Individualised neoantigen therapy mRNA-4157 (V940) plus pembrolizumab versus pembrolizumab monotherapy in resected melanoma (KEYNOTE-942): a randomised, phase 2b study.

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Humans; Adjuvants, Immunologic; Antibodies, Monoclonal, Humanized; Antineoplastic Combined Chemotherapy Protocols; Melanoma; Skin Neoplasms; oregon; chiles


BACKGROUND: Checkpoint inhibitors are standard adjuvant treatment for stage IIB-IV resected melanoma, but many patients recur. Our study aimed to evaluate whether mRNA-4157 (V940), a novel mRNA-based individualised neoantigen therapy, combined with pembrolizumab, improved recurrence-free survival and distant metastasis-free survival versus pembrolizumab monotherapy in resected high-risk melanoma.

METHODS: We did an open-label, randomised, phase 2b, adjuvant study of mRNA-4157 plus pembrolizumab versus pembrolizumab monotherapy in patients, enrolled from sites in the USA and Australia, with completely resected high-risk cutaneous melanoma. Patients with completely resected melanoma (stage IIIB-IV) were assigned 2:1 to receive open-label mRNA-4157 plus pembrolizumab or pembrolizumab monotherapy. mRNA-4157 was administered intramuscularly (maximum nine doses) and pembrolizumab intravenously (maximum 18 doses) in 3-week cycles. The primary endpoint was recurrence-free survival in the intention-to-treat population. This ongoing trial is registered at, NCT03897881.

FINDINGS: From July 18, 2019, to Sept 30, 2021, 157 patients were assigned to mRNA-4157 plus pembrolizumab combination therapy (n=107) or pembrolizumab monotherapy (n=50); median follow-up was 23 months and 24 months, respectively. Recurrence-free survival was longer with combination versus monotherapy (hazard ratio [HR] for recurrence or death, 0·561 [95% CI 0·309-1·017]; two-sided p=0·053), with lower recurrence or death event rate (24 [22%] of 107 vs 20 [40%] of 50); 18-month recurrence-free survival was 79% (95% CI 69·0-85·6) versus 62% (46·9-74·3). Most treatment-related adverse events were grade 1-2. Grade ≥3 treatment-related adverse events occurred in 25% of patients in the combination group and 18% of patients in the monotherapy group, with no mRNA-4157-related grade 4-5 events. Immune-mediated adverse event frequency was similar for the combination (37 [36%]) and monotherapy (18 [36%]) groups.

INTERPRETATION: Adjuvant mRNA-4157 plus pembrolizumab prolonged recurrence-free survival versus pembrolizumab monotherapy in patients with resected high-risk melanoma and showed a manageable safety profile. These results provide evidence that an mRNA-based individualised neoantigen therapy might be beneficial in the adjuvant setting.

FUNDING: Moderna in collaboration with Merck Sharp & Dohme, a subsidiary of Merck & Co, Rahway, NJ, USA.

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