Cancer specialists can treat many types of cancer, including melanoma, with medications that stimulate the body’s own immune system. Immunotherapies are effective in fighting metastatic disease, which has spread from the original tumor to other areas. Tebentafusp (KIMMTRAK®) helps shrink tumors and helps patients with advanced uveal melanoma live longer.
What Is Tebentafusp (KIMMTRAK®)?
- Tebentafusp is a new class of immunotherapy that works by bridging together tumor and T cells, which helps the body’s immune system to locate and kill the melanoma cells.
- It is used to treat uveal melanoma that is unresectable or has spread to organs and other parts of the body.
- Tebentafusp is the first systemic treatment to ever show a survival benefit among patients with metastatic uveal melanoma.
How Does Tebentafusp (KIMMTRAK®) Work?
Tebentafusp is a type of immunotherapy treatment called a bispecific fusion protein. One part of tebentafusp recognizes a marker called HLA-A*0201 that binds to a specific protein (gp100) that is found in cells that produce melanin, including melanoma. The second part of Tebentafusp recognizes a protein expressed by T cells, which are a type of immune cell. Tebentafusp creates a bridge between melanoma cells and T cells allowing the immune system to attack and kill melanoma cells.
Not all people have the HLA-A*0201 marker that tebentafusp needs to recognize and bind to melanoma cells.However, this marker is the most common one and is found in about 44% of White, 22% Black, 19% Asian/Pacific Islander, and 40% of American Indian/Alaskan people. That’s why your doctor will test you for this marker before prescribing tebentafusp.
Tebentafusp was approved based on results from Immunocore’s Phase 3 IMCgp100-202 clinical trial. In this randomized trial, 378 patients with previously untreated metastatic disease received tebentafusp or a standard of care therapy. Patients receiving tebentafusp demonstrated a 15% increase in overall survival at one year compared to those receiving a standard of care therapy (73% versus 58%).1
Which Patients May Benefit from Tebentafusp (KIMMTRAK®)?
In 2022, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved Tebentafusp (KIMMTRAK®) for the treatment of adults with unresectable or metastatic uveal melanoma (mUM). These patients include those with:
- Stage III disease that is unresectable uveal melanoma (unable to be completely removed by surgery)
- Stage IV disease, also known as metastatic uveal melanoma (melanoma cells that have spread to organs and other parts of the body)
If you have advanced uveal melanoma, your doctor will test to see if you have the HLA-A*0201 marker before prescribing tebentafusp.
How Is Tebentafusp (KIMMTRAK®) Given for the Treatment of Metastatic Uveal Melanoma?
Patients receive Tebentafusp intravenously (into a blood vein).
- Each dose takes about 15-20 minutes to complete, although your visit to an infusion center may take longer.
- Patients usually receive Tebentafusp every week unless their melanoma worsens or they experience unacceptable side effects.
- Tebentafusp is given on an outpatient basis without the need for a hospital stay.
What Are the Goals of Tebentafusp (KIMMTRAK®) for the Treatment of Metastatic Uveal Melanoma?
The goals of using tebentafusp include:
- Controlling melanoma and shrinking tumors anywhere in the body
- Treating symptoms of melanoma
- Helping patients live longer
All melanoma treatments, including tebentafusp, have side effects, which can sometimes be serious. Patients should talk with their physician to learn more about the side effects of nivolumab and other melanoma treatment options.
What Should I Ask My Doctor About Tebentafusp (KIMMTRAK®) for the Treatment of Metastatic Uveal Melanoma?
Not all treatments work for all patients, because everyone is different. If you are interested in learning more about tebentafusp, here are some questions you should ask your physicians:
- Am I eligible for tebentafusp?
- What is your experience with tebentafusp?
- Is tebentafusp a good option for my melanoma treatment?
- Is there an alternative to tebentafusp for me?
- How successful has tebentafusp been for patients like me?
- What are the side effects of tebentafusp?
- How should I report any side effects or changes that I experience while undergoing therapy with tebentafusp?
- Are there any clinical trials for tebentafusp that I should consider?
- What other treatments are FDA-approved for treating advanced uveal melanoma?
- What are the risks and benefits of the available treatment options?
- What are the goals for my treatment?
Need Help Paying for Tebentafusp (KIMMTRAK®)?
Patient Assistant Programs (PAPs) are designed so that you still have access to the treatments you need, in any financial circumstance. Learn more about the manufacturer’s patient assistance program and other options here.