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303 Phase II trial of neoadjuvant nivolumab (Nivo) and intra-tumoral (IT) CMP-001 in high-risk resectable melanoma (Neo-C-Nivo): final results
  1. Diwakar Davar1,
  2. Arivarasan Karunamurthy2,
  3. Douglas Hartman2,
  4. Richelle DeBlasio1,
  5. Joe-Marc Chauvin1,
  6. Quanquan Ding1,
  7. Ornella Pagliano1,
  8. Amy Rose1,
  9. John Kirkwood1 and
  10. Hassane Zarour1
  1. 1Hillman Cancer Center, Pittsburgh, PA, USA
  2. 2University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, PA, USA


Background Neoadjuvant PD-1 blockade produces major pathological responses (MPR) in ~30% of patients (pts) with high-risk resectable melanoma (MEL) with durable relapse-free benefit, and increased circulating activated CD8+ T cells.1 2 CMP-001 is a type A CpG packaged within a virus-like particle that activates tumor-associated plasmacytoid dendritic cells (pDC) via TLR9 inducing type I interferons and anti-tumor CD8+ T cells. CMP-001/pembrolizumab produces durable anti-tumor responses in PD-1 refractory melanoma.3 We previously reported preliminary evidence of efficacy of neoadjuvant IT CMP/Nivo in high-risk resectable MEL; and herein present final results on 30 evaluable patients.

Methods 30 pts with stage III B/C/D MEL were enrolled. Pre-operatively, CMP-001 was dosed at 5 mg subcutaneous (SC, 1st), then 10 mg IT (2nd-7th) weekly; Nivo was dosed 240 mg q2 weeks for 3 doses – both agents given for 7 weeks. Post-operatively, Nivo was dosed 480 mg q4 weeks with CMP-001 5 mg q4 weeks SC for 48 weeks. Primary endpoints included major pathologic response rate (MPR), and incidence of dose-limiting toxicities (DLT). Secondary endpoints were radiographic response, relapse-free survival (RFS) and overall survival (OS). Pathological response was scored blinded by pathologists based on residual volume of tumor (RVT) using prior specified cutoffs:4 60% (complete response, pCR); 0%<rvt<rvt50% (non-response, pNR). Radiographic response was assessed using RECIST v1.1. Sequential blood draws and tumor biopsies were collected and analyzed for CD8+ T cell infiltrate (TIL), multiparameter flow cytometry (MFC) and multiplex immunofluorescence (mIF).

Results 30 pts with regionally advanced MEL were enrolled, of stages IIIB (57%), IIIC (37%), IIID (7%). 29/30 (97%) of pts completed 7 weeks of neoadjuvant Nivo/CMP; while 1 pt had a delay in surgery related to a pre-operative infection unrelated to therapy. No DLTs were reported; grade 3/4 irAE were reported in 3 pts (11%) leading to CMP-001 discontinuation in 2 pts (7%). Radiographic responses were seen in 13 pts (43%), while 9 pts (30%) had stable disease and 8 pts (27%) had progressive disease. Pathological responses (RVT <50%) were seen in 70% of pts: pCR 15 (50%), pMR 3 (10%), 3 pPR (10%); only 9 (30%) had pNR. Pathological responders (pCR/pMR) had increased CD8+ TIL and CD303+ pDC intra-tumorally by mIF; and peripherally activated PD1+/Ki67+ CD8+ T cells by MFC.

Conclusions Neoadjuvant CMP/Nivo has acceptable toxicity and promising efficacy. MPR is 60% in 30 pts. 1-year RFS was 82% (all pts) and 89% (among those with pCR/pMR); median RFS is 9 months (among pNR/pPR) and not reached (among pCR/pMR). Response is associated with evidence of immune activation intra-tumorally and peripherally. IT CMP001 increases clinical efficacy of PD-1 blockade with minimal additional toxicity in pts with regionally advanced MEL. Further study of this combination in high-risk resectable MEL is planned.

Acknowledgements We thank Dr. Jagjit Singh and the pathology grossing room staff for their assistance and Checkmate Pharmaceuticals for funding and CMP-001.

Trial Registration Clinical trial information: NCT03618641

Ethics Approval The study was approved by University of Pittsburgh’s Institutional Review Board, approval number MOD19040237-002.

Consent Written informed consent was obtained from the patient for publication of this abstract and any accompanying images. A copy of the written consent is available for review by the Editor of this journal.


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  2. Huang AC, Orlowski RJ, Xu X, et al. A single dose of neoadjuvant PD-1 blockade predicts clinical outcomes in resectable melanoma. Nat Med 2019. Mar;25(3):454–461. doi: 10.1038/s41591-019-0357-y.

  3. Milhem M, Gonzales R, Medina T, et al. Abstract CT144: Intratumoral toll-like receptor 9 (TLR9) agonist, CMP-001, in combination with pembrolizumab can reverse resistance to PD-1 inhibition in a phase Ib trial in subjects with advanced melanoma. In: Proceedings of the American Association for Cancer Research Annual Meeting 2018; 2018 Apr 14–18; Chicago, IL. Philadelphia (PA): AACR; Cancer Res 2018;78(13 Suppl):Abstract CT144.

  4. Tetzlaff MT, Messina JL, Stein JE, et al. Pathological assessment of resection specimens after neoadjuvant therapy for metastatic melanoma. Ann Oncol 2018. Aug 1;29(8):1861–1868.

  5. Cottrell TR, Thompson ED, Forde PM, et al. Pathologic features of response to neoadjuvant anti-PD-1 in resected non-small-cell lung carcinoma: a proposal for quantitative immune-related pathologic response criteria (irPRC). Ann Oncol 2018 Aug 1;29(8):1853–1860. doi: 10.1093/annonc/mdy218.

  6. Stein JE, Soni A, Danilova L, et al. Major pathologic response on biopsy (MPRbx) in patients with advanced melanoma treated with anti-PD-1: evidence for an early, on-therapy biomarker of response. Ann Oncol 2019 Apr 1;30(4):589–596. doi: 10.1093/annonc/mdz019.

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