic events resolved with treatment in accordance with established toxicity management algorithms. In 57 patients (40%), sTRAEs were managed with IMM. Reoccurrence of sTRAEs was uncommon following rechallenge with nivolumab.

CONCLUSION: Nivolumab demonstrated a manageable safety profile in this analysis of patients with advanced HCC. A majority of sTRAEs resolved with treatment.

IMPLICATIONS FOR PRACTICE: Nivolumab is a viable treatment option for patients with previously treated advanced hepatocellular carcinoma as it has demonstrated durable tumor responses and promising survival. Nivolumab has a manageable safety profile. The most common select treatment-related adverse events (sTRAEs) in this analysis were skin related (35%). Gastrointestinal and hepatic sTRAEs were observed in approximately 14% of patients. The majority of sTRAEs resolved (68%). Safety events are easier to manage if addressed early. Patient education on signs and symptoms to watch out for and the importance of early reporting and consultation should be emphasized.

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