Talimogene laherparepvec monotherapy for head and neck melanoma patients.


Talimogene laherparepvec (T-VEC) is a modified herpes simplex virus, type 1, intralesionally administered in patients with stage IIIB/C-IVM1a unresectable melanoma. When surgery is not a treatment option in the head and neck region, T-VEC can be an elegant alternative to systemic immunotherapy. Ten patients with metastatic melanoma in the head and neck region started treatment with T-VEC monotherapy at the Netherlands Cancer Institute. We collected data on response, adverse events (AEs), and baseline characteristics. For response evaluation, we used clinical evaluation with photography, 3-monthly PET/computed tomography (PET/CT) using 18F-fluoro-2-D-deoxyglucose, and histological biopsies. Median age at baseline was 78.2 (35-97) years with a median follow-up of 11.6months. Of these 10 patients, 5 had a complete response (CR), 3 had a partial response, 1 had stable disease and 1 showed progressive disease (PD) as their best response. Best overall response rate (ORR) was 80%. Median progression-free survival was 10.8 months (95% confidence interval, 2.2-19.4). Grade 1 AEs occurred in all patients. Mostly, these consisted of fatigue, influenza-like symptoms, and injection site pain. PET-CT and histological biopsies proved to be clinically useful tools to evaluate treatment response for T-VEC monotherapy, confirming pCR or PD to stage IV disease requiring systemic treatment. ORR for T-VEC monotherapy for melanoma in the head and neck region at our institute was 80% with 50% achieving a CR. This realworld data demonstrates promising results and suggests T-VEC can be an alternative to systemic therapy in this select, mostly elderly patient population.

More about this publication

Melanoma research
  • Volume 33
  • Issue nr. 1
  • Pages 66-70
  • Publication date 01-02-2023

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