FMT New study shows human poop pills can help treat advanced melanoma (July 2023, n=20) Fecal microbiota transplantation plus anti-PD-1 immunotherapy in advanced melanoma: a phase I trial.

Fecal Microbiota Transplants

Michael Harrop

Active member
Jul 6, 2023


Fecal microbiota transplantation (FMT) represents a potential strategy to overcome resistance to immune checkpoint inhibitors in patients with refractory melanoma; however, the role of FMT in first-line treatment settings has not been evaluated. We conducted a multicenter phase I trial combining healthy donor FMT with the PD-1 inhibitors nivolumab or pembrolizumab in 20 previously untreated patients with advanced melanoma. The primary end point was safety. No grade 3 adverse events were reported from FMT alone. Five patients (25%) experienced grade 3 immune-related adverse events from combination therapy. Key secondary end points were objective response rate, changes in gut microbiome composition and systemic immune and metabolomics analyses. The objective response rate was 65% (13 of 20), including four (20%) complete responses. Longitudinal microbiome profiling revealed that all patients engrafted strains from their respective donors; however, the acquired similarity between donor and patient microbiomes only increased over time in responders. Responders experienced an enrichment of immunogenic and a loss of deleterious bacteria following FMT. Avatar mouse models confirmed the role of healthy donor feces in increasing anti-PD-1 efficacy. Our results show that FMT from healthy donors is safe in the first-line setting and warrants further investigation in combination with immune checkpoint inhibitors. identifier NCT03772899.
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