Clinical activity of ipilimumab in acral melanoma: A retrospective review

Douglas B. Johnson*, Chengwei Peng, Richard G. Abramson, Fei Ye, Shilin Zhao, Jedd D. Wolchok, Jeffrey A. Sosman, Richard D. Carvajal, Charlotte E. Ariyan

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Scopus citations


Back ground. Ipilimumab improves overall survival (OS) in advanced melanoma. Acral melanoma is an uncommon clinical subtype of this disease associated with poor prognosis. The clinical activity of ipilimumab has not been well-defined in advanced acral melanoma.  Methods. We retrospectively reviewed the demographics, treatment history, and clinical outcomes for all patients with acral melanoma treated with ipilimumab from two academic centers between February 2006 and June 2013. Using Cox proportional hazards models, we assessed for factors that correlated with OS. Results. A total of 35 patients with acral melanoma received ipilimumab. Melanomas arose on volar surfaces (n = 28) and subungual sites (n = 7); stage M1c disease was present in 54%, and 45% had elevated serum lactate dehydrogenase (LDH). Best response by RECIST 1.1 criteria was complete response in 1 patient, partial response in 3, and stable disease (SD) in 4 for an objective response rate (ORR) of 11.4% and a clinical benefit rate (ORR + SD) at 24 weeks of 22.9%. Median progression-free survival was 2.5 months (95% confidence interval [CI]: 2.3-2.7 months); median OS was 16.7 months (95% CI: 10.9-22.5 months). Normal LDH and absolute lymphocyte count $ 1,000 at 7 weeks predicted longer OS. Immune-related adverse events (irAEs) were noted in 16 patients including 7 with grade 3/4 irAEs (20%). Conclusion. Ipilimumab is clinically active in acral melanoma with similar ORR and OS compared with unselected melanoma populations. Ipilimumab remains a viable therapeutic option for patients with advanced acral melanoma.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)648-652
Number of pages5
Issue number6
StatePublished - 2015


  • Acral
  • CKIT
  • CTLA-4
  • Immune therapy
  • Ipilimumab
  • Melanoma

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research

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