Long-term follow up of metastatic melanoma patients treated with Thymosin alpha-1: investigating immune checkpoints synergy

Riccardo Danielli, Filomena Cisternino, Diana Giannarelli, Luana Calabrò, Roberto Camerini, Vinno Savelli, Giovanni Bova, Rosella Dragonetti, Anna Maria Di Giacomo, Maresa Altomonte, Michele Maio

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Immune checkpoint blockade antibodies (imAbs), such as the anti Cytotoxic T Lymphocyte Antigen-4 (CTLA-4) ipilimumab (IPI) raised overall survival (OS) in metastatic melanoma (MM). Further, long-term OS is a crucial endpoint in MM. Thymosin alpha-1 (Tα1) with dacarbazine (DTIC) showed activity in a phase II trial and a compassionate use program (EAP). We report on long-term follow-up of patients treated with Tα1 to investigate the preconditioning role of Tα1 in imAbs-treated patients. Methods: Records of patients with melanoma treated with Tα1 within a phase II trial and EAP program were reviewed comparing median OS among patients that sequentially received anti-CTLA-4 imAb and Tα1. Further, the effect of Tα1 on IPI long-term survivor patients was investigated. Results: Among patients treated with Tα1, 21/61 patients received sequentially even anti CTLA-4 imAbs. Median OS at the data cut-off was 57.8 and 7.4 months in patients treated sequentially with anti-CTLA-4 imAbs or not, respectively. Moreover, pretreatment with Tα1 in all (95) IPI-evaluable patients confirmed a significant increase in long-term OS. Conclusion: This is the first report on long-term follow-up of Tα1-treated patients. Moreover, an advantage in OS in patients sequentially treated with Tα1 and IPI was seen that suggests a synergistic effect.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)77-83
Number of pages7
JournalExpert Opinion on Biological Therapy
Publication statusPublished - May 31 2018


  • checkpoint blockade
  • CTLA-4
  • long-term survival
  • Thymosin alpha-1

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pharmacology
  • Drug Discovery
  • Clinical Biochemistry


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