Publications by authors named "Rodolfo F Perini"

19 Publications

  • Page 1 of 1

Belzutifan, a Potent HIF2α Inhibitor, in the Pacak-Zhuang Syndrome.

N Engl J Med 2021 11;385(22):2059-2065

From the Departments of Pediatric Oncology (J.K., K.V.H., J.A.P., C.M.C., A.I., C.B.W., K.A.J., S.G.D.) and Medical Oncology (W.G.K.), Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, Harvard Medical School, the Divisions of Hematology and Oncology (J.K., J.A.P., M.M.H., K.A.J., S.G.D.) and Endocrinology (A.J.W.) and the Departments of Surgery (B.R.W.), Pathology (S.O.V.), and Radiology (S.D.V.), Boston Children's Hospital, Harvard Medical School, and the Manton Center for Orphan Disease Research and the Division of Genetics and Genomics, Boston Children's Hospital (J.A.M., J.L.) - all in Boston; Howard Hughes Medical Institute, Chevy Chase, MD (W.G.K.); and Merck, Kenilworth, NJ (R.F.P., N.J.Z.).

The integration of genomic testing into clinical care enables the use of individualized approaches to the management of rare diseases. We describe the use of belzutifan, a potent and selective small-molecule inhibitor of the protein hypoxia-inducible factor 2α (HIF2α), in a patient with polycythemia and multiple paragangliomas (the Pacak-Zhuang syndrome). The syndrome was caused in this patient by somatic mosaicism for an activating mutation in . Treatment with belzutifan led to a rapid and sustained tumor response along with resolution of hypertension, headaches, and long-standing polycythemia. This case shows the application of a targeted therapy for the treatment of a patient with a rare tumor-predisposition syndrome. (Funded by the Morin Family Fund for Pediatric Cancer and Alex's Lemonade Stand Foundation.).
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1056/NEJMoa2110051DOI Listing
November 2021

Belzutifan for Renal Cell Carcinoma in von Hippel-Lindau Disease.

N Engl J Med 2021 11;385(22):2036-2046

From the University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center, Houston (E.J.); Aarhus University Hospital, Aarhus, Denmark (F.D.); Massachusetts General Hospital Cancer Center and Harvard Medical School, Boston (O.I.); Vanderbilt University Medical Center, Nashville (W.K.R.); University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia (V.K.N.); the University of Utah, Salt Lake City (B.L.M.); Hôpital Européen Georges-Pompidou, University of Paris, Paris (S.O.); the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor (T.E.); the University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh (J.K.M.); Cambridge University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, Cambridge, United Kingdom (S.J.W.); Merck, Kenilworth, NJ (S.T., E.K.P., R.F.P.); and the Center for Cancer Research, National Cancer Institute, Bethesda, MD (W.M.L., R.S.).

Background: Patients with von Hippel-Lindau (VHL) disease have a high incidence of renal cell carcinoma owing to gene inactivation and constitutive activation of the transcription factor hypoxia-inducible factor 2α (HIF-2α).

Methods: In this phase 2, open-label, single-group trial, we investigated the efficacy and safety of the HIF-2α inhibitor belzutifan (MK-6482, previously called PT2977), administered orally at a dose of 120 mg daily, in patients with renal cell carcinoma associated with VHL disease. The primary end point was objective response (complete or partial response) as measured according to the Response Evaluation Criteria in Solid Tumors, version 1.1, by an independent central radiology review committee. We also assessed responses to belzutifan in patients with non-renal cell carcinoma neoplasms and the safety of belzutifan.

Results: After a median follow-up of 21.8 months (range, 20.2 to 30.1), the percentage of patients with renal cell carcinoma who had an objective response was 49% (95% confidence interval, 36 to 62). Responses were also observed in patients with pancreatic lesions (47 of 61 patients [77%]) and central nervous system hemangioblastomas (15 of 50 patients [30%]). Among the 16 eyes that could be evaluated in 12 patients with retinal hemangioblastomas at baseline, all (100%) were graded as showing improvement. The most common adverse events were anemia (in 90% of the patients) and fatigue (in 66%). Seven patients discontinued treatment: four patients voluntarily discontinued, one discontinued owing to a treatment-related adverse event (grade 1 dizziness), one discontinued because of disease progression as assessed by the investigator, and one patient died (of acute toxic effects of fentanyl).

Conclusions: Belzutifan was associated with predominantly grade 1 and 2 adverse events and showed activity in patients with renal cell carcinomas and non-renal cell carcinoma neoplasms associated with VHL disease. (Funded by Merck Sharp and Dohme and others; MK-6482-004 ClinicalTrials.gov number, NCT03401788.).
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1056/NEJMoa2103425DOI Listing
November 2021

Adjuvant Pembrolizumab after Nephrectomy in Renal-Cell Carcinoma.

N Engl J Med 2021 08;385(8):683-694

From Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, Boston (T.K.C.); Poznan University of Medical Sciences, Poznan (P.T.), and Wojewódzki Szpital Zespolony im. L. Rydygiera w Toruniu, Torun (P.S.) - both in Poland; Sungkyunkwan University, Samsung Medical Center (S.H.P.), and Asan Medical Center, University of Ulsan College of Medicine (J.L.L.) - both in Seoul, South Korea; Beatson West of Scotland Cancer Centre and University of Glasgow, Glasgow (B.V.), Edinburgh Cancer Centre and University of Edinburgh, Edinburgh (S.N.S.), and Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust (N.S.) and the Royal Free Hospital NHS Trust, University College London (T.P.), London - all in the United Kingdom; Fiona Stanley Hospital, Perth, WA (T.F.), and Macquarie University, Sydney (H.G.) - both in Australia; Taipei Veterans General Hospital, Taipei, Taiwan (Y.-H.C.); Fakultni Nemocnice Ostrava, Ostrava (J.H.), and Palacký University and University Hospital Olomouc, Olomouc (B.M.) - both in the Czech Republic; University Hospital Jean Minjoz, Besançon (A.T.-V.), University Hospital Bordeaux-Hôpital Saint-André, Bordeaux (M.G.-G.), Institut Universitaire du Cancer Toulouse-Oncopole, Toulouse (C.C.), Centre Hospitalier Universitaire de Montpellier, Montpellier (D.T.), and Hôpital Européen Georges Pompidou, University of Paris, Paris (S.O.) - all in France; Fundación Arturo López Pérez, Santiago, Chile (M.M.); Abramson Cancer Center, Philadelphia (N.H.); Omsk Clinical Oncology Dispensary, Omsk, Russia (E.K.); the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor (A.A.); Rocky Mountain Cancer Centers and U.S. Oncology Research, Denver (J.M.B.); Texas Oncology, U.S. Oncology Research, Woodlands (G.D.), and the University of Texas Southwestern, Dallas (H.H.); the University of Toyama, Toyama, Japan (H.K.); Eberhard Karls University Tübingen, Tübingen, Germany (J.B.); Merck, Kenilworth, NJ (R.F.P., P.Z., K.I., J.W.-R.); and USC Norris Comprehensive Cancer Center, Los Angeles (D.I.Q.).

Background: Patients with renal-cell carcinoma who undergo nephrectomy have no options for adjuvant therapy to reduce the risk of recurrence that have high levels of supporting evidence.

Methods: In a double-blind, phase 3 trial, we randomly assigned, in a 1:1 ratio, patients with clear-cell renal-cell carcinoma who were at high risk for recurrence after nephrectomy, with or without metastasectomy, to receive either adjuvant pembrolizumab (at a dose of 200 mg) or placebo intravenously once every 3 weeks for up to 17 cycles (approximately 1 year). The primary end point was disease-free survival according to the investigator's assessment. Overall survival was a key secondary end point. Safety was a secondary end point.

Results: A total of 496 patients were randomly assigned to receive pembrolizumab, and 498 to receive placebo. At the prespecified interim analysis, the median time from randomization to the data-cutoff date was 24.1 months. Pembrolizumab therapy was associated with significantly longer disease-free survival than placebo (disease-free survival at 24 months, 77.3% vs. 68.1%; hazard ratio for recurrence or death, 0.68; 95% confidence interval [CI], 0.53 to 0.87; P = 0.002 [two-sided]). The estimated percentage of patients who remained alive at 24 months was 96.6% in the pembrolizumab group and 93.5% in the placebo group (hazard ratio for death, 0.54; 95% CI, 0.30 to 0.96). Grade 3 or higher adverse events of any cause occurred in 32.4% of the patients who received pembrolizumab and in 17.7% of those who received placebo. No deaths related to pembrolizumab therapy occurred.

Conclusions: Pembrolizumab treatment led to a significant improvement in disease-free survival as compared with placebo after surgery among patients with kidney cancer who were at high risk for recurrence. (Funded by Merck Sharp and Dohme, a subsidiary of Merck; KEYNOTE-564 ClinicalTrials.gov number, NCT03142334.).
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1056/NEJMoa2106391DOI Listing
August 2021

Lenvatinib plus pembrolizumab in patients with either treatment-naive or previously treated metastatic renal cell carcinoma (Study 111/KEYNOTE-146): a phase 1b/2 study.

Lancet Oncol 2021 07 15;22(7):946-958. Epub 2021 Jun 15.

Department of Medicine, Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, New York, NY, USA.

Background: Despite advances in the first-line treatment of metastatic renal cell carcinoma (RCC), there is an unmet need for options to address disease progression during or after treatment with immune checkpoint inhibitors (ICIs). Pembrolizumab and lenvatinib are active as monotherapies in RCC; thus, we aimed to evaluate the combination of lenvatinib plus pembrolizumab in these patients.

Methods: We report results of the metastatic RCC cohort from an open-label phase 1b/2 study of lenvatinib plus pembrolizumab in patients aged at least 18 years with selected solid tumours and an Eastern Cooperative Oncology Group performance status of 0-1. Oral lenvatinib at 20 mg was given once daily along with intravenous pembrolizumab at 200 mg once every 3 weeks. Patients remained on study drug treatment until disease progression, development of unacceptable toxicity, or withdrawal of consent. Efficacy was analysed in patients with clear cell metastatic RCC receiving study drug by previous therapy grouping: treatment naive, previously treated ICI naive (previously treated with at least one line of therapy but not with an anti-PD-1 or anti-PD-L1 ICI), and ICI pretreated (ie, anti-PD-1 or anti-PD-L1) patients. Safety was analysed in all enrolled and treated patients. The primary endpoint was the objective response rate at week 24 per immune-related Response Evaluation Criteria In Solid Tumors (irRECIST) by investigator assessment. This trial is registered with ClinicalTrials.gov (NCT02501096) and with the EU Clinical Trials Register (EudraCT2017-000300-26), and is closed to new participants.

Findings: Between July 21, 2015, and Oct 16, 2019, 145 patients were enrolled in the study. Two patients had non-clear cell RCC and were excluded from the efficacy analysis (one in the treatment-naive group and one in the ICI-pretreated group); thus, the population evaluated for efficacy comprised 143 patients (n=22 in the treatment-naive group, n=17 in the previously treated ICI-naive group, and n=104 in the ICI-pretreated group). All 145 enrolled patients were included in the safety analysis. The median follow-up was 19·8 months (IQR 14·3-28·4). The number of patients with an objective response at week 24 by irRECIST was 16 (72·7%, 95% CI 49·8-89·3) of 22 treatment-naive patients, seven (41·2%, 18·4-67·1) of 17 previously treated ICI-naive patients, and 58 (55·8%, 45·7-65·5) of 104 ICI-pretreated patients. Of 145 patients, 82 (57%) had grade 3 treatment-related adverse events and ten (7%) had grade 4 treatment-related adverse events. The most common grade 3 treatment-related adverse event was hypertension (30 [21%] of 145 patients). Treatment-related serious adverse events occurred in 36 (25%) patients, and there were three treatment-related deaths (upper gastrointestinal haemorrhage, sudden death, and pneumonia).

Interpretation: Lenvatinib plus pembrolizumab showed encouraging antitumour activity and a manageable safety profile and might be an option for post-ICI treatment of metastatic RCC.

Funding: Eisai and Merck Sharp & Dohme.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/S1470-2045(21)00241-2DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8316679PMC
July 2021

Inhibition of hypoxia-inducible factor-2α in renal cell carcinoma with belzutifan: a phase 1 trial and biomarker analysis.

Nat Med 2021 05 22;27(5):802-805. Epub 2021 Apr 22.

The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, Houston, TX, USA.

Hypoxia-inducible factor-2α (HIF-2α) is a transcription factor that frequently accumulates in clear cell renal cell carcinoma (ccRCC), resulting in constitutive activation of genes involved in carcinogenesis. Belzutifan (MK-6482, previously known as PT2977) is a potent, selective small molecule inhibitor of HIF-2α. Maximum tolerated dose, safety, pharmacokinetics, pharmacodynamics and anti-tumor activity of belzutifan were evaluated in this first-in-human phase 1 study (NCT02974738). Patients had advanced solid tumors (dose-escalation cohort) or previously treated advanced ccRCC (dose-expansion cohort). Belzutifan was administered orally using a 3 + 3 dose-escalation design, followed by expansion at the recommended phase 2 dose (RP2D) in patients with ccRCC. In the dose-escalation cohort (n = 43), no dose-limiting toxicities occurred at doses up to 160 mg once daily, and the maximum tolerated dose was not reached; the RP2D was 120 mg once daily. Plasma erythropoietin reductions were observed at all doses; erythropoietin concentrations correlated with plasma concentrations of belzutifan. In patients with ccRCC who received 120 mg once daily (n = 55), the confirmed objective response rate was 25% (all partial responses), and the median progression-free survival was 14.5 months. The most common grade ≥3 adverse events were anemia (27%) and hypoxia (16%). Belzutifan was well tolerated and demonstrated preliminary anti-tumor activity in heavily pre-treated patients, suggesting that HIF-2α inhibition might offer an effective treatment for ccRCC.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41591-021-01324-7DOI Listing
May 2021

Lenvatinib plus Pembrolizumab or Everolimus for Advanced Renal Cell Carcinoma.

N Engl J Med 2021 04 13;384(14):1289-1300. Epub 2021 Feb 13.

From Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, New York (R.M.); P. Hertsen Moscow Oncology Research Institute, Moscow (B.A.), the State Institution of Health Care Regional Clinical Oncology Dispensary, Omsk (E.K.), the State Budgetary Health Care Institution Novosibirsk Regional Clinical Oncology Dispensary, Novosibirsk (V.K.), and Prevoljskiy Region Medical Center, Novgorod (A.A.) - all in Russia; Yonsei Cancer Center, Yonsei University Health System (S.Y.R.), Seoul St. Mary's Hospital, Catholic University of Korea (S.-H.H.), and Seoul National University Hospital (M.K.), Seoul, South Korea; San Matteo University Hospital Foundation, Pavia (C.P.), Istituto Nazionale dei Tumori IRCCS, Milan (G.P.), and Istituto Scientifico Romagnolo per lo Studio e la Cura dei Tumori IRCCS, Meldola (U.D.G.) - all in Italy; Kyushu University, Fukuoka (M.E.), and Tokyo Women's Medical University, Tokyo (T.T.) - both in Japan; the Royal Free NHS Trust, London (T.P.), and Eisai, Hatfield (A.D.S.) - both in the United Kingdom; University Hospital Essen, Essen (V.G.), and the University of Tübingen, Tübingen (J.B.) - both in Germany; Texas Oncology, Dallas (T.E.H.); Maimonides Institute for Biomedical Research of Cordoba Hospital Universitario Reina Sofía, Medical Oncology Department, Córdoba (M.J.M.-V.), Hospital Universitario Ramón y Cajal, Madrid (T.A.G.), and Hospital de la Santa Creu i Sant Pau, Barcelona (P.M.) - all in Spain; McMaster University, Hamilton (A.K.), and Western University, London (E.W.) - both in Ontario, Canada; the University of Miami Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center, Miami (J.R.M.), and Florida Cancer Specialists, Gainesville (V.P.); ICON Research, South Brisbane, and University of Queensland, St. Lucia, QLD (J.C.G.), Macquarie University, Sydney (H.G.), and Western Health, Melbourne, VIC (S.W.) - all in Australia; Rambam Health Care Campus, Haifa, Israel (A.P.); Palacky University and University Hospital Olomouc, Olomouc, Czech Republic (B.M.); Centre René Gauducheau, Saint Herblain, France (F.R.); the Department of Urology, Medical University of Vienna, Vienna (M.S.); Eisai, Woodcliff Lake (C.E.D., L.D., K.M., D.X.), and Merck, Kenilworth (R.F.P.) - both in New Jersey; and Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, Boston (T.K.C.).

Background: Lenvatinib in combination with pembrolizumab or everolimus has activity against advanced renal cell carcinoma. The efficacy of these regimens as compared with that of sunitinib is unclear.

Methods: In this phase 3 trial, we randomly assigned (in a 1:1:1 ratio) patients with advanced renal cell carcinoma and no previous systemic therapy to receive lenvatinib (20 mg orally once daily) plus pembrolizumab (200 mg intravenously once every 3 weeks), lenvatinib (18 mg orally once daily) plus everolimus (5 mg orally once daily), or sunitinib (50 mg orally once daily, alternating 4 weeks receiving treatment and 2 weeks without treatment). The primary end point was progression-free survival, as assessed by an independent review committee in accordance with Response Evaluation Criteria in Solid Tumors, version 1.1. Overall survival and safety were also evaluated.

Results: A total of 1069 patients were randomly assigned to receive lenvatinib plus pembrolizumab (355 patients), lenvatinib plus everolimus (357), or sunitinib (357). Progression-free survival was longer with lenvatinib plus pembrolizumab than with sunitinib (median, 23.9 vs. 9.2 months; hazard ratio for disease progression or death, 0.39; 95% confidence interval [CI], 0.32 to 0.49; P<0.001) and was longer with lenvatinib plus everolimus than with sunitinib (median, 14.7 vs. 9.2 months; hazard ratio, 0.65; 95% CI, 0.53 to 0.80; P<0.001). Overall survival was longer with lenvatinib plus pembrolizumab than with sunitinib (hazard ratio for death, 0.66; 95% CI, 0.49 to 0.88; P = 0.005) but was not longer with lenvatinib plus everolimus than with sunitinib (hazard ratio, 1.15; 95% CI, 0.88 to 1.50; P = 0.30). Grade 3 or higher adverse events emerged or worsened during treatment in 82.4% of the patients who received lenvatinib plus pembrolizumab, 83.1% of those who received lenvatinib plus everolimus, and 71.8% of those who received sunitinib. Grade 3 or higher adverse events occurring in at least 10% of the patients in any group included hypertension, diarrhea, and elevated lipase levels.

Conclusions: Lenvatinib plus pembrolizumab was associated with significantly longer progression-free survival and overall survival than sunitinib. (Funded by Eisai and Merck Sharp and Dohme; CLEAR ClinicalTrials.gov number, NCT02811861.).
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1056/NEJMoa2035716DOI Listing
April 2021

Open-Label, Single-Arm, Phase II Study of Pembrolizumab Monotherapy as First-Line Therapy in Patients With Advanced Non-Clear Cell Renal Cell Carcinoma.

J Clin Oncol 2021 03 2;39(9):1029-1039. Epub 2021 Feb 2.

Georgetown Lombardi Comprehensive Cancer Center, Washington, DC.

Purpose: Programmed death 1 (PD-1) pathway inhibitors have not been prospectively evaluated in patients with non-clear cell renal cell carcinoma (nccRCC). The phase II KEYNOTE-427 study (cohort B) was conducted to assess the efficacy and safety of single-agent pembrolizumab, a PD-1 inhibitor, in advanced nccRCC.

Methods: Patients with histologically confirmed, measurable (Response Evaluation Criteria in Solid Tumors [RECIST] version 1.1) nccRCC and no prior systemic therapy received pembrolizumab 200 mg intravenously once every 3 weeks for ≤ 24 months. The primary end point was objective response rate (ORR) per RECIST v1.1.

Results: Among enrolled patients (N = 165), 71.5% had confirmed papillary, 12.7% had chromophobe, and 15.8% had unclassified RCC histology. Most patients (67.9%) had intermediate or poor International Metastatic RCC Database Consortium risk status and tumors with programmed death ligand 1 (PD-L1) combined positive score (CPS) ≥ 1 (61.8%). The median time from enrollment to database cutoff was 31.5 months (range, 22.7-38.8). In all patients, the ORR was 26.7%. The median duration of response was 29.0 months; 59.7% of responses lasted ≥ 12 months. The ORR by CPS ≥ 1 and CPS < 1 status was 35.3% and 12.1%, respectively. The ORR by histology was 28.8% for papillary, 9.5% for chromophobe, and 30.8% for unclassified. Overall, the median progression-free survival was 4.2 months (95% CI, 2.9 to 5.6); the 24-month rate was 18.6%. The median overall survival was 28.9 months (95% CI, 24.3 months to not reached); the 24-month rate was 58.4%. Overall, 69.7% of patients reported treatment-related adverse events, most commonly pruritus (20.0%) and hypothyroidism (14.5%). Two deaths were treatment related (pneumonitis and cardiac arrest).

Conclusion: First-line pembrolizumab monotherapy showed promising antitumor activity in nccRCC. The safety profile was similar to that observed in other tumor types.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1200/JCO.20.02365DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8078262PMC
March 2021

Open-Label, Single-Arm Phase II Study of Pembrolizumab Monotherapy as First-Line Therapy in Patients With Advanced Clear Cell Renal Cell Carcinoma.

J Clin Oncol 2021 03 2;39(9):1020-1028. Epub 2021 Feb 2.

Georgetown Lombardi Comprehensive Cancer Center, Washington, DC.

Purpose: Pembrolizumab, a programmed death 1 inhibitor, demonstrated promising single-agent activity in untreated patients with various cancer types. The phase II KEYNOTE-427 study evaluated efficacy and safety of single-agent pembrolizumab in treatment-naive patients with advanced clear cell renal cell carcinoma (ccRCC; cohort A) and advanced non-ccRCC (cohort B). Results of cohort A are reported.

Methods: In this open-label, single-arm phase II study, patients with advanced ccRCC received pembrolizumab 200 mg every 3 weeks for ≤ 24 months. The primary end point was objective response rate by RECIST, version 1.1.

Results: In the total population (N = 110), median time from enrollment to data cutoff was 35.9 (range, 29.5-40.3) months. Objective response rate was 36.4% with four (3.6%) complete responses and 36 (32.7%) partial responses; disease control rate was 58.2% (95% CI, 48.4 to 67.5). Most patients (68.2%) had a decrease in target lesions, including 30.9% with a reduction ≥ 60%. Median duration of response was 18.9 (range, 2.3-37.6+) months; 64.1% of responders had a response ≥ 12 months (Kaplan-Meier). Median progression-free survival was 7.1 months (95% CI, 5.6 to 11.0). Median overall survival was not reached; 12-month and 24-month overall survival rates were 88.2% and 70.8%, respectively. Durable responses were observed across all International Metastatic RCC Database Consortium categories. Grade 3-5 treatment-related adverse events were reported in 30.0% of patients, of which colitis and diarrhea were most frequent.

Conclusion: Single-agent pembrolizumab showed promising antitumor activity as a first-line treatment in patients with advanced ccRCC, with durable responses across International Metastatic RCC Database Consortium categories. Safety and tolerability profile of pembrolizumab monotherapy was comparable to what has been previously described in other tumor types.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1200/JCO.20.02363DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8078336PMC
March 2021

Cost-effectiveness of pembrolizumab with axitinib as first-line treatment for advanced renal cell carcinoma.

Curr Med Res Opin 2020 09 8;36(9):1507-1517. Epub 2020 Aug 8.

Fox Chase Cancer Center, Philadelphia, PA, USA.

Objective: Pembrolizumab/axitinib significantly prolonged overall survival (OS) and progression-free survival (PFS), and increased objective response rate versus sunitinib in the phase III trial KEYNOTE-426 among previously untreated patients with advanced renal cell carcinoma (RCC). This study assessed the cost-effectiveness of pembrolizumab/axitinib versus other first-line treatments of advanced RCC from a US public healthcare payer perspective.

Methods: A partitioned survival model with three states (progression-free, progressed, death) evaluated lifetime costs and quality-adjusted life-years (QALYs) for pembrolizumab/axitinib and other first-line regimens: sunitinib, pazopanib and avelumab/axitinib in the overall population; and sunitinib, cabozantinib and nivolumab/ipilimumab in the subgroup with intermediate/poor prognostic risk. Costs of treatments, adverse events and medical resources were estimated. OS, PFS and treatment duration were extrapolated using parametric models fitted to KEYNOTE-426 data and hazard ratios from network meta-analyses. Utilities were derived through mixed-effects regressions of KEYNOTE-426 EuroQol-5 Dimensions-3 Levels data.

Results: In the overall population, pembrolizumab/axitinib was associated with incremental cost-effectiveness ratios (ICERs) of $95,725/QALY versus sunitinib and $128,210/QALY versus pazopanib, and was dominant (lower cost, higher effectiveness) versus avelumab/axitinib, with incremental QALY gains of 2.73, 2.40 and 1.80 versus these therapies, respectively. In the intermediate/poor-risk subgroup, base-case ICERs for pembrolizumab/axitinib were $101,030/QALY versus sunitinib, $6989/QALY versus cabozantinib, and $130,934/QALY versus nivolumab/ipilimumab, with incremental QALY gains of 2.62, 1.78 and 1.06 versus these therapies.

Conclusions: In this economic evaluation, pembrolizumab/axitinib was associated with higher life expectancy and QALYs and, based on typical willingness-to-pay thresholds of $150,000-$180,000/QALY, was found cost-effective versus other first-line treatments for advanced RCC in the US.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/03007995.2020.1799771DOI Listing
September 2020

Cost-effectiveness of Pembrolizumab as Second-line Therapy for the Treatment of Locally Advanced or Metastatic Urothelial Carcinoma in Sweden.

Eur Urol Oncol 2020 10 22;3(5):663-670. Epub 2018 Nov 22.

Abramson Cancer Center, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA, USA.

Background: Urothelial carcinoma (UC) is the most common subtype of bladder cancer. The randomized phase 3 KEYNOTE-045 trial showed that pembrolizumab, used as second-line therapy significantly prolonged overall survival with fewer treatment-related adverse events than chemotherapy for advanced UC. Pembrolizumab has been approved by the European Medicines Agency for the treatment of locally advanced or metastatic UC in adults who have received platinum-containing chemotherapy. Many European countries use cost-effectiveness analysis to inform reimbursement decisions.

Objective: To assess the cost-effectiveness of pembrolizumab as second-line therapy for the treatment of advanced UC from a Swedish health care perspective.

Design, Setting, And Participants: We developed a partitioned-survival model to assess the costs and effectiveness of pembrolizumab compared with vinflunine (base case), paclitaxel, or docetaxel monotherapy in patients with advanced UC over a 15-yr time horizon. We obtained Kaplan-Meier estimates for survival endpoints, adverse events, and utility data from KEYNOTE-045.

Outcome Measurements And Statistical Analysis: We performed parametric extrapolations to estimate overall and progression-free survival beyond the clinical trial period. Swedish costs and utility weights were used to estimate total costs, quality-adjusted life years (QALYs), and incremental cost-effectiveness ratios (ICERs). We performed deterministic and probabilistic sensitivity analyses to assess the robustness of the model results.

Results And Limitations: In the base-case analysis, pembrolizumab resulted in a mean survival gain of 1.66 years (1.38 QALYs) at an incremental cost of €69852 and an ICER of €50529/QALY gained versus vinflunine monotherapy. ICERs for other chemotherapies were €81356/QALY for pembrolizumab versus paclitaxel or docetaxel monotherapy, and €71924/QALY for pembrolizumab versus paclitaxel, docetaxel, or vinflunine monotherapy. Long-term follow-up from KEYNOTE-045 and real-world data are needed to validate the extrapolations.

Conclusions: The results indicate that pembrolizumab improves survival, increases QALYs, and is cost-effective as second-line therapy at a willingness-to-pay threshold of €100000/QALY for the treatment of advanced UC.

Patient Summary: To date, pembrolizumab is the only treatment associated with a significant overall survival benefit compared with chemotherapy in a randomized controlled trial as second-line therapy for advanced urothelial carcinoma. Our trial-based cost-effectiveness analysis suggests that pembrolizumab is a cost-effective option over chemotherapy in patients with advanced urothelial carcinoma after platinum-based therapy in Sweden.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.euo.2018.09.012DOI Listing
October 2020

Pembrolizumab plus Axitinib versus Sunitinib for Advanced Renal-Cell Carcinoma.

N Engl J Med 2019 03 16;380(12):1116-1127. Epub 2019 Feb 16.

From the Cleveland Clinic Taussig Cancer Institute, Cleveland (B.I.R.); Fox Chase Cancer Center, Philadelphia (E.R.P.); Dnipropetrovsk Medical Academy of Ministry of Health of Ukraine (V.S.) and Dnipropetrovsk Medical Academy (I.B.), Dnipro, Sumy State University, Sumy Regional Oncology Center, Sumy (I.V.), and Ivano-Frankivsk National Medical University, Ivano-Frankivsk (A.K.) - all in Ukraine; the Russian Scientific Center of Roentgen Radiology (R.G.), Central Clinical Hospital with Outpatient Clinic (D.N.), and Hertzen Moscow Cancer Research Institute (B.A.), Moscow; the Christie NHS Foundation Trust, Manchester (R.H.), and Barts Health and the Royal Free NHS Trusts, Barts Cancer Institute, and Queen Mary University of London, London (T.P.) - all in the United Kingdom; Centre Hospitalier Universitaire (CHU) de Québec and Université Laval, Quebec, QC (F.P.), and CHU de Montréal, Montreal (D.S.) - both in Canada; Palacký University Medical School and Teaching Hospital, Olomouc, Czech Republic (B.M.); Hospital de Clínicas de Porto Alegre, Porto Alegre, Brazil (S.J.A.); Centre Antoine Lacassagne, Université Côte d'Azur, Nice (D.B.), and Hôpitaux Universitaires de Lyon, Lyon (S. Tartas) - both in France; Military Institute of Medicine, Warsaw, Poland (C.S.); Rocky Mountain Cancer Center, Colorado Springs, CO (M.M.); Adelaide and Meath Hospital and University College Dublin, Dublin (R.S.M.); the Department of Urology, Eberhard-Karls University Tübingen, Tübingen, Germany (J.B.); Taipei Veterans General Hospital, Taipei, Taiwan (Y.-H.C.); Osaka City University Hospital, Osaka, Japan (S. Tamada); MSD China, Beijing (Q.S.); Merck, Kenilworth, NJ (R.F.P., M.C.); and Georgetown Lombardi Comprehensive Cancer Center, Washington, DC (M.B.A.).

Background: The combination of pembrolizumab and axitinib showed antitumor activity in a phase 1b trial involving patients with previously untreated advanced renal-cell carcinoma. Whether pembrolizumab plus axitinib would result in better outcomes than sunitinib in such patients was unclear.

Methods: In an open-label, phase 3 trial, we randomly assigned 861 patients with previously untreated advanced clear-cell renal-cell carcinoma to receive pembrolizumab (200 mg) intravenously once every 3 weeks plus axitinib (5 mg) orally twice daily (432 patients) or sunitinib (50 mg) orally once daily for the first 4 weeks of each 6-week cycle (429 patients). The primary end points were overall survival and progression-free survival in the intention-to-treat population. The key secondary end point was the objective response rate. All reported results are from the protocol-specified first interim analysis.

Results: After a median follow-up of 12.8 months, the estimated percentage of patients who were alive at 12 months was 89.9% in the pembrolizumab-axitinib group and 78.3% in the sunitinib group (hazard ratio for death, 0.53; 95% confidence interval [CI], 0.38 to 0.74; P<0.0001). Median progression-free survival was 15.1 months in the pembrolizumab-axitinib group and 11.1 months in the sunitinib group (hazard ratio for disease progression or death, 0.69; 95% CI, 0.57 to 0.84; P<0.001). The objective response rate was 59.3% (95% CI, 54.5 to 63.9) in the pembrolizumab-axitinib group and 35.7% (95% CI, 31.1 to 40.4) in the sunitinib group (P<0.001). The benefit of pembrolizumab plus axitinib was observed across the International Metastatic Renal Cell Carcinoma Database Consortium risk groups (i.e., favorable, intermediate, and poor risk) and regardless of programmed death ligand 1 expression. Grade 3 or higher adverse events of any cause occurred in 75.8% of patients in the pembrolizumab-axitinib group and in 70.6% in the sunitinib group.

Conclusions: Among patients with previously untreated advanced renal-cell carcinoma, treatment with pembrolizumab plus axitinib resulted in significantly longer overall survival and progression-free survival, as well as a higher objective response rate, than treatment with sunitinib. (Funded by Merck Sharp & Dohme; KEYNOTE-426 ClinicalTrials.gov number, NCT02853331.).
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1056/NEJMoa1816714DOI Listing
March 2019

Health-Related Quality-of-Life Analysis From KEYNOTE-045: A Phase III Study of Pembrolizumab Versus Chemotherapy for Previously Treated Advanced Urothelial Cancer.

J Clin Oncol 2018 06 28;36(16):1579-1587. Epub 2018 Mar 28.

David J. Vaughn, Abramson Cancer Center, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA; Joaquim Bellmunt and Toni K. Choueiri, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, Boston, MA; Yves Fradet, CHU de Québec-Université Laval, Quebec City, Quebec, Canada; Jae Lyun Lee, Asan Medical Center and University of Ulsan College of Medicine, Seoul, Republic of Korea; Lawrence Fong, University of California, San Francisco, San Francisco; David I. Quinn, University of Southern California Norris Comprehensive Cancer Center, Los Angeles, CA; Nicholas J. Vogelzang, Comprehensive Cancer Centers of Nevada, Las Vegas, NV; Miguel A. Climent, Fundación Instituto Valenciano de Oncología, Valencia, Spain; Daniel P. Petrylak, Smilow Cancer Hospital, Yale University, New Haven, CT; Andrea Necchi, Fondazione Istituto di Ricovero e Cura a Carattere Scientifico Istituto Nazionale dei Tumori, Milan; Cora N. Sternberg, San Camillo and Forlanini Hospitals, Rome, Italy; Winald Gerritsen, Radboud University Medical Center, Nijmegen; Ronald de Wit, Erasmus University Medical Center Cancer Institute, Rotterdam, the Netherlands; Howard Gurney, Westmead Hospital and Macquarie University, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia; Stephane Culine, Hôpital Saint-Louis, Paris, France; Yabing Mai, Haojie Li, and Rodolfo F. Perini, Merk & Co., Inc., Kenilworth, NJ; and Dean F. Bajorin, Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, New York, NY.

Purpose In the phase III KEYNOTE-045 study ( ClinicalTrials.gov identifier: NCT02256436), pembrolizumab significantly prolonged overall survival compared with investigator's choice of chemotherapy in patients with previously treated advanced urothelial cancer. Here, we report the results of health-related quality-of-life (HRQoL) analyses from the KEYNOTE-045 trial. Patients and Methods Patients were randomly assigned 1:1 to pembrolizumab 200 mg or investigator's choice of docetaxel 75 mg/m, paclitaxel 175 mg/m, or vinflunine 320 mg/m administered intravenously every 3 weeks. Key prespecified HRQoL analyses were time to deterioration (TTD) and mean change from baseline to week 15 in European Organisation for Research and Treatment of Cancer Quality of Life Questionnaire C30 global health status/quality-of-life score. Results Of 542 patients who were randomly assigned, 519 were included in HRQoL analyses (pembrolizumab, n = 266; chemotherapy, n = 253). HRQoL compliance was > 95% at baseline and approximately 88% at week 15 for both groups. Pembrolizumab prolonged TTD in global health status/quality-of-life score compared with chemotherapy (median, 3.5 months v 2.3 months; hazard ratio, 0.72; nominal one-sided P = .004). Mean (95% CI) change from baseline to week 15 in global health status/quality-of-life score was 0.69 (-2.40 to 3.77) with pembrolizumab and -8.36 (-11.84 to -4.89) with chemotherapy (mean difference, 9.05 points; 95% CI, 4.61 to 13.50; nominal two-sided P < .001). Conclusion Pembrolizumab prolonged TTD in HRQoL compared with chemotherapy. Patients who were treated with pembrolizumab had stable or improved global health status/quality of life, whereas those who were treated with investigator's choice of chemotherapy experienced declines in global health status/quality of life. Combined with efficacy and safety outcomes, these data support pembrolizumab as standard of care for patients with platinum-refractory advanced urothelial cancer.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1200/JCO.2017.76.9562DOI Listing
June 2018

Pembrolizumab Plus Pegylated Interferon alfa-2b or Ipilimumab for Advanced Melanoma or Renal Cell Carcinoma: Dose-Finding Results from the Phase Ib KEYNOTE-029 Study.

Clin Cancer Res 2018 04 22;24(8):1805-1815. Epub 2018 Jan 22.

University of California, Los Angeles, Los Angeles, California.

Pembrolizumab monotherapy, ipilimumab monotherapy, and pegylated interferon alfa-2b (PEG-IFN) monotherapy are active against melanoma and renal cell carcinoma (RCC). We explored the safety and preliminary antitumor activity of pembrolizumab combined with either ipilimumab or PEG-IFN in patients with advanced melanoma or RCC. The phase Ib KEYNOTE-029 study (ClinicalTrials.gov, NCT02089685) included independent pembrolizumab plus reduced-dose ipilimumab and pembrolizumab plus PEG-IFN cohorts. Pembrolizumab 2 mg/kg every 3 weeks (Q3W) plus 4 doses of ipilimumab 1 mg/kg Q3W was tolerable if ≤6 of 18 patients experienced a dose-limiting toxicity (DLT). The target DLT rate for pembrolizumab 2 mg/kg Q3W plus PEG-IFN was 30%, with a maximum of 14 patients per dose level. Response was assessed per RECIST v1.1 by central review. The ipilimumab cohort enrolled 22 patients, including 19 evaluable for DLTs. Six patients experienced ≥1 DLT. Grade 3 to 4 treatment-related adverse events occurred in 13 (59%) patients. Responses occurred in 5 of 12 (42%) patients with melanoma and 3 of 10 (30%) patients with RCC. In the PEG-IFN cohort, DLTs occurred in 2 of 14 (14%) patients treated at dose level 1 (PEG-IFN 1 μg/kg/week) and 2 of 3 (67%) patients treated at dose level 2 (PEG-IFN 2 μg/kg/week). Grade 3 to 4 treatment-related adverse events occurred in 10 of 17 (59%) patients. Responses occurred in 1 of 5 (20%) patients with melanoma and 2 of 12 (17%) patients with RCC. Pembrolizumab 2 mg/kg Q3W plus ipilimumab 1 mg/kg Q3W was tolerable and provided promising antitumor activity in patients with advanced melanoma or RCC. The maximum tolerated dose of pembrolizumab plus PEG-IFN had limited antitumor activity in this population. .
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1158/1078-0432.CCR-17-3436DOI Listing
April 2018

First-line pembrolizumab in cisplatin-ineligible patients with locally advanced and unresectable or metastatic urothelial cancer (KEYNOTE-052): a multicentre, single-arm, phase 2 study.

Lancet Oncol 2017 11 26;18(11):1483-1492. Epub 2017 Sep 26.

Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, Boston, MA, USA.

Background: More than half of all patients with advanced urothelial cancer cannot receive standard, first-line cisplatin-based chemotherapy because of renal dysfunction, poor performance status, or other comorbidities. We assessed the activity and safety of first-line pembrolizumab in cisplatin-ineligible patients with locally advanced and unresectable or metastatic urothelial cancer.

Methods: In this multicentre, single-arm, phase 2 study (KEYNOTE-052), cisplatin-ineligible patients with advanced urothelial cancer who had not been previously treated with systemic chemotherapy were recruited from 91 academic medical centres in 20 countries. Enrolled patients received intravenous pembrolizumab 200 mg every 3 weeks. The primary endpoint was objective response (the proportion of patients who achieved complete or partial response) in all patients and by PD-L1 expression status according to the Response Evaluation Criteria in Solid Tumors, version 1.1, as assessed by independent central review. PD-L1 expression was assessed in tumour and inflammatory cells from tumour biopsies provided at study entry. Activity and safety were analysed in all patients who received at least one dose of pembrolizumab (all-patients-treated population). This study is registered with ClinicalTrials.gov, number NCT02335424, and follow-up is ongoing.

Findings: Between Feb 24, 2015, and Aug 8, 2016, 374 patients were enrolled and 370 patients received at least one dose of pembrolizumab. 89 (24%, 95% CI 20-29) of 370 patients had a centrally assessed objective response, and as of Sept 1, 2016 (data cutoff), 74 (83%) of 89 responses were ongoing. Median follow-up was 5 months (IQR 3·0-8·6). A PD-L1-expression cutoff of 10% was associated with a higher frequency of response to pembrolizumab; 42 (38%, 95% CI 29-48) of 110 patients with a combined positive score of 10% or more had a centrally assessed objective response. The most common grade 3 or 4 treatment-related adverse events were fatigue (eight [2%] of 370 patients), alkaline phosphatase increase (five [1%]), colitis, and muscle weakness (both four [1%]). 36 (10%) of 370 patients had a serious treatment-related adverse event. 17 (5%) of 370 patients died from non-treatment-related adverse events associated with death, and one patient died from treatment-related adverse events (myositis in addition to grade 3 thyroiditis, grade 3 hepatitis, grade 3 pneumonia, and grade 4 myocarditis).

Interpretation: First-line pembrolizumab has antitumour activity and acceptable tolerability in cisplatin-ineligible patients with urothelial cancer, most of whom were elderly, had poor prognostic factors, or had serious comorbidities. In view of this result, pembrolizumab has become a new treatment option for patients who are cisplatin-ineligible or not suitable candidates for chemotherapy. Pembrolizumab in the first-line setting is being further assessed in the phase 3 KEYNOTE-361 trial (ClinicalTrials.gov, NCT02335424).

Funding: Merck & Co.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/S1470-2045(17)30616-2DOI Listing
November 2017

Pembrolizumab as Second-Line Therapy for Advanced Urothelial Carcinoma.

N Engl J Med 2017 03 17;376(11):1015-1026. Epub 2017 Feb 17.

From Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, Boston (J.B., T.K.C.); Parc de Salut Mar, Hospital del Mar Medical Research Institute, Barcelona (J.B.), and Fundación Instituto Valenciano de Oncología, Valencia (M.A.C.) - both in Spain; Erasmus MC Cancer Institute, Rotterdam (R.W.), and Radboud University Medical Center, Nijmegen (W.G.) - both in the Netherlands; Abramson Cancer Center, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia (D.J.V.); Centre Hospitalier Universitaire de Québec-Université Laval, Quebec, QC, Canada (Y.F.); Asan Medical Center and University of Ulsan College of Medicine, Seoul, South Korea (J.-L.L.); the University of California, San Francisco, San Francisco (L.F.); Comprehensive Cancer Centers of Nevada, Las Vegas (N.J.V.); Smilow Cancer Hospital, Yale University, New Haven, CT (D.P.P.); Fondazione IRCCS Istituto Nazionale dei Tumori, Milan (A.N.); Westmead Hospital and Macquarie University, Sydney (H.G.); the University of Southern California Norris Comprehensive Cancer Center and Hospital, Los Angeles (D.I.Q.); Hôpital Saint-Louis, Paris (S.C.); San Camillo and Forlanini Hospitals, Rome (C.N.S.); Merck, Kenilworth, NJ (Y.M., C.H.P., R.F.P.); and Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, New York (D.F.B.).

Background: Patients with advanced urothelial carcinoma that progresses after platinum-based chemotherapy have a poor prognosis and limited treatment options.

Methods: In this open-label, international, phase 3 trial, we randomly assigned 542 patients with advanced urothelial cancer that recurred or progressed after platinum-based chemotherapy to receive pembrolizumab (a highly selective, humanized monoclonal IgG4κ isotype antibody against programmed death 1 [PD-1]) at a dose of 200 mg every 3 weeks or the investigator's choice of chemotherapy with paclitaxel, docetaxel, or vinflunine. The coprimary end points were overall survival and progression-free survival, which were assessed among all patients and among patients who had a tumor PD-1 ligand (PD-L1) combined positive score (the percentage of PD-L1-expressing tumor and infiltrating immune cells relative to the total number of tumor cells) of 10% or more.

Results: The median overall survival in the total population was 10.3 months (95% confidence interval [CI], 8.0 to 11.8) in the pembrolizumab group, as compared with 7.4 months (95% CI, 6.1 to 8.3) in the chemotherapy group (hazard ratio for death, 0.73; 95% CI, 0.59 to 0.91; P=0.002). The median overall survival among patients who had a tumor PD-L1 combined positive score of 10% or more was 8.0 months (95% CI, 5.0 to 12.3) in the pembrolizumab group, as compared with 5.2 months (95% CI, 4.0 to 7.4) in the chemotherapy group (hazard ratio, 0.57; 95% CI, 0.37 to 0.88; P=0.005). There was no significant between-group difference in the duration of progression-free survival in the total population (hazard ratio for death or disease progression, 0.98; 95% CI, 0.81 to 1.19; P=0.42) or among patients who had a tumor PD-L1 combined positive score of 10% or more (hazard ratio, 0.89; 95% CI, 0.61 to 1.28; P=0.24). Fewer treatment-related adverse events of any grade were reported in the pembrolizumab group than in the chemotherapy group (60.9% vs. 90.2%); there were also fewer events of grade 3, 4, or 5 severity reported in the pembrolizumab group than in the chemotherapy group (15.0% vs. 49.4%).

Conclusions: Pembrolizumab was associated with significantly longer overall survival (by approximately 3 months) and with a lower rate of treatment-related adverse events than chemotherapy as second-line therapy for platinum-refractory advanced urothelial carcinoma. (Funded by Merck; KEYNOTE-045 ClinicalTrials.gov number, NCT02256436 .).
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1056/NEJMoa1613683DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5635424PMC
March 2017

Safety and activity of pembrolizumab in patients with locally advanced or metastatic urothelial cancer (KEYNOTE-012): a non-randomised, open-label, phase 1b study.

Lancet Oncol 2017 Feb 10;18(2):212-220. Epub 2017 Jan 10.

University of Chicago, Chicago, IL, USA.

Background: PD-1 and its ligands are expressed in urothelial cancer, and findings have shown that inhibition of the PD-1 pathway has clinical benefit. We aimed to assess the safety and activity of an anti-PD-1 antibody pembrolizumab in patients with locally advanced or metastatic urothelial cancer.

Methods: This study was part of the non-randomised, multi-cohort, open-label, phase 1b KEYNOTE-012 basket trial. We enrolled patients aged 18 years and older with a histologically or cytologically confirmed diagnosis of locally advanced or metastatic urothelial cancer, including cancers of the renal pelvis, ureter, bladder, or urethra, from eight hospitals in the USA and Israel. Patients were required to have at least 1% PD-L1 expression detected on the tumour cells or in tumour stroma, as determined by immunohistochemistry. Patients were given 10 mg/kg intravenous pembrolizumab every 2 weeks until disease progression, unacceptable toxic effects, or the end of the study (ie, 24 months of treatment). Primary endpoints were safety and overall response (defined by Response Evaluation Criteria In Solid Tumors [RECIST] version 1.1), as assessed by a masked, independent central review. Safety was assessed in patients who received one or more doses of pembrolizumab (all-patients-as-treated population); activity was assessed in patients who received pembrolizumab, had measurable disease at baseline, and had one or more post-baseline scans, or discontinued because of progressive disease or treatment-related adverse events (full analysis set). This study is registered with ClinicalTrials.gov, number NCT01848834, and is no longer enrolling patients; follow-up is ongoing.

Findings: Between May 14, 2013, and Dec 10, 2013, 115 patients were tissue pre-screened as part of a two-part consent process. 61 (53%) patients were PD-L1 positive, of whom 33 were enrolled in this study. All enrolled patients received at least one dose of pembrolizumab and were included in the safety analyses. 27 patients comprised the full analysis set and were deemed assessable for activity. Six patients were not assessable: three discontinued study drug because of a non-treatment-related adverse event before the first post-baseline scan, two withdrew before the first post-baseline scan, and one had no measurable disease at baseline. The most common treatment-related adverse events were fatigue (six [18%] of 33 patients) and peripheral oedema (4 [12%]). Five (15%) patients had 11 grade 3 treatment-related adverse events; no single event occurred in more than one patient. Three (9%) patients experienced five serious treatment-related adverse events. After median follow-up of 13 months (range 1-26, IQR 5-23), an overall response was achieved in seven (26% [95% CI 11-46]) of 27 assessable patients, with three (11% [2-29]) complete and four (15% [4-34]) partial responses. Of the four deaths that occurred during the study (cardiac arrest, pneumonia, sepsis, and subarachnoid haemorrhage), none were deemed treatment related.

Interpretation: Pembrolizumab showed anti-tumour activity and acceptable safety in patients with advanced urothelial cancer, supporting ongoing phase 2 and 3 studies of pembrolizumab in this population.

Funding: Merck & Co., Inc.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/S1470-2045(17)30007-4DOI Listing
February 2017

Clinical utility of integrated positron emission tomography/computed tomography imaging in the clinical management and radiation treatment planning of locally advanced rectal cancer.

Pract Radiat Oncol 2014 Jul-Aug;4(4):226-32. Epub 2013 Oct 22.

Department of Radiation Oncology, University of Washington, Seattle, Washington. Electronic address:

Purpose: The role of 18F-fluorodeoxyglucose positron emission tomography-computed tomography (FDG-PET/CT) in the staging and radiation treatment planning of locally advanced rectal cancer is ill defined. We studied the role of integrated PET/CT in the staging, radiation treatment planning, and use as an imaging biomarker in rectal cancer patients undergoing multimodality treatment.

Methods And Materials: Thirty-four consecutive patients with T3-4N0-2M0-1 rectal adenocarcinoma underwent FDG-PET/CT scanning for staging and radiation treatment planning. Planned clinical management was compared before and after the addition of PET/CT information. Three radiation oncologists independently delineated CT-based gross tumor volumes (GTVCT) using clinical information and CT imaging data, as well as gradient autosegmented PET/CT-based GTVs (GTVPETCT). The mean GTV, interobserver concordance index (CCI), and proximal and distal margins were compared. The maximal standardized uptake value (SUVmax), metabolic tumor volume (MTV), and dual-time point PET parameters were correlated with clinicopathologic endpoints.

Results: Clinical management was altered by PET/CT in 18% (n = 6) of patients with clinical upstaging in 6 patients and radiation treatment planning altered in 5 patients. Of the 30 evaluable preoperative patients, the mean GTVPETCT was significantly smaller than the mean GTVCT volumes: 88.1 versus 102.8 cc (P = .03). PET/CT significantly increased interobserver CCI in contouring GTV compared with CT only-based contouring: 0.56 versus 0.38 (P < .001). The proximal and distal margins were altered by a mean of 0.4 ± 0.24 cm and -0.25 ± 0.18 cm, respectively. MTV was inversely associated with 2-year progression-free survival (PFS) and overall survival (OS): smaller MTVs (<33 cc) had superior 2-year PFS (86% vs 60%, P = .04) and OS (100% vs 45%, P < .01) compared with larger MTVs (>33 cc). SUVmax and dual-time point PET parameters did not correlate with any endpoints.

Conclusions: FDG-PET/CT imaging impacts overall clinical management and is useful in the radiation treatment planning of rectal cancer patients by decreasing interobserver variability in contouring target boost volumes. Pretreatment MTV may provide useful prognostic information and requires further study.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.prro.2013.09.002DOI Listing
March 2015

Phase 1 and pharmacodynamic trial of everolimus in combination with cetuximab in patients with advanced cancer.

Cancer 2014 Jan 24;120(1):77-85. Epub 2013 Sep 24.

Abramson Cancer Center, Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

Background: Preclinical and clinical studies suggest mTOR (mammalian target of rapamycin) inhibitors may have metabolic and antiangiogenic effects, and synergize with epidermal growth factor pathway inhibitors. Therefore, a phase 1/pharmacodynamic trial of everolimus with cetuximab was performed.

Methods: A total of 29 patients were randomized to a run-in of oral everolimus (30, 50, or 70 mg) or cetuximab (400 mg/m(2) loading, 250 mg/m(2) maintenance) weekly, followed by the combination in this dose-escalation study. Primary endpoints were phase 2 dose and toxicity characterization. [(18)F]Fluorodeoxyglucose positron emission tomography (FDG-PET) was performed as a pharmacodynamic marker of mTOR inhibition, and dynamic contrast-enhanced magnetic resonance imaging (DCE-MRI) was performed as an indicator of tumor perfusion changes, at 3 time points.

Results: Everolimus and cetuximab were tolerable at full doses, with an expected toxicity profile. Dose-limiting toxicities in the everolimus 70 mg group included grade 3 skin toxicity in 2 patients, and mucositis in 1 patient. Of 16 patients evaluable for response, 5 had stable disease lasting 4 to 19 months. Mean change in maximum standardized uptake value (SUV(max)) for those treated initially with everolimus was -24% (2% to -54%), and with cetuximab was -5% (-23 to 36%). The K(trans) measured by DCE-MRI did not decrease, regardless of run-in drug.

Conclusions: Everolimus and cetuximab can be safely administered at standard doses, and are associated with prolonged disease control. The recommended phase 2 dose of oral weekly everolimus is 70 mg in combination with standard cetuximab. Imaging studies reveal that metabolic inhibition by everolimus alone and in combination with cetuximab predominates over changes in tumor perfusion in this patient population.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/cncr.28294DOI Listing
January 2014
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