Incidence of PD-1 Inhibitor–Related Pneumonitis Highest in NSCLC, Renal Cell Carcinoma

Excerpt:

“PD-1 inhibitor–related pneumonitis occurred most frequently among patients with non–small cell lung cancer or renal cell carcinoma, according to results of a meta-analysis.

“The incidence of this adverse event also appeared greater during treatment with combination therapy.

“PD-1 inhibitors — including FDA–approved nivolumab (Opdivo, Bristol-Myers Squibb) and pembrolizumab (Keytruda, Merck) — are associated with unique toxicities known as immune-related adverse events. Pneumonitis is one such adverse event that, although rare, can be serious and life threatening.”

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Melanoma: New Drugs and New Challenges (Part 2 of 2)


Editor’s note: This is part 2 of a 2-part post on the latest research in melanoma. To learn about research into drug combinations for melanoma that may work better than single drugs, check out Melanoma: New Drugs and New Challenges (Part 1 of 2).

As always, the more new treatments become available in melanoma, the more new challenges arise. With eight new drugs approved for melanoma in the last five years, oncologists may sometimes face the difficult choice of what drugs to choose for a patient’s first-line treatment. Immune checkpoint drugs sometimes cause serious side effects, but progress is being made on how to treat these and also how to treat patients with pre-existing autoimmune conditions. New approaches are needed in efforts to prevent recurrence of melanomas diagnosed at earlier stages of disease progression. These and other challenges are discussed below. Continue reading…


Novel Combination Study Planned for SCLC

Excerpt:

“A phase I/II study will explore the delta-like protein 3 (DLL3)-targeted antibody-drug conjugate rovalpituzumab tesirine (Rova-T) with the PD-1 inhibitor nivolumab (Opdivo) alone or in combination with the CTLA-4 inhibitor ipilimumab (Yervoy) for patients with relapsed extensive-stage small cell lung cancer (SCLC).

“AbbVie, the developer of rovalpituzumab tesirine, and Bristol-Myers Squibb, the company marketing nivolumab and ipilimumab announced the phase I/II study in a joint press release. As single-agents, rovalpituzumab tesirine and nivolumab have each demonstrated promising early findings for patients with SCLC. Additionally, nivolumab plus ipilimumab sparked promising response rates and overall survival (OS) findings. Data for the 3 agents were recently presented at the 2016 ASCO Annual Meeting.”

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Pfizer Presents Data from Phase 1b Trial Investigating Utomilumab (a 4-1BB agonist) in Combination with a Checkpoint Inhibitor

Excerpt:

“Pfizer Inc. PFE -0.26% today announced results from a Phase 1b trial of Pfizer’s investigational immunotherapy agent utomilumab (the proposed non-proprietary name for PF-05082566), a 4-1BB (also called CD137) agonist, in combination with pembrolizumab, a PD-1 inhibitor, in patients with advanced solid tumors. This is the first reported study of a 4-1BB agonist combined with a checkpoint inhibitor. Encouraging safety data from the study were shared today as an oral presentation at the 52 [nd] Annual Meeting of the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) in Chicago.

“ ‘While these are early data, the combination of utomilumab with pembrolizumab demonstrates an encouraging safety profile and an early indication of potential anti-tumor activity across solid tumors,’ said Anthony W. Tolcher, M.D., director of clinical research at South Texas Accelerated Research Therapeutics (START) San Antonio. ‘We believe these results warrant further investigation to confirm whether combining utomilumab with a checkpoint inhibitor may amplify anti-tumor responses.’ ”

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Expert Examines Immunotherapy Potential in Small Cell Lung Cancer

Excerpt:

“Several ongoing clinical trials are examining the efficacy and safety of immunotherapy agents in patients with small cell lung cancer (SCLC), explains David P. Carbone, MD, PhD.

“Two early phase studies have already shown encouraging results. In the phase I/II CheckMate-032 trial, pretreated patients with SCLC received monotherapy with the PD-1 inhibitor nivolumab (Opdivo) or the combination of nivolumab plus the CTLA-4 inhibitor ipilimumab (Yervoy). Data showed that the median progression-free survival (PFS) was 3.35 months with the combination and 1.38 months with nivolumab alone. Median OS was 7.75 months with the combination and 3.55 months with single-agent therapy. The objective response rate (ORR) with the combination was 31.1%.

“In the phase Ib KEYNOTE-028 trial, the PD-1 inhibitor pembrolizumab (Keytruda) had an ORR of 29.2% (95% CI, 12.6-51.1) in patients with SCLC who had prior chemotherapy.”

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EU Expands Nivolumab Approval for Lung and Kidney Cancer

Excerpt:

“The European Commission has approved new indications for the immunotherapy nivolumab (Opdivo, Bristol-Myers Squibb), expanding its use in the treatment of non-small-cell lung cancer (NSCLC), and adding the indication of renal cell carcinoma (RCC).

“The drug is already approved in Europe for use in previously treated patients with metastatic squamous NSCLC. Now the indication has been expanded to include non-squamous NSCLC, which represents 85% of the cases of lung cancer, and monotherapy in locally advanced or metastatic disease.

“Nivolumab is the only PD-1 inhibitor that has been approved for a broad range of patients with previously treated metastatic NSCLC, regardless of PD-L1 expression, and nivolumab is the only approved PD-1 inhibitor to demonstrate a better overall survival rate than docetaxel in previously treated metastatic NSCLC, the manufacturer pointed out in a press release.”

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Advaxis Combination Trial with Merck Completes First Two Dose-Escalation Cohorts

Excerpt:

Advaxis, Inc. (ADXS), a clinical-stage biotechnology company developing cancer immunotherapies, and Merck & Co., Inc. (MRK), today announced that they have completed the first two dose-escalation cohorts and launched the third dose-escalation cohort in their KEYNOTE-046 clinical trial. The Phase 1/2 study is evaluating the combination of ADXS-PSA (ADXS31-142) and KEYTRUDA® (pembrolizumab), the first anti-PD-1 (programmed death receptor-1) therapy approved in the United States, in patients with previously treated, metastatic castration-resistant prostate cancer (mCRPC).

“The KEYNOTE-046 trial is the first-in-human study of Advaxis’ Lm immunotherapy candidate for prostate cancer. It is the second study initiated to evaluate the use of KEYTRUDA in the treatment of advanced prostate cancer.”

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The Growing Arsenal of Immunotherapy Drugs for Melanoma


Large numbers of immune cells (T cells in particular) are frequently found within or adjacent to melanoma tumors, indicating that the tumors attract the attention—if not the action—of the immune system. True to its reputation as one of the most ‘immunogenic‘ cancers, melanoma now has more U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA)-approved immunotherapy (immune system-targeting) drugs than any other cancer type. As a consequence, metastatic melanoma is no longer the universally fatal disease it was even just 3 or 4 years ago. Continue reading…


FDA Approves Two New Indications for Pembrolizumab in Advanced Melanoma

“The FDA has expanded the approval for single-agent pembrolizumab (Keytruda) to include the frontline treatment of patients with advanced melanoma regardless of BRAF status, based on a substantial improvement in progression-free and overall survival compared with ipilimumab (Yervoy) in the phase III KEYNOTE-006 trial.

“In the study, which compared 2 pembrolizumab regimens with ipilimumab, the PD-1 inhibitor reduced the risk of disease progression by >40% and the risk of death by >30%.

“ ‘As recently as five years ago, there were few treatment options for patients suffering from advanced melanoma,’ Roger M. Perlmutter, MD, PhD, president, Merck Research Laboratories, the developer of the PD-1 inhibitor, said in a statement. ‘Today’s news is another exciting milestone for Keytruda and for patients with this disease.’ “