A multi-center, single-arm, phase Ib study of pembrolizumab (MK-3475) in combination with chemotherapy for patients with advanced colorectal cancer: HCRN GI14-186

Cameron J. Herting, Matthew R. Farren, Yan Tong, Ziyue Liu, Bert O’Neil, Tanios Bekaii-Saab, Anne Noonan, Christopher McQuinn, Thomas A. Mace, Walid Shaib, Christina Wu, Bassel F. El-Rayes, Safi Shahda, Gregory B. Lesinski

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Modified FOLFOX6 is an established therapy for patients with metastatic colorectal cancer (mCRC). We conducted a single-arm phase Ib study to address the hypothesis that addition of pembrolizumab to this regimen could safely and effectively improve patient outcomes (NCT02375672). The relationship between immune biomarkers and clinical response were assessed in an exploratory manner. Patients with mCRC received concurrent pembrolizumab and modified FOLFOX6. The study included safety run-in for the first six patients. The primary objective was median progression-free survival (mPFS), with secondary objectives including median overall survival, safety, and exploratory assessment of immune changes. To assess immunological impact, peripheral blood was collected at baseline and during treatment. The levels of soluble factors were measured via bioplex, while a panel of checkpoint molecules and phenotypically defined cell populations were assessed with flow cytometry and correlated with RECIST and mPFS. Due to incidences of grade 3 and grade 4 neutropenia in the safety lead-in, the dose of mFOLFOX6 was reduced in the expansion cohort. Median PFS was 8.8 months and median OS was not reached at data cutoff. Best responses of stable disease, partial response, and complete response were observed in 43.3%, 50.0%, and 6.7% of patients, respectively. Several soluble and cellular immune biomarkers were associated with improved RECIST and mPFS. Immunosuppressive myeloid and T cell subsets that were analyzed were not associated with response. Primary endpoint was not superior to historic control. Biomarkers that were associated with improved response may be informative for future regimens combining chemotherapy with immune checkpoint inhibitors.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalCancer Immunology, Immunotherapy
DOIs
StateAccepted/In press - 2021

Keywords

  • Clinical trial
  • Colorectal cancer
  • Immunotherapy
  • mCRC
  • mFOLFOX6
  • Pembrolizumab

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Immunology
  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research

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