Pembrolizumab for Unresectable or Metastatic Melanoma in Patients Older than 85 Years of Age

Programmed cell death protein-1 (PD-1) inhibitors (pembrolizumab and nivolumab) have been approved for the treatment of advanced melanoma. Over the past decades, patients older than 85 years represent an expanding group of patients in developed countries. In France, 25% of melanomas are diagnosed in patients older than 75 years.

To perform a monocentric retrospective study of patients older than 85 years and treated with pembrolizu-mab for unresectable or metastatic melanoma in order to evaluate tolerance and potential benefits of this immunotherapy.

Medical records of patients treated with the PD-1 inhibitor pembrolizumab between January 2015 and January 2018 were reviewed.

Nine patients (6 women and 3 men) older than 85 years were included in the study. The mean age was 89.6 (85-97) years at inclusion. All patients were PS 0 or 1. The mean number of infusions was 4 (1-12). However, most patients were not able to tolerate the 4-infusion schedule. One patient refused the second infusion for personal reasons. Seven patients had grade 3 or 4 treatment-related adverse events.

These results indicate that pembrolizumab treatment in patients older than 85 years may induce responses but is associated with a high risk of toxicity and impaired autonomy.