Pembrolizumab + Infliximab for Metastatic Melanoma

  • End date
    Jun 30, 2025
  • participants needed
  • sponsor
    Massachusetts General Hospital
Updated on 20 April 2022


The purpose of this research is to test the safety and effectiveness of the investigational combination of pembrolizumab and infliximab in treating metastatic melanoma.


This is a randomized, double-blind, phase 2 clinical trial that combines the anti-Programmed Death (PD)-1 antibody pembrolizumab with the anti-Tumor Necrosis Factor (TNF)-α antibody infliximab as first line treatment for the management of patients with metastatic or recurrent melanoma.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has not approved infliximab for metastatic melanoma but it has been approved for other uses. The FDA has approved pembrolizumab as a treatment option for metastatic melanoma.

Pembrolizumab is a blocking antibody (a protein used in the immune system to identity and neutralize bacteria, viruses, and other foreign pathogens) that binds to PD-1 (a protein that helps regulate the immune system's response in the body) and blocks the interaction with PD-L1 and PD-L2 (proteins that inhibits the body's immune response). By blocking this interaction, it might lead to an anti-tumor immune response that may decrease tumor growth. Infliximab is an anti-TNFα agent (an antibody that blocks certain inflammatory hormones) that may interact with irEC (immune related (entero)colitis - inflammation that occurs in the digestive tract) which can develop among people with advanced melanoma. Anti- TNFα agents have shown to lead to rapid symptomatic improvement. By combining pembrolizumab and infliximab we believe it may lead to reduced immune related side effects while increasing effective anti-tumor immune response. The research study procedures include screening for eligibility and study treatment including evaluations and follow up visits. Participants will be randomized to receive either a) pembrolizumab plus infliximab or b) pembrolizumab plus placebo (an intravenous solution without medication). Participants will receive study treatment for as long as their disease does not worsen, they do not experience any unacceptable side effects, or they have completed the two years of pembrolizumab therapy. Participants will then be followed until the study doctor determines follow-up is no longer needed or until participant withdrawal. It is expected that about 36 people will take part in this research study A research grant, The Bridge Project, is supporting this research study by providing funding for the study.

Condition Metastatic Melanoma
Treatment Placebo, Pembrolizumab, Infliximab
Clinical Study IdentifierNCT05034536
SponsorMassachusetts General Hospital
Last Modified on20 April 2022


Yes No Not Sure

Inclusion Criteria

Age greater than or equal to 18 years
Participants must have histologically confirmed Stage III unresectable or Stage IV metastatic melanoma
Patients should be treatment naïve and eligible for treatment with pembrolizumab as a first line agent
Patients previously treated for melanoma with surgical resection alone who present with recurrent Stage III unresectable or Stage IV metastatic melanoma are eligible for enrollment
Patients who were previously treated with systemic neo-adjuvant or adjuvant anti-PD-1 therapy more than 6 months prior to study enrollment will be eligible. There are no restrictions to the use of prior BRAF targeted therapy
Participants must have measurable disease, defined as at least one lesion that can be accurately measured in at least one dimension (longest diameter to be recorded) as > 20 mm with conventional techniques or as > 10 mm with spiral CT scan
Diagnostic imaging studies such as MRIs and CT scans must be performed within 30 days of the date of registration
Participants must have normal organ and marrow function as defined below
Leukocytes (WBC) > 3,000/uL
Absolute neutrophil count > 1,500uL
Platelets > 100,000/uL
Total bilirubin < 1.5 X institutional upper limits of normal; total bilirubin > 1.5X above institutional upper limits of normal will be allowed if direct bilirubin is within normal limits or if patients has a documented history of Gilbert's disease
AST (SGOT)/ALT (SGPT) < 2.5 X institutional upper limit of normal and ≤5 ULN for patients with liver metastases
Baseline laboratory measurements must be documented from tests within 14 days of the
date of registration
ECOG performance status ≤ 1 (see Appendix A)
Participants with a prior or concurrent malignancy whose natural history or treatment does not have the potential to interfere with the safety or efficacy assessment of the investigational regimen are eligible for this trial
Participants with known history or current symptoms of cardiac disease, or history of treatment with cardiotoxic agents, should have a clinical risk assessment of cardiac function using the New York Heart Association Functional Classification which can be performed by the study investigators. To be eligible for this trial, participants should be class 2B or better
Ability to understand and willingness to sign a written informed consent document

Exclusion Criteria

Patients with ocular or mucosal melanoma
Participants previously treated with anti-PD1/PDL1/CTLA-4 monoclonal antibodies for metastatic or unresectable disease
Patients who are receiving other anti-neoplastic agents
Symptomatic or untreated leptomeningeal disease
Patients carrying a diagnosis of immunodeficiency or receiving systemic steroid therapy (prednisone or equivalent > 10 mg/day) or any other form of immunosuppressive therapy within 7 days prior to the first dose of trial treatment. Corticosteroids to prevent contrast reactions is allowable
Patients with active autoimmune disease that has required systemic treatment in the past 2 years (i.e. with use of disease modifying agents, corticosteroids or immunosuppressive drugs). Replacement therapy (eg., thyroxine, insulin, or physiologic corticosteroid replacement therapy for adrenal or pituitary insufficiency, etc.) is not considered a form of systemic treatment
Prior history of inflammatory bowel disease, microscopic colitis or segmental colitis associated with diverticulosis
Breastfeeding and pregnant women are excluded from this study since pembrolizumab is a class D agent with the potential for teratogenic or abortifacient effects
Uncontrolled intercurrent illness including, but not limited to
A. Ongoing or active infection
B. Edema > Grade 1
C. Documented myocardial infarction or unstable/uncontrolled cardiac disease (eg, unstable angina, severe arrhythmias, congestive heart failure [New York Heart Association (NYHA) > Class II]) within 6 months of study entry
D. Arterial thrombosis or vascular ischemic events, such as transient ischemic attack, cerebral infarction, within 6 months prior to study entry
E. Serious or non-healing wound
F. History of any medical condition including cardiovascular disease or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), that in the opinion of the investigator, may increase the risks associated with study participation or study treatments or may interfere with the conduct of the study or interpretation of study results
G. Psychiatric illness/social situations that, in the opinion of the investigator, would limit compliance with study requirements
H. An elevated high-sensitivity troponin T level at baseline will be allowable as long as the patient has no evidence of active, clinically relevant cardiac disease
Patients with a history of a different malignancy are ineligible except for the
following circumstances
A. Individuals with a history of other malignancies are eligible if they have been disease-free for at least 3 years and are deemed by the investigator to be at low risk for recurrence of that malignancy
B. Individuals with the following cancers are eligible if diagnosed and treated within the past 3 years: cervical cancer in situ and basal cell or squamous cell carcinoma of the skin
Patients with a history of Hepatitis B infection (HBsAg reactive or HBCAB reactive) or
Hepatitis C (HCV RNA is detected). Participants with a history of hepatitis C
virus (HCV) infection may be enrolled if they have been treated and cured
Patients with a history of latent or active granulomatous infection, including tuberculosis, histoplasmosis, or coccidiomycosis
Has received a live vaccine within 30 days of planned start of study therapy
Current bacterial infection requiring antibiotic treatment, or systemic fungal infection
Patients with a known hypersensitivity to pembrolizumab or any of its excipients
Previous adverse reaction or hypersensitivity to infliximab
Any prior immune-related adverse event while on adjuvant immunotherapy
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Additional screening procedures may be conducted by the study team before you can be confirmed eligible to participate.

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If you are confirmed eligible after full screening, you will be required to understand and sign the informed consent if you decide to enroll in the study. Once enrolled you may be asked to make scheduled visits over a period of time.

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Complete your scheduled study participation activities and then you are done. You may receive summary of study results if provided by the sponsor.

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