Publications by authors named "Emiliano Calvo"

105 Publications

Doxorubicin plus lurbinectedin in patients with advanced endometrial cancer: results from an expanded phase I study.

Int J Gynecol Cancer 2021 Oct 5. Epub 2021 Oct 5.

NIHR UCLH Clinical Research Facility, London, UK.

Objective: Second-line treatment of endometrial cancer is an unmet medical need. We conducted a phase I study evaluating lurbinectedin and doxorubicin intravenously every 3 weeks in patients with solid tumors. The aim of this study was to characterise the efficacy and safety of lurbinectedin and doxorubicin for patients with endometrial cancer.

Methods: Thirty-four patients were treated: 15 patients in the escalation phase (doxorubicin 50 mg/m and lurbinectedin 3.0-5.0 mg) and 19 patients in the expansion cohort (doxorubicin 40 mg/m and lurbinectedin 2.0 mg/m). All histological subtypes were eligible and patients had received one to two prior lines of chemotherapy for advanced disease. Antitumor activity was evaluated every two cycles according to the Response Evaluation Criteria in Solid Tumors version 1.1. Adverse events were graded according to the National Cancer Institute-Common Terminology Criteria for Adverse Events version 4.

Results: Median age (range) was 65 (51-78) years. Eastern Cooperative Oncology Group performance status was up to 1 in 97% of patients. In the escalation phase, 4 (26.7%) of 15 patients had confirmed response: two complete and two partial responses (95% CI 7.8% to 55.1%). Median duration of response was 19.5 months. Median progression-free survival was 7.3 (2.5 to 10.1) months. In the expansion cohort, confirmed partial response was reported in 8 (42.1%) of 19 patients (95% CI 20.3% to 66.5%). Median duration of response was 7.5 (6.4 to not reached) months, median progression-free survival was 7.7 (2.0 to 16.7) months and median overall survival was 14.2 (4.5 to not reached) months. Fatigue (26.3% of patients), and transient and reversible myelosuppression (neutropenia, 78.9%; febrile neutropenia, 21.1%; thrombocytopenia, 15.8%) were the main grade 3 and higher toxicities in the expanded cohort.

Conclusions: In patients with recurrent advanced endometrial cancer treated with doxorubicin and lurbinectedin, response rates (42%) and duration of response (7.5 months) were favorable. Further evaluation of doxorubicin and lurbinectedin is warranted in this patient population.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/ijgc-2021-002881DOI Listing
October 2021

Safety, pharmacokinetics, and efficacy of budigalimab with rovalpituzumab tesirine in patients with small cell lung cancer.

Cancer Treat Res Commun 2021 25;28:100405. Epub 2021 May 25.

Cancer Care Center, Blacktown Hospital, Sydney, NSW, Australia. Electronic address:

Background: Agents targeting programmed cell death protein 1 (PD-1) have been approved as monotherapy for patients with small cell lung cancer (SCLC). In preclinical models, the combined targeting of PD-1 and delta-like protein 3 resulted in enhanced antitumor activity. Herein, we report results from the expansion arm of study NCT03000257 evaluating the combination of the anti-PD-1 antibody budigalimab and the targeted antibody-drug conjugate rovalpituzumab tesirine (Rova-T) in patients with previously treated SCLC.

Materials And Methods: This expansion arm of a multicenter, open-label, multi-arm, first-in-human phase 1 clinical trial enrolled adult patients with progressive SCLC. The primary objective was to assess safety and tolerability. Patients received budigalimab 375 mg via intravenous infusion every 3 weeks, and Rova-T was administered as a dose of 0.3 mg/kg intravenously, on day 1 of the first and third 3-week cycle.

Results: As of October 2019, 31 patients with SCLC were enrolled and treated with budigalimab plus Rova-T. The combination was tolerated, with the most common treatment-emergent adverse events (in >30%) being pleural effusion, fatigue, and cough. The overall response rate was 24.1%, with one confirmed complete response and six confirmed partial responses. The overall response rate in patients with high delta-like protein 3 expression was similar (21.1%). The median progression-free survival was 3.48 months.

Conclusion: Combination therapy with budigalimab and Rova-T had promising efficacy and appeared to be tolerated in patients with SCLC. Although Rova-T development has been discontinued, development of budigalimab combined with other anticancer agents is ongoing.

Clinical Trial Registration Number: NCT03000257 Statement on originality of the work The manuscript represents original work and has not been submitted for publication elsewhere nor previously published. Statement of prior presentation Data from this study were previously presented at the European Society for Medical Oncology (ESMO) Congress 2019.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ctarc.2021.100405DOI Listing
May 2021

Toxicity and antitumor activity of novel agents in elderly patients with cancer included in phase 1 studies.

Invest New Drugs 2021 Jul 21. Epub 2021 Jul 21.

START Madrid-HM CIOCC, Centro Integral Oncológico Clara Campal, Hospital Universitario HM Sanchinarro, Calle Oña, 10. 28050, Madrid, Spain.

Introduction The number of cancer cases among the elderly continue to increase as the worldwide population ages. This patient subset is underrepresented in clinical trials, partly because of unresolved uncertainties about age-associated tolerabilities and antitumor activities. We reviewed phase 1 trial data to study tolerance and efficacy of novel agents used for treatment of elderly patients with cancer. Methods Data from 773 consecutive evaluable patients in 85 phase 1 clinical trials (2008-2016) at START Madrid-CIOCC were analyzed according to age, with respect to objective response, survival, and toxicity. Results The mean age was 58.7 (range: 18-87) years; 260 (33.6%) patients were >65 y (elderly group). One hundred thirty-seven (17.8%) patients received immunotherapy drugs, 308 (39.8%) received targeted agents, and 328 (42.4%) received chemotherapy. No statistically significant differences in overall survival, objective response, or severe toxicity rates were found according to treatment type. Similar toxicities and clinical activities were found between the two age subgroups; 18.8% of the elderly and 20.7% of the younger patients experienced severe hematological toxicity (p=0.5), and 30.2% and 32.7%, respectively, experienced severe non-hematological toxicity (p=0.4). Regarding antitumor activity, 12.4% of the elderly and 15% of the younger patients achieved objective responses (p=0.41). There were no significant between-group differences in overall survival (9.7 versus 11.5 months, respectively, p=0.1) or progression-free survival (2.3 versus 2.2 months, respectively, p=0.7). Conclusions This retrospective study found that elderly and younger populations had comparable antitumor activities and toxicity profiles. These results support including elderly patients with cancer in early-phase trials.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s10637-021-01150-1DOI Listing
July 2021

First-in-human phase 1 study of budigalimab, an anti-PD-1 inhibitor, in patients with non-small cell lung cancer and head and neck squamous cell carcinoma.

Cancer Immunol Immunother 2021 Jul 3. Epub 2021 Jul 3.

START Madrid-FJD, Hospital Universitario Fundacion Jimenez Diaz, Madrid, Spain.

Background: Budigalimab is a humanized, recombinant immunoglobulin G1 monoclonal antibody targeting programmed cell death protein 1 (PD-1). We present the safety, efficacy, pharmacokinetic (PK), and pharmacodynamic data from patients enrolled in the head and neck squamous cell carcinoma (HNSCC) and non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) expansion cohorts of the phase 1 first-in-human study of budigalimab monotherapy (NCT03000257; registered 15 December 2016).

Patients And Methods: Patients with recurrent/metastatic HNSCC or locally advanced/metastatic NSCLC naive to PD-1/PD-1-ligand inhibitors were enrolled; patients were not selected on the basis of oncogene driver mutations or PD-L1 status. Budigalimab was administered at 250 mg intravenously Q2W or 500 mg intravenously Q4W until disease progression/unacceptable toxicity. The primary endpoints were safety and PK; the secondary endpoint was efficacy. Exploratory endpoints included biomarker assessments.

Results: In total, 81 patients were enrolled (HNSCC: N = 41 [PD-L1 positive: n = 19]; NSCLC: N = 40 [PD-L1 positive: n = 16]); median treatment duration was 72 days (range, 1-617) and 71 days (range, 1-490) for the HNSCC and NSCLC cohorts, respectively. The most frequent grade ≥ 3 treatment-emergent adverse event was anemia (HNSCC: n = 9, 22%; NSCLC: n = 5, 13%). Both dosing regimens had comparable drug exposure and increased interferon gamma-induced chemokines, monokine induced by gamma interferon, and interferon-gamma-inducible protein 10. Objective response rates were 13% (90% CI, 5.1-24.5) in the HNSCC cohort and 19% (90% CI, 9.2-32.6) in the NSCLC cohort. Median progression-free survival was 3.6 months (95% CI, 1.7-4.7) and 1.9 months (95% CI, 1.7-3.7) in the HNSCC and NSCLC cohorts.

Conclusions: The safety, efficacy and biomarker profiles of budigalimab are similar to other PD-1 inhibitors. Development of budigalimab in combination with novel anticancer agents is ongoing.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s00262-021-02973-wDOI Listing
July 2021

Adoptive cell therapy for solid tumors: Chimeric antigen receptor T cells and beyond.

Curr Opin Pharmacol 2021 08 19;59:70-84. Epub 2021 Jun 19.

START Madrid-CIOCC: Centro Integral Oncológico Clara Campal, Madrid, Spain.

Adoptive cell therapy with chimeric antigen receptor T cells has caused a significant revolution in the treatment of hematological malignancies. Unfortunately, for solid tumors, this treatment modality has been proven insufficient to achieve significant antitumor activity. The use of modified T cell receptors towards tumor-associated antigens (NY-ESO, MAGE-A4) has recently shown antitumor activity in synovial sarcoma. Also, treatment with tumor-infiltrating lymphocytes shows clinical activity in metastatic cervical cancer and melanoma resistant to checkpoint inhibitors. Strategies to improve results and broaden the applicability of therapeutic lymphocytes for solid tumors include local delivery, fourth generation chimeric antigen receptor T cells, off-the-shelf T lymphocytes and private neoantigen-directed cells, among others. In this review, we summarize the status of adoptive cell therapy using T cells for solid tumors and the investigational strategies being tested in this field.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.coph.2021.05.004DOI Listing
August 2021

First-in-Human Study of PF-06647020 (Cofetuzumab Pelidotin), an Antibody-Drug Conjugate Targeting Protein Tyrosine Kinase 7, in Advanced Solid Tumors.

Clin Cancer Res 2021 Aug 3;27(16):4511-4520. Epub 2021 Jun 3.

START Madrid-CIOCC, HM Hospital Sanchinarro, Madrid, Spain.

Purpose: We investigated safety, tolerability, pharmacokinetics, and antitumor activity of the protein tyrosine kinase 7 (PTK7)-targeted, auristatin-based antibody-drug conjugate (ADC) PF-06647020/cofetuzumab pelidotin (NCT02222922).

Patients And Methods: Patients received PF-06647020 intravenously every 3 weeks at 0.2-3.7 mg/kg or every 2 weeks at 2.1-3.2 mg/kg, in sequential dose escalation, following a modified toxicity probability interval method. In dose expansion, pretreated patients with advanced, platinum-resistant ovarian cancer, non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC), or triple-negative breast cancer (TNBC) received PF-06647020 2.8 mg/kg every 3 weeks.

Results: The most common, treatment-related adverse events for PF-06647020 administered every 3 weeks were nausea, alopecia, fatigue, headache, neutropenia, and vomiting (45%-25%); 25% of patients had grade ≥ 3 neutropenia. Two patients experienced dose-limiting toxicities (grade 3 headache and fatigue) at the highest every 3 weeks dose evaluated. The recommended phase II dose was 2.8 mg/kg every 3 weeks. The overall safety profile observed with PF-06647020 administered every 2 weeks was similar to that of the every 3 weeks regimen. Systemic exposure for the ADC and total antibody generally increased in a dose-proportional manner. Antitumor activity was observed in treated patients with overall objective response rates of 27% in ovarian cancer ( = 63), 19% in NSCLC ( = 31), and 21% in TNBC ( = 29). Responders tended to have moderate or high PTK7 tumor expression by IHC.

Conclusions: This PTK7-targeted ADC demonstrated therapeutic activity in previously treated patients with ovarian cancer, NSCLC, and TNBC at a dose range of 2.1-3.2 mg/kg, supporting further clinical evaluation to refine dose, schedule, and predictive tissue biomarker testing in patients with advanced malignancies.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1158/1078-0432.CCR-20-3757DOI Listing
August 2021

Phase I Trial of Cemiplimab, Radiotherapy, Cyclophosphamide, and Granulocyte Macrophage Colony-Stimulating Factor in Patients with Recurrent or Metastatic Head and Neck Squamous Cell Carcinoma.

Oncologist 2021 09 22;26(9):e1508-e1513. Epub 2021 May 22.

Regeneron Pharmaceuticals, Inc., Basking Ridge, New Jersey, USA.

Lessons Learned: Cemiplimab in combination with radiation therapy, cyclophosphamide, and granulocyte macrophage colony-stimulating factor did not demonstrate efficacy above what can be achieved with other PD-1 inhibitor monotherapies in patients with refractory and metastatic head and neck squamous cell carcinoma. The safety profile of cemiplimab combination therapy was consistent with previously reported safety profiles of cemiplimab monotherapy. No new safety signal was observed.

Background: Refractory and metastatic (R/M) head and neck squamous cell carcinoma (HNSCC) generally does not respond to PD-1 inhibitor monotherapy. Cemiplimab is a human anti-PD-1 monoclonal antibody. An expansion cohort enrolled patients with R/M HNSCC in a phase I study combining cemiplimab plus radiation therapy (RT), cyclophosphamide, and granulocyte macrophage colony-stimulating factor (GM-CSF).

Methods: Patients with R/M HNSCC refractory to at least first-line therapy and for whom palliative RT is clinically indicated received cemiplimab plus RT, cyclophosphamide, and GM-CSF. The co-primary objectives were the safety, tolerability, and efficacy of cemiplimab plus RT, cyclophosphamide, and GM-CSF in 15 patients with R/M HNSCC.

Results: Fifteen patients were enrolled. Patients discontinued treatment due to progression of disease. The most common treatment-emergent adverse events (TEAEs) of any grade were fatigue (40.0%), constipation (26.7%), and asthenia, dyspnea, maculo-papular rash, and pneumonia (each 20%). The only grade ≥3 TEAE that occurred in two patients was pneumonia (13.3%). By investigator assessment, there was one partial response (6.7%); disease control rate was 40.0% (95% confidence interval [CI], 16.3-67.7; five patients with stable disease); seven patients had progressive disease, and two were not evaluable. Median progression-free survival by investigator assessment was 1.8 months (95% CI, 1.7-4.7).

Conclusion: The regimen demonstrated tolerability but not efficacy above that which can be achieved with anti-PD-1 inhibitor monotherapy for R/M HNSCC.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/onco.13810DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8417861PMC
September 2021

A Predictive Score of Antitumour Activity of Novel Agents in Cancer Patients Treated in Early Phase Studies.

Oncology 2021 30;99(7):454-463. Epub 2021 Mar 30.

START Madrid-CIOCC Early Clinical Drug Development Program, Hospital Universitario HM Sanchinarro, Madrid, Spain.

Introduction: Phase I trials aim to determine the maximum-tolerated dose of a particular drug while minimizing the number of patients exposed to either sub-therapeutic doses or severe toxicity. Thus, patient selection for phase I trials is a key component of any clinical trial design. Though several studies have been made to address this issue, patient selection still represents a major clinical challenge that needs further investigation.

Methods: Twenty-nine baseline clinical and analytical characteristics of 773 consecutive patients treated in phase I trials between 2008 and 2016 in START Madrid-CIOCC were analysed and correlated to objective response (OR), progression-free survival, median overall survival, toxicity, and treatment type. The ones associated to OR in the univariate analysis were included in the stepwise logistic regression multivariate and Cox analysis. The statistically significant ones were included in a predictive score (named here as the Madrid score) of antitumour activity.

Results: Body mass index (BMI) >25 (p = 0.027), two or less previous lines of treatment (p = 0.007), and normal levels of alkaline phosphatase (ALP) (p = 0.007) were found to positively correlate to radiological response. A Madrid score was generated using these three factors as predictive parameters: compared to a score of 2-3 (where 2 or 3 of these variables are altered), a score of 0-1 is associated with longer survival time (11.6 vs. 8.6 months; p = 0.005) and overall response (17 vs. 7.6%; p = 0.003).

Conclusion: The predictive Madrid score, based on the BMI, number of prior lines of treatment, and ALP levels, might be helpful to accurately select patients who would benefit from oncology phase I clinical trials.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1159/000515031DOI Listing
July 2021

Efficacy and safety of lurbinectedin and doxorubicin in relapsed small cell lung cancer. Results from an expansion cohort of a phase I study.

Invest New Drugs 2021 10 11;39(5):1275-1283. Epub 2021 Mar 11.

START Madrid - HM CIOCC, Hospital Madrid Norte Sanchinarro, Madrid, Spain.

Background A phase I study found remarkable activity and manageable toxicity for doxorubicin (bolus) plus lurbinectedin (1-h intravenous [i.v.] infusion) on Day 1 every three weeks (q3wk) as second-line therapy in relapsed small cell lung cancer (SCLC). An expansion cohort further evaluated this combination. Patients and methods Twenty-eight patients with relapsed SCLC after no more than one line of cytotoxic-containing chemotherapy were treated: 18 (64%) with sensitive disease (chemotherapy-free interval [CTFI] ≥90 days) and ten (36%) with resistant disease (CTFI <90 days; including six with refractory disease [CTFI ≤30 days]). Results Ten patients showed confirmed response (overall response rate [ORR] = 36%); median progression-free survival (PFS) = 3.3 months; median overall survival (OS) = 7.9 months. ORR was 50% in sensitive disease (median PFS = 5.7 months; median OS = 11.5 months) and 10% in resistant disease (median PFS = 1.3 months; median OS = 4.6 months). The main toxicity was transient and reversible myelosuppression. Treatment-related non-hematological events (fatigue, nausea, decreased appetite, vomiting, alopecia) were mostly mild or moderate. Conclusion Doxorubicin 40 mg/m and lurbinectedin 2.0 mg/m on Day 1 q3wk has shown noteworthy activity in relapsed SCLC and a manageable safety profile. The combination is being evaluated as second-line therapy for SCLC in an ongoing, randomized phase III trial. Clinical trial registration www.ClinicalTrials.gov code: NCT01970540. Date of registration: 22 October, 2013.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s10637-020-01025-xDOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8426303PMC
October 2021

Safety and activity of the TGFβ receptor I kinase inhibitor galunisertib plus the anti-PD-L1 antibody durvalumab in metastatic pancreatic cancer.

J Immunother Cancer 2021 03;9(3)

Hospital Universitario 12 de Octubre, Imas12, CNIO, UCM, CIBERONC, Madrid, Spain.

Background: We assessed the safety, efficacy, and pharmacokinetics of the transforming growth factor beta (TGFβ) receptor inhibitor galunisertib co-administered with the anti-programmed death-ligand 1 (PD-L1) antibody durvalumab in recurrent/refractory metastatic pancreatic cancer previously treated with ≤2 systemic regimens.

Methods: This was a two-part, single-arm, multinational, phase Ib study. In a dose-finding phase, escalating oral doses of galunisertib were co-administered on days 1-14 with fixed-dose intravenous durvalumab 1500 mg on day 1 every 4 weeks (Q4W), followed by an expansion cohort phase.

Results: The galunisertib recommended phase II dose (RP2D) when co-administered with durvalumab 1500 mg Q4W was 150 mg two times per day. No dose-limiting toxicities were recorded. Among 32 patients treated with galunisertib RP2D, 1 patient had partial response, 7 had stable disease, 15 had objective progressive disease, and 9 were not evaluable. Disease control rate was 25.0%. Median overall survival and progression-free survival were 5.72 months (95% CI: 4.01 to 8.38) and 1.87 months (95% CI: 1.58 to 3.09), respectively. Pharmacokinetic profiles for combination therapy were comparable to those published for each drug. There was no association between potential biomarkers and treatment outcomes.

Conclusion: Galunisertib 150 mg two times per day co-administered with durvalumab 1500 mg Q4W was tolerable. Clinical activity was limited. Studying this combination in patients in an earlier line of treatment or selected for predictive biomarkers of TGFβ inhibition might be a more suitable approach.

Trial Registration Number: ClinicalTrials.gov identifier: NCT02734160.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/jitc-2020-002068DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7944986PMC
March 2021

Phase I dose-escalation study of NBTXR3 activated by intensity-modulated radiation therapy in elderly patients with locally advanced squamous cell carcinoma of the oral cavity or oropharynx.

Eur J Cancer 2021 03 16;146:135-144. Epub 2021 Feb 16.

Department of Drug Development and Innovation (D3i), Institut Curie, Paris, France; INSERM U900 Research Unit, Saint-Cloud, France; Paris-Saclay University, Paris, France. Electronic address:

Purpose: This phase I study assessed the safety of first-in-class radioenhancer nanoparticles, NBTXR3, in elderly or frail patients with locally advanced head and neck squamous cell carcinoma (HNSCC), ineligible for chemoradiation.

Methods: Patients with stage III or IVA (American Joint Committee on Cancer (AJCC) guidelines, 7th edition, 2010) HNSCC of the oral cavity or oropharynx, aged ≥70 or ≥65 years and ineligible to receive cisplatin, amenable to radiotherapy (RT) with curative intent, received NBTXR3 as a single intratumoural (IT) injection followed by activation by intensity-modulated radiation therapy (IMRT; 70 Gy). The NBTXR3 dose corresponded to a percentage of the baseline tumour volume, measured by magnetic resonance imaging. The primary objectives were to determine the recommended phase II dose (RP2D), dose-limiting toxicities (DLTs) and maximum tolerated dose (MTD). Safety and tolerability were assessed using National Cancer Institute CTCAE version 4.0. Antitumour activity was assessed by Response Evaluation Criteria in Solid Tumours 1.1.

Results: Nineteen patients were enrolled: 3 at the dose level of 5%, 3 at the dose level of 10%, 5 at the dose level of 15% and 8 at the dose level of 22% of the tumour volume. The MTD was not reached, and no DLTs or serious adverse event (SAEs) related to NBTXR3 were observed. Four adverse events related to NBTXR3 and/or the IT injection were reported (grade I-II). NBTXR3 remained in the injected tumour throughout RT, with no leakage in the surrounding healthy tissues. Specific RT-related toxicity was as expected with IMRT. The RP2D was determined as 22% baseline tumour volume. Preliminary signs of antitumour activity were observed.

Conclusion: Intratumoural injection of NBTXR3 followed by IMRT is feasible and demonstrated a good safety profile, supporting further evaluation at the RP2D in this patient population.

Trial Registration: ClinicalTrials.govNCT01946867.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ejca.2021.01.007DOI Listing
March 2021

Blocking TIM-3 in Treatment-refractory Advanced Solid Tumors: A Phase Ia/b Study of LY3321367 with or without an Anti-PD-L1 Antibody.

Clin Cancer Res 2021 Apr 29;27(8):2168-2178. Epub 2021 Jan 29.

START Madrid, Centro Integral Oncológico Clara Campal, Madrid, Spain.

Purpose: T-cell immunoglobulin and mucin-domain-containing molecule-3 (TIM-3) blunts anticancer immunity and mediates resistance to programmed death 1 (PD-1) and PD ligand 1 (PD-L1) inhibitors. We assessed a novel, first-in-class, TIM-3 mAb, LY3321367, alone or in combination with the anti-PD-L1 antibody, LY300054 in patients with advanced solid tumor.

Patients And Methods: This open-label, multicenter, phase Ia/b study aimed to define the safety/tolerability and recommended phase II dose (RP2D) of LY3321367 with or without LY300054. Secondary objectives included pharmacokinetics/pharmacodynamics, immunogenicity, and efficacy. Biomarkers were assessed in exploratory analysis.

Results: No dose-limiting toxicities were observed in the monotherapy ( = 30) or combination ( = 28) dose escalation. LY3321367 treatment-related adverse events (≥2 patients) included pruritus, rash, fatigue, anorexia, and infusion-related reactions. Dose-proportional increase in LY3321367 concentrations was not affected by either LY300054 or antidrug antibodies (observed in 50%-70% of patients). Pharmacokinetic/pharmacodynamic modeling indicated 100% target engagement at doses ≥600 mg. LY3321367 RP2D was 1,200 mg biweekly for four doses followed by 600 mg every 2 weeks thereafter. In the non-small cell lung cancer monotherapy expansion cohort, outcomes varied by prior anti-PD-1 therapy response status: anti-PD-1/L1 refractory patients [ = 23, objective response rate (ORR) 0%, disease control rate (DCR) 35%, progression-free survival (PFS) 1.9 months] versus anti-PD-1/L1 responders ( = 14, ORR 7%, DCR 50%, PFS 7.3 months). In combination expansion cohorts ( = 91), ORR and DCR were 4% and 42%; CD8 infiltration in paired biopsies increased in approximately half these patients.

Conclusions: LY3321367 exhibited acceptable safety profile with favorable pharmacokinetics/pharmacodynamics but only modest antitumor activity. The therapeutic relevance of TIM-3 blockade requires further investigation.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1158/1078-0432.CCR-20-4405DOI Listing
April 2021

Comparison of radiological criteria for hyperprogressive disease in response to immunotherapy.

Cancer Treat Rev 2020 Dec 29;91:102116. Epub 2020 Oct 29.

START Madrid-HM CIOCC, Centro Integral Oncológico Clara Campal, Hospital Universitario HM Sanchinarro, Calle Oña, 10, 28050 Madrid, Spain. Electronic address:

Hyperprogressive disease (HPD) is a concerning paradoxical acceleration of cancer growth induced by immune drugs. The lack of standard radiological criteria makes its study challenging. We reviewed the literature and compared the main criteria for HPD proposed by Ferté, Le Tourneau, Garralda and Caramella to address this relevant unmet need in Immune-oncology. Among 182 consecutive patients with advanced cancer treated with immunotherapy in early-phase clinical trials, 71 with progressive disease at the first evaluation were eligible. HPD patients were studied regarding tumor growth dynamics and clinical impact. HPD occurred in 17 (23.9%), 17 (23.9%), 23 (32.4%) and 6 (8.4%) patients, as defined by Ferté, Le Tourneau, Garralda and Caramella, respectively. The strongest association was found between the Ferté and Le Tourneau criteria (Kappa = 0.61), and the Jaccard similarity index varied from 55% (Ferté and Le Tourneau) to 21% (Le Tourneau and Caramella). The Ferté and Le Tourneau criteria showed statistically significant differences between pre-baseline and post-baseline tumor growth rate in patients with HPD, which could not be confirmed with the Caramella and Garralda criteria. Significant differences in progression-free survival were observed between non-hyperprogressors and hyperprogressors, with all criteria. The proportion of patients that could not receive additional lines of therapy was higher in the HPD group. HPD is an immunotherapy-related acceleration of tumor growth kinetics, with a consequent negative clinical impact. Pre-baseline CT scans and tumor growth rate evaluations are required to identify HPD. Our analysis favors the use of the Le Tourneau method, as it captures adequately the HPD phenomenon and is more convenient to use.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ctrv.2020.102116DOI Listing
December 2020

T-cell-engaging Therapy for Solid Tumors.

Clin Cancer Res 2021 03 20;27(6):1595-1603. Epub 2020 Oct 20.

START Madrid-HM Centro Integral Oncológico Clara Campal (CIOCC) Early Phase Program, HM Sanchinarro University Hospital, Madrid, Spain.

T-cell engagers (TCE) are a rapidly evolving novel group of treatments that have in common the concurrent engagement of a T-cell surface molecule and a tumoral cell antigen. Bispecific antibodies and genetically engineered adoptive cell therapies, as chimeric antigen receptors or T-cell receptors, have similarities and differences among their mechanisms of action, toxicity profiles, and resistance pathways. Nevertheless, the success observed in the hematologic field has not been obtained with solid tumors yet, as they are biologically more complex and have few truly tumor-specific cell surface antigens that can be targeted with high avidity T cells. Different strategies are under study to improve their short-term perspective, such as new generations of more active TCEs, multi-target or combination of different treatments approaches, or to improve the manufacturing processes. A comprehensive review of TCEs as a grouped treatment class, their current status, and research directions in their application to solid tumors therapeutics are discussed here.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1158/1078-0432.CCR-20-2448DOI Listing
March 2021

Ramucirumab in Combination with Pembrolizumab in Treatment-Naïve Advanced Gastric or GEJ Adenocarcinoma: Safety and Antitumor Activity from the Phase 1a/b JVDF Trial.

Cancers (Basel) 2020 Oct 15;12(10). Epub 2020 Oct 15.

Yale Cancer Center, New Haven, CT 06520, USA.

Ramucirumab (anti-VEGFR2) plus pembrolizumab (anti-PD1) demonstrated promising antitumor activity and tolerability among patients with previously treated advanced cancers, supporting growing evidence that combination therapies modulating the tumor microenvironment may expand the spectrum of patients who respond to checkpoint inhibitors. Here we present the results of this combination in first-line patients with metastatic G/GEJ cancer. Twenty-eight patients (≥18 years) with no prior systemic chemotherapy in the advanced/metastatic setting received ramucirumab (8 mg/kg days 1 and 8) plus pembrolizumab (200 mg day 1) every 3 weeks as part of JVDF phase 1a/b study. The primary endpoint was safety. Secondary endpoints included progression-free survival (PFS), objective response rate (ORR), and overall survival (OS). Tumors were PD-L1-positive (combined positive score ≥ 1) in 19 and -negative in 6 patients. Eighteen patients experienced grade 3 treatment-related adverse events, most commonly hypertension (14%) and elevated alanine/aspartate aminotransferase (11% each), with no grade 4 or 5 reported. The ORR was 25% (PD-L1-positive, 32%; PD-L1-negative, 17%) with duration of response not reached. PFS was 5.6 months (PD-L1-positive, 8.6 months; PD-L1-negative, 4.3 months), and OS 14.6 months (PD-L1-positive, 17.3 months; PD-L1-negative, 11.3 months). Acknowledging study design limitations, ramucirumab plus pembrolizumab had encouraging durable clinical activity with no unexpected toxicities in treatment-naïve biomarker-unselected metastatic G/GEJ cancer, and improved outcomes in patients with PD-L1-positive tumors.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3390/cancers12102985DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7602637PMC
October 2020

A first-in-human phase 1 and pharmacological study of TAS-119, a novel selective Aurora A kinase inhibitor in patients with advanced solid tumours.

Br J Cancer 2021 01 6;124(2):391-398. Epub 2020 Oct 6.

The Royal Marsden and The Institute of Cancer Research, London, UK.

Background: This is a first-in-human study with TAS-119, an Aurora A kinase (AurA) inhibitor.

Methods: Patients with advanced, refractory, solid tumours were enrolled into 5 dose escalation cohorts (70-300 mg BID, 4 days on/3 days off, 3 out of 4 weeks or 4 out of 4 weeks). The expansion part consisted of patients with small-cell lung cancer, HER2-negative breast cancer, MYC-amplified/β-catenin-mutated (MT) tumours or other (basket cohort).

Results: In the escalation part (n = 34 patients), dose-limiting toxicities were one grade 3 nausea, two grade 2 and one grade 3 ocular toxicity and a combination of fatigue, ocular toxicity and nausea in one patient (all grade 2) at dose levels of 150, 200, 250 and 300 mg, respectively. Most frequent treatment-related adverse events were fatigue (32%), diarrhoea (24%) and ocular toxicity (24%). Toxicity grade ≥3 in ≥10% of patients were diarrhoea (15%) and increased lipase (12%). The maximum tolerated dose was 250 mg BID. Due to one additional grade 1 ocular toxicity, the RP2D was set at 200 mg BID (4 days on/3 days off, 3 out of 4 weeks), which was further explored in the expansion part (n = 40 patients). Target inhibition in paired skin biopsies was shown.

Conclusions: TAS-119 has a favourable and remarkably distinct safety profile from other AurA inhibitors.

Clinical Trial Registration: NCT02448589.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41416-020-01100-3DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7852567PMC
January 2021

Phase Ib Study of Ribociclib plus Fulvestrant and Ribociclib plus Fulvestrant plus PI3K Inhibitor (Alpelisib or Buparlisib) for HR Advanced Breast Cancer.

Clin Cancer Res 2021 01 4;27(2):418-428. Epub 2020 Sep 4.

Department of Haematology-Oncology, National University Hospital, National University Cancer Institute, National University Health System, Singapore.

Purpose: Resistance to treatment with endocrine therapy in patients with HR, HER2 advanced breast cancer (ABC) is common and dual inhibition of CDK4/6 and PI3K pathways may delay the development of resistance. This phase Ib trial evaluates the safety and tolerability of triple and double regimens containing the CDK4/6 inhibitor ribociclib.

Patients And Methods: In this open-label, multicenter, phase Ib study, 70 postmenopausal women with HR, HER2 ABC were enrolled into one of four treatment combinations: ribociclib (once daily, 3 weeks on, 1 week off) plus fulvestrant; ribociclib (continuous dosing) plus fulvestrant; ribociclib plus alpelisib plus fulvestrant; or ribociclib plus buparlisib plus fulvestrant.

Results: The recommended phase II dose (RP2D) of ribociclib was confirmed to be 600 mg (3 weeks on, 1 week off) and 400 mg (continuous dosing) plus fulvestrant 500 mg. For the triple combination with buparlisib, the RP2D was ribociclib 400 mg plus buparlisib 30 mg plus fulvestrant 500 mg. Enrollment for the triple combinations was stopped due to unexpected toxicity. No RP2D was determined for the alpelisib combination. The safety profiles of the ribociclib plus fulvestrant combinations were consistent with those in previous studies. There was no marked difference in ribociclib exposure in the presence of triple-combination partners. The highest overall response rate was seen in the buparlisib triple combination (25.0%; 95% confidence interval, 9.8-46.7).

Conclusions: Ribociclib plus fulvestrant demonstrated safety in the treatment of patients with HR, HER2 ABC. Triple combinations with alpelisib or buparlisib plus fulvestrant are not recommended for phase II investigation..
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1158/1078-0432.CCR-20-0645DOI Listing
January 2021

Clinical Challenges of Immune Checkpoint Inhibitors.

Cancer Cell 2020 09 3;38(3):326-333. Epub 2020 Aug 3.

START Madrid-HM CIOCC, Centro Integral Oncológico Clara Campal, Hospital Universitario HM Sanchinarro, Calle Oña, 10, 28050 Madrid, Spain. Electronic address:

Even though the immuno-oncology (IO) era has achieved many successes, some signs of research development deceleration are arising. Recently, the number of FDA immunotherapy approvals has decreased concurrently with a decline in the relative number of patients recruited to these trials. Identifying the unique features of IO treatments and taking them into consideration on clinical research will lead to a better evaluation of these agents and patient outcomes. In this review, we discuss current challenges and new potential approaches to implement rationally designed clinical trials of IO drugs, particularly those targeting immune checkpoints.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ccell.2020.07.004DOI Listing
September 2020

Randomised Phase II study comparing alternating cycles of sunitinib and everolimus vs standard sequential administration in first-line metastatic renal carcinoma (SUNRISES study).

BJU Int 2020 11 2;126(5):559-567. Epub 2020 Aug 2.

Hospital del Mar-Institut Hospital del Mar d'Investigacions Mèdiques, Barcelona, Spain.

Objective: To investigate the efficacy of alternating cycles of sunitinib and everolimus vs standard sequential treatment of sunitinib followed by everolimus in first-line metastatic renal cell carcinoma (mRCC), as alternating blockade of vascular endothelial growth factor receptor (VEGFR) and mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR) pathways could potentially prevent the occurrence of resistance to anti-VEGFR therapy in mRCC.

Patients And Methods: SUNRISES, a randomised open-label Phase II study, investigated the efficacy of alternating cycles of sunitinib and everolimus vs standard sequential treatment of sunitinib followed by everolimus upon progression. Treatment-naïve patients with clear-cell mRCC were included. Alternating treatment consisted on 12 weeks of sunitinib, followed by 12 weeks of everolimus. The primary endpoint was the progression-free survival (PFS) rate at 1 year. The secondary endpoints included the median PFS, overall survival (OS), response rate, and safety.

Results: Accrual was low due to the advent of new-generation therapies, and the study was stopped prematurely. Only 41 patients out of the planned 102 patients were accrued, and randomised in a 2:1 ratio (15 patients to the control arm, 26 to the experimental arm). In all, 60.9% of patients had performance status (PS) 0 and 39% PS 1; 63% had a favourable prognostic risk profile, while 36% were intermediate risk. The primary endpoint was not met. The 1-year PFS rate was 49.7% (experimental arm) vs 84.62% (control arm; P = 0.11). There was a trend towards fewer Grade ≥3 adverse events with the alternating approach (50% vs 73.3%; P = 0.14). The median OS was similar in both treatment arms. The other secondary endpoints favoured the control arm.

Conclusions: The study failed to show any benefit of alternating cycles of sunitinib and everolimus in patients with mRCC. The alternating approach using an mTOR inhibitor does not seem to prevent the occurrence of resistance to VEGFR blockade.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/bju.15165DOI Listing
November 2020

Increased vulnerability of clinical research units during the COVID-19 crisis and their protection.

Cancer 2020 09 2;126(17):3907-3911. Epub 2020 Jun 2.

START Madrid-HM Centro Integral Oncológico Clara Campal (CIOCC) Early Phase Program, HM Sanchinarro University Hospital, Madrid, Spain.

Lay Summary: Currently, the complexity of clinical trial development in oncology is being further complicated by the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic, which is reducing the resources needed to comply with protocol-specific procedures while putting patients in units, who are already vulnerable, at increased general risk not only for COVID-19 infection but also with respect to their baseline disease. Individualizing the management of patients while ensuring their safety and adherence to the study protocol, establishing specific staff contingency plans, and maintaining sponsor and contract research organization (CRO) alignment are some of the key issues for maintaining the continuity of cancer patients' investigational treatment and minimizing their infection risk as well as the risk to staff members of the unit, sponsors, and CROs while maintaining the integrity of data quality and compliance with good clinical practice.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/cncr.32980DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7300769PMC
September 2020

ESMO Clinical Research Observatory (ECRO): improving the efficiency of clinical research through rationalisation of bureaucracy.

ESMO Open 2020 05;5(3):e000662

Scientific and Medical Division, European Society for Medical Oncology (ESMO), Lugano, Switzerland.

During the last years, there has been a dramatic increase in the administrative and bureaucratic burden associated with clinical research, which has clearly had an impact on its overall efficiency and on the activity of clinical investigators and research teams. Indeed, the supervision of the adherence of clinical research to Good Clinical Practice (GCP) guidelines and legal regulations is of the utmost importance. Yet, while such regulations have remained largely unchanged during recent years, the number of administrative tasks and their complexity have grown markedly, as supported by the results of a survey performed among 940 clinical investigators that we report in this manuscript. Therefore, many investigators believe that it has become necessary to undertake a rigorous analysis of the causes and consequences of this issue, and to create a conduit to channel the advice from experienced investigators regarding clinical research procedures, in order to improve them. Based on these premises, ESMO has launched the ESMO Clinical Research Observatory (ECRO), a task force that will analyse different aspects of clinical research. ECRO will aim to provide the views of ESMO on clinical research procedures based on the feedback from clinical investigators, under complete adherence to the Declaration of Helsinki, the GCP guidelines and any other applicable legal regulations, while at the same time showing profound respect for all the stakeholders involved in clinical research. This manuscript provides the background and rationale for the creation of ECRO, its planned activity and an analysis of the current administrative burden in clinical research with recommendations to rationalise it. Indeed, we expect that this effort shall lead to a relevant improvement in the care of patients and in the development of clinical research.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/esmoopen-2019-000662DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7223268PMC
May 2020

A phase 1 study evaluating safety and pharmacokinetics of losatuxizumab vedotin (ABBV-221), an anti-EGFR antibody-drug conjugate carrying monomethyl auristatin E, in patients with solid tumors likely to overexpress EGFR.

Invest New Drugs 2020 10 18;38(5):1483-1494. Epub 2020 Mar 18.

START San Antonio, San Antonio, TX, USA.

Losatuxizumab vedotin (formerly ABBV-221) is a second-generation antibody-drug conjugate targeting epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR). In this multicenter phase 1 study, eligible patients with EGFR-dependent solid tumors received losatuxizumab vedotin (3 + 3 design) intravenously at starting dose of 0.3 mg/kg over 3 h per 21-day cycle, with alternate dosing schedules utilized (2 weeks on/1 week off or weekly) to mitigate infusion reactions. Forty-five patients received ≥1 doses of losatuxizumab vedotin (13 colon, 6 non-small cell lung cancer, 5 head and neck [HNC], 5 glioblastoma multiforme, 2 breast, 14 other). Tumor samples were evaluated for EGFR protein expression by immunohistochemistry, EGFR and EGFR ligand mRNA expression by RNAseq, and results compared with outcome. Most common adverse events were infusion-related reaction (22/45; 49%) and fatigue (20/45; 44%). While most infusion reactions were grade ≤ 2, four patients experienced grade ≥3 infusion reactions. Several infusion reaction mitigation strategies were explored. Because of the high incidence of infusion reactions, the trial was stopped and the maximum tolerated dose was not reached. The last cleared dose: 6 mg/kg/cycle. Nineteen patients (42%) had stable disease; 4 remained on study >6 months. One HNC patient with increased levels of EGFR and EGFR ligands (amphiregulin, epiregulin) achieved a confirmed partial response. Pharmacokinetic analysis of losatuxizumab vedotin showed exposures appeared to be approximately dose-proportional. The high frequency of infusion reactions necessitated early closure of this trial. The detailed mitigation strategies used in this protocol for infusion-related reactions may provide beneficial information for trial design of agents with high infusion reaction rates.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s10637-020-00908-3DOI Listing
October 2020

Design and Conduct of Early Clinical Studies of Immunotherapy: Recommendations from the Task Force on Methodology for the Development of Innovative Cancer Therapies 2019 (MDICT).

Clin Cancer Res 2020 06 21;26(11):2461-2465. Epub 2020 Feb 21.

Medical and Scientific Affairs Division, ESMO, Lugano, Switzerland.

Purpose: To review key aspects of the design and conduct of early clinical trials (ECT) of immunotherapy agents.

Experimental Design: The Methodology for the Development of Innovative Cancer Therapies Task Force 2019 included experts from academia, nonprofit organizations, industry, and regulatory agencies. The review focus was on methodology for ECTs testing immune-oncology therapies (IO) used in combination with other IO or chemotherapy.

Results: Although early successes have been seen, the landscape continues to be very dynamic, and there are ongoing concerns regarding the capacity to test all new drugs and combinations in clinical trials.

Conclusions: Optimization of drug development methodology is required, taking into account early, late, and lower grade intolerable toxicities, novel response patterns, as well as pharmacodynamic data.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1158/1078-0432.CCR-19-3136DOI Listing
June 2020

Nivolumab Monotherapy and Nivolumab Plus Ipilimumab in Recurrent Small Cell Lung Cancer: Results From the CheckMate 032 Randomized Cohort.

J Thorac Oncol 2020 03 17;15(3):426-435. Epub 2019 Oct 17.

Sarah Cannon Research Institute/Tennessee Oncology Nashville, Nashville, Tennessee.

Introduction: Nivolumab monotherapy is approved in the United States for third-line or later metastatic small cell lung cancer based on pooled data from nonrandomized and randomized cohorts of the multicenter, open-label, phase 1/2 trial of nivolumab ± ipilimumab (CheckMate 032; NCT01928394). We report updated results, including long-term overall survival (OS), from the randomized cohort.

Methods: Patients with small cell lung cancer and disease progression after one to two prior chemotherapy regimens were randomized 3:2 to nivolumab 3 mg/kg every 2 weeks or nivolumab 1 mg/kg plus ipilimumab 3 mg/kg every 3 weeks for four cycles followed by nivolumab 3 mg/kg every 2 weeks. Patients were stratified by number of prior chemotherapy regimens and treated until disease progression or unacceptable toxicity. The primary endpoint was objective response rate (ORR) by blinded independent central review.

Results: Overall, 147 patients received nivolumab and 96 nivolumab plus ipilimumab. Minimum follow-up for ORR/progression-free survival/safety was 11.9 months (nivolumab) and 11.2 months (nivolumab plus ipilimumab). ORR increased with nivolumab plus ipilimumab (21.9% versus 11.6% with nivolumab; odds ratio: 2.12; 95% confidence interval: 1.06-4.26; p = 0.03). For long-term OS, minimum follow-up was 29.0 months (nivolumab) versus 28.4 months (nivolumab plus ipilimumab); median (95% confidence interval) OS was 5.7 (3.8-7.6) versus 4.7 months (3.1-8.3). Twenty-four-month OS rates were 17.9% (nivolumab) and 16.9% (nivolumab plus ipilimumab). Grade 3 to 4 treatment-related adverse event rates were 12.9% (nivolumab) versus 37.5% (nivolumab plus ipilimumab), and treatment-related deaths were n =1 versus n = 3, respectively.

Conclusions: Whereas ORR (primary endpoint) was higher with nivolumab plus ipilimumab versus nivolumab, OS was similar between groups. In each group, OS remained encouraging with long-term follow-up. Toxicities were more common with combination therapy versus nivolumab monotherapy.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jtho.2019.10.004DOI Listing
March 2020

Safety and Efficacy of Nivolumab Monotherapy in Recurrent or Metastatic Cervical, Vaginal, or Vulvar Carcinoma: Results From the Phase I/II CheckMate 358 Trial.

J Clin Oncol 2019 11 5;37(31):2825-2834. Epub 2019 Sep 5.

Stephenson Cancer Center at the University of Oklahoma, Oklahoma City, OK, and Sarah Cannon Research Institute, Nashville, TN.

Purpose: Nivolumab was assessed in patients with virus-associated tumors in the phase I/II CheckMate 358 trial (ClinicalTrials.gov identifier: NCT02488759). We report on patients with recurrent/metastatic cervical, vaginal, or vulvar cancers.

Patients And Methods: Patients received nivolumab 240 mg every 2 weeks. Although patients with unknown human papillomavirus status were enrolled, patients known to have human papillomavirus-negative tumors were ineligible. The primary end point was objective response rate. Duration of response (DOR), progression-free survival, and overall survival were secondary end points. Safety and patient-reported outcomes were exploratory end points.

Results: Twenty-four patients (cervical, n = 19; vaginal/vulvar, n = 5) were enrolled. Most patients had received prior systemic therapy for metastatic disease (cervical, 78.9%; vaginal/vulvar, 80.0%). Objective response rates were 26.3% (95% CI, 9.1 to 51.2) for cervical cancer and 20.0% (95% CI, 0.5 to 71.6) for vaginal/vulvar cancers. At a median follow-up of 19.2 months, median DOR was not reached (range, 23.3 to 29.5+ months; + indicates a censored observation) in the five responding patients in the cervical cohort; the DOR was 5.0 months in the single responding patient in the vaginal/vulvar cohort. Median overall survival was 21.9 months (95% CI, 15.1 months to not reached) among patients with cervical cancer. Any-grade treatment-related adverse events were reported in 12 of 19 patients (63.2%) in the cervical cohort and all five patients in the vaginal/vulvar cohort; there were no treatment-related deaths. In the cervical cohort, nivolumab treatment generally resulted in stabilization of patient-reported outcomes associated with health status and health-related quality of life.

Conclusion: The efficacy of nivolumab in patients with recurrent/metastatic cervical and vaginal or vulvar cancers is promising and warrants additional investigation. No new safety signals were identified with nivolumab treatment in this population.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1200/JCO.19.00739DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6823884PMC
November 2019

Ramucirumab plus pembrolizumab in patients with previously treated advanced non-small-cell lung cancer, gastro-oesophageal cancer, or urothelial carcinomas (JVDF): a multicohort, non-randomised, open-label, phase 1a/b trial.

Lancet Oncol 2019 08 10;20(8):1109-1123. Epub 2019 Jul 10.

Royal Marsden Hospital, Sutton, Surrey, UK.

Background: Pre-clinical and clinical evidence suggests that simultaneous blockade of VEGF receptor-2 (VEGFR-2) and PD-1 or PD-L1 enhances antigen-specific T-cell migration, antitumour activity, and has favourable toxicity. In this study, we aimed to assess the safety and preliminary antitumour activity of ramucirumab (an IgG1 VEGFR-2 antagonist) combined with pembrolizumab (an IgG4 PD-1 antagonist) in patients with previously treated advanced gastric or gastro-oesophageal junction adenocarcinoma, non-small-cell lung cancer, or urothelial carcinoma.

Methods: We did a multicohort, non-randomised, open-label, phase 1a/b trial at 16 academic medical centres, hospitals, and clinics in the USA, France, Germany, Spain, and the UK. We enrolled adult patients aged 18 years or older with histologically confirmed gastric or gastro-oesophageal junction adenocarcinoma (cohorts A and B), non-small-cell lung cancer (cohort C), or urothelial carcinoma (cohort D), whose disease had progressed on one or two lines of previous therapy (for those with gastric or gastro-oesophageal junction adenocarcinoma) or one to three lines of previous therapy (for those with non-small-cell lung cancer and urothelial carcinoma) that included platinum (for all tumour types) or fluoropyrimidine or both (for gastric or gastro-oesophageal junction adenocarcinoma). Eligibility criteria included presence of measurable disease and an Eastern Cooperative Oncology Group performance status of 0-1. Patients with previously untreated gastric or gastro-oesophageal junction adenocarcinoma and non-small-cell lung cancer were also enrolled (in two additional separate cohorts); the results for these cohorts will be reported separately. The first 21-day treatment cycle was a dose-limiting toxicity observation period (phase 1a; safety run-in), followed by a phase 1b cohort expansion stage. Pembrolizumab 200 mg was administered intravenously on day 1, and intravenous ramucirumab was administered at 8 mg/kg on days 1 and 8 for cohort A or at 10 mg/kg on day 1 for cohorts B, C, and D, every 3 weeks, until disease progression or other discontinuation criteria were met. The primary endpoint was the safety and tolerability of ramucirumab in combination with pembrolizumab assessed by the incidence of adverse events in both phase 1a and 1b and as dose-limiting toxicities during phase 1a. The safety and activity analysis set included all patients who received at least one dose of study treatment. This trial is registered with ClinicalTrials.gov, number NCT02443324, and is no longer enrolling patients.

Findings: Between July 30, 2015 and June 24, 2016, we enrolled and treated 92 patients (41 with gastric or gastro-oesophageal junction adenocarcinoma, 27 with non-small-cell lung cancer, and 24 with urothelial carcinoma). Median follow-up was 32·8 months (IQR 28·1-33·6). During the first cycle of treatment (phase 1a safety run-in; n=11), one patient with gastro-oesophageal junction adenocarcinoma who received the 8 mg/kg dose of ramucirumab had grade 3 abdominal pain, colitis, hepatitis, interstitial lung disease, and jaundice, and grade 4 cholestasis, and died on treatment on day 40; the death was deemed related to progressive disease. No additional dose-limiting toxicities occurred and the decision was made to maintain the full planned doses of ramucirumab and pembrolizumab in phase 1b (n=81). Treatment-related adverse events occurred in 75 (82%) of 92 patients, the most common of which was fatigue (in 33 patients [36%]), predominantly of grade 1 or 2 severity. 22 patients (24%) had one or more treatment-related adverse events of grade 3 or worse, most commonly hypertension (six patients; 7%) and colitis (five patients; 5%). Serious adverse events occurred in 53 (58%) of 92 patients, and were deemed related to treatment in 22 (24%) patients. The most common treatment-related serious adverse events were abdominal pain in patients with gastric or gastro-oesophageal junction adenocarcinoma (in three [7%] of 41 patients); asthenia and myocardial infarction in patients with non-small-cell lung cancer (two [7%] of 27 patients), and colitis in patients with urothelial carcinoma (two [8%] of 24 patients). Six (7%) of 92 patients discontinued treatment because of treatment-related adverse events, and one death (from pulmonary sepsis in a patient with gastric or gastro-oesophageal junction adenocarcinoma) was deemed related to treatment. The number of patients achieving an objective response was three (7%; 95% CI 1·5-19·9) of 41 in the gastric or gastro-oesophageal junction adenocarcinoma cohort, eight (30%; 13·8-50·2) of 27 in the non-small-cell lung cancer cohort, and three (13%, 2·7-32·4) in the urothelial carcinoma cohort.

Interpretation: Ramucirumab in combination with pembrolizumab showed a manageable safety profile with favourable antitumour activity in patients with previously treated advanced gastric or gastro-oesophageal junction adenocarcinoma, non-small-cell lung cancer, and urothelial carcinoma. Our results contribute to the growing evidence that supports dual inhibition of the VEGF-VEGFR2 and PD-1-PD-L1 pathways. This combination could be further explored with or without chemotherapy, especially for patients with tumours for which single-agent checkpoint inhibitors have shown no additional benefit over chemotherapy.

Funding: Eli Lilly and Company, and Merck and Co.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/S1470-2045(19)30458-9DOI Listing
August 2019

Nivolumab Alone and With Ipilimumab in Previously Treated Metastatic Urothelial Carcinoma: CheckMate 032 Nivolumab 1 mg/kg Plus Ipilimumab 3 mg/kg Expansion Cohort Results.

J Clin Oncol 2019 07 17;37(19):1608-1616. Epub 2019 May 17.

14 Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, New York, NY.

Purpose: CheckMate 032 is an open-label, multicohort study that includes patients with unresectable locally advanced or metastatic urothelial carcinoma (mUC) treated with nivolumab 3 mg/kg monotherapy every 2 weeks (NIVO3), nivolumab 3 mg/kg plus ipilimumab 1 mg/kg every 3 weeks for four doses followed by nivolumab monotherapy 3 mg/kg every 2 weeks (NIVO3+IPI1), or nivolumab 1 mg/kg plus ipilimumab 3 mg/kg every 3 weeks for four doses followed by nivolumab monotherapy 3 mg/kg every 2 weeks (NIVO1+IPI3). We report on the expanded NIVO1+IPI3 cohort and extended follow-up for the NIVO3 and NIVO3+IPI1 cohorts.

Methods: Patients with platinum-pretreated mUC were enrolled in this phase I/II multicenter study to receive NIVO3, NIVO3+IPI1, or NIVO1+IPI3 until disease progression or unacceptable toxicity. Primary end point was investigator-assessed objective response rate per Response Evaluation Criteria in Solid Tumors (RECIST) version 1.1, including duration of response.

Results: Seventy-eight patients were treated with NIVO3 (minimum follow-up, 37.7 months), 104 with NIVO3+IPI1 (minimum follow-up, 38.8 months), and 92 with NIVO1+IPI3 (minimum follow-up, 7.9 months). Objective response rate was 25.6%, 26.9%, and 38.0% in the NIVO3, NIVO3+IPI1, and NIVO1+IPI3 arms, respectively. Median duration of response was more than 22 months in all arms. Grade 3 or 4 treatment-related adverse events occurred in 21 (26.9%), 32 (30.8%), and 36 (39.1%) patients treated with NIVO3, NIVO3+IPI1, and NIVO1+IPI3, respectively. Grade 5 treatment-related pneumonitis occurred in one patient each in the NIVO3 and NIVO3+IPI1 arms.

Conclusion: With longer follow-up, NIVO3 demonstrated sustained antitumor activity alone and in combination with ipilimumab. NIVO1+IPI3 provided the greatest antitumor activity of all regimens, with a manageable safety profile. This result not only supports additional study of NIVO1+IPI3 in mUC, but demonstrates the potential benefit of immunotherapy combinations in this disease.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1200/JCO.19.00538DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6879315PMC
July 2019

Multicenter Phase I Study of Erdafitinib (JNJ-42756493), Oral Pan-Fibroblast Growth Factor Receptor Inhibitor, in Patients with Advanced or Refractory Solid Tumors.

Clin Cancer Res 2019 08 14;25(16):4888-4897. Epub 2019 May 14.

Vall d'Hebron University Hospital and Institute of Oncology (VHIO), Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona (UAB), Barcelona, Spain.

Purpose: Here, we report results of the first phase I study of erdafitinib, a potent, oral pan-FGFR inhibitor.

Patients And Methods: Patients age ≥18 years with advanced solid tumors for which standard antineoplastic therapy was no longer effective were enrolled (NCT01703481). Parts 2 to 4 employed molecular screening for activating genomic alterations. In patients with such alterations, two selected doses/schedules identified during part 1 dose-escalation [9 mg once daily and 10 mg intermittently (7 days on/7 days off), as previously published (Tabernero JCO 2015;33:3401-8)] were tested.

Results: The study included 187 patients. The most common treatment-related adverse events were hyperphosphatemia (64%), dry mouth (42%), and asthenia (28%), generally grade 1/2 severity. All cases of hyperphosphatemia were grade 1/2 except for 1 grade 3 event. Skin, nail, and eye changes were observed in 43%, 33%, and 28% of patients, respectively (mostly grade 1/2 and reversible after temporary dosing interruption). Urothelial carcinoma and cholangiocarcinoma were most responsive to erdafitinib, with objective response rates (ORR) of 46.2% (12/26) and 27.3% (3/11), respectively, in response-evaluable patients with mutations or fusions. All patients with urothelial carcinoma and cholangiocarcinoma who responded to erdafitinib carried mutations or fusions. Median response duration was 5.6 months for urothelial carcinoma and 11.4 months for cholangiocarcinoma. ORRs in other tumor types were <10%.

Conclusions: Erdafitinib shows tolerability and preliminary clinical activity in advanced solid tumors with genomic changes in the FGFR pathway, at two different dosing schedules and with particularly encouraging responses in urothelial carcinoma and cholangiocarcinoma.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1158/1078-0432.CCR-18-3334DOI Listing
August 2019
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