Late Breaking Abstract – ESMO 2021: Adjuvant KEYTRUDA® for High Risk Stage II Melanoma

SUMMARY: The American Cancer Society’s estimates that for 2021, about 106,110 new cases of melanoma will be diagnosed in the United States and 7,180 people are expected to die of the disease. The rates of melanoma have been rising rapidly over the past few decades, but this has varied by age.

Surgical resection with a curative intent is the standard of care for patients with early stage melanoma, with a 5-year survival rate of 98% for Stage I disease and 90% for Stage II disease. The current standard of care for patients following resection of high-risk Stage II disease is observation, even though patients with Stage IIB and IIC disease presenting with high-risk features (depth of invasion, T-category, ulceration) have 5 and 10 year melanoma-specific survival similar to that of patients with Stage IIIA and IIIB disease.

KEYTRUDA® (Pembrolizumab) is a fully humanized, Immunoglobulin G4, anti-PD-1, monoclonal antibody, that binds to the PD-1 receptor and blocks its interaction with ligands PD-L1 and PD-L2. By doing so, it unleashes the tumor-specific effector T cells, and is thereby able to undo PD-1 pathway-mediated inhibition of the immune response. The FDA in 2019, approved KEYTRUDA® for the adjuvant treatment of patients with melanoma, with involvement of lymph node(s) following complete resection (Stage III). The present study was conducted to evaluate the role of adjuvant immunotherapy in patients with high risk Stage II melanoma.

KEYNOTE-716 is a randomized, double-blind, Phase III trial, in which 976 patients aged 12 years or older, with completely resected cutaneous Stage IIB or IIC melanoma, and no lymph node involvement, were randomly assigned 1:1 to receive KEYTRUDA® 200 mg (2 mg/kg for pediatric patients) or placebo, every 3 weeks for 17 cycles (up to 1 year). Patients were stratified by T category 3b, 4a, 4b (adults) and with a separate stratum for pediatric patients. Approximately 65% had Stage IIB disease and 35% had Stage IIC disease. There was no prespecified analysis for PD-L1 or BRAF status in this study, as there was inconsistent and small amounts of tissue available for testing. This was the first part (Part 1) of this double-blind study. The Primary endpoint was Relapse Free Survival (RFS) per investigator assessment, and Safety. The second part (Part 2) of this study was open-label design, and adults and pediatric patients were eligible to receive up to 35 additional cycles of treatment, only if they had recurrence after receiving the placebo or completed 17 cycles of KEYTRUDA®. Patients in the KEYTRUDA® group who experienced disease recurrence within 6 months of completing the treatment were excluded from Part 2 of the study. Secondary end points included Distant Metastasis-Free Survival, Overall Survival (OS) and Quality of Life. The researchers herein reported the results at the interim analysis of Part 1 of this study, and Part 2 data are not yet mature.

At median follow up of 14.4 months, the study met its Primary end point of RFS at the first protocol-specified analysis. KEYTRUDA® significantly prolonged RFS compared to placebo (HR=0.65; P=0.00658). At the time of this analysis, 11.1% of patients on KEYTRUDA® had a recurrence, compared to 16.8% of those receiving placebo. The 12-month RFS rate was 90.5% for KEYTRUDA® versus 83.1% for placebo. Median RFS was Not Reached in either group at the time of this analysis. Quality of Life scores were similar between the KEYTRUDA® and placebo groups at all time points.

It was concluded that adjuvant KEYTRUDA® for resected Stage IIB and IIC melanoma decreased the risk of disease recurrence or death by 35% compared with placebo, and was associated with significantly prolonged Relapse Free Survival and a favorable benefit-risk profile. KEYNOTE-716 is the first randomized Phase III trial of an anti-PD-1 therapy in resected Stage II melanoma, and these findings represent an important milestone for this patient group.

LBA3_PR – Pembrolizumab versus placebo after complete resection of high-risk stage II melanoma: Efficacy and safety results from the KEYNOTE-716 double-blind phase III trial. Luke JJ, Rutkowski P, Queirolo P, et al. Annals of Oncology (2021) 32 (suppl_5): S1283-S1346. 10.1016/annonc/annonc741.

Late Breaking Abstract – ESMO 2021: Keytruda® Plus Chemotherapy in Advanced Cervical Cancer

SUMMARY: The American Cancer Society estimates that for cervical cancer in the US for 2021, about 14,480 new cases of invasive cervical cancer will be diagnosed and about 4,290 women will die of the disease. Cervical pre-cancers are diagnosed far more often than invasive cervical cancer. Cervical cancer is most frequently diagnosed in women between the ages of 35 and 44 and in the US. Hispanic women are most likely to develop cervical cancer, followed by African-Americans, Asians and Pacific Islanders, and whites.

Patients with persistent, recurrent, or metastatic cervical cancer often receive Platinum-based chemotherapy, (Cisplatin or Carboplatin along with Paclitaxel) plus Bevacizumab. The addition of Bevacizumab to chemotherapy improved the median Overall Survival from 13.3 months to 17 months in a randomized study.

KEYTRUDA® (Pembrolizumab) is a fully humanized, Immunoglobulin G4, anti-PD-1, monoclonal antibody, that binds to the PD-1 receptor and blocks its interaction with ligands PD-L1 and PD-L2. It thereby reverses the PD-1 pathway-mediated inhibition of the immune response and unleashes the tumor-specific effector T cells. In the KEYNOTE-158 trial, the Objective Response Rate (ORR) with single agent KEYTRUDA® in previously treated recurrent or metastatic cervical cancer patients with PD-L1 positive tumors was 14.3%. KEYNOTE-826 trial was conducted to assess whether adding KEYTRUDA® to Platinum-based chemotherapy with or without Bevacizumab would improve efficacy, as compared with chemotherapy with or without Bevacizumab, as first line therapy for persistent, recurrent, or metastatic cervical cancer.

KEYNOTE-826 is a global, multicenter, double-blind, randomized Phase III trial, in which 617 women with recurrent, persistent, or metastatic cervical cancer were randomly assigned in a 1:1 ratio to receive KEYTRUDA® 200 mg IV or placebo, every 3 weeks for up to 35 cycles. Patients in both treatment groups received Paclitaxel 175 mg/m2 IV and the investigator’s choice of Cisplatin 50 mg/m2 or Carboplatin AUC 5 IV every 3 weeks. Chemotherapy was limited to 6 cycles, although patients with ongoing clinical benefit without unacceptable side effects could continue beyond 6 cycles. Bevacizumab at a dose of 15 mg/kg IV every 3 weeks was allowed at the investigator’s discretion. Enrolled patients were not previously treated for advanced disease and were not considered curable. The median patient age was 50 years, and close to two thirds of the patients had persistent or recurrent disease with distant metastases. Patients were stratified according to metastatic disease at diagnosis, planned Bevacizumab use and PD-L1 Combined Positive Score (CPS) less than 1, 1-9 and 10 or more. All the treatment groups were well balanced and about 63% of patients in each treatment group received Bevacizumab. Eighty eight percent (88%) of patients had PD-L1 CPS 1 or more at baseline, and 51% had CPS 10 or more. Approximately 72% of the patients had Squamous Cell Carcinoma, 56% received previous chemoradiotherapy with or without surgery, and 20% had previously untreated metastatic disease at trial entry. The dual Primary endpoints were Progression Free Survival (PFS) and Overall Survival (OS). The median follow up for the first interim analysis was 22.0 months.

The median PFS in those patients with a PD-L1 CPS of 1 or more (N=548) was 10.4 months in the KEYTRUDA® group and 8.2 months in the placebo group (HR for disease progression or death=0.62; P<0.001). This represented a 38% reduction in the risk of disease progression or death in the KEYTRUDA® group. The PFS in all enrolled patients (N=617) was 10.4 months and 8.2 months, respectively (HR=0.65; P<0.001). The PFS in patients with a PD-L1 CPS of 10 or more (N=317) was 10.4 months and 8.1 months, respectively (HR=0.58; P<0.001).

The OS at 24 months was significantly longer in the KEYTRUDA® group, compared to the placebo group, among patients with a PD-L1 CPS of 1 or more, and was 53% in the KEYTRUDA® group and 41.7% in the placebo group (HR for death= 0.64; P<0.001), 50.4% and 40.4% among all enrolled patients (HR=0.67; P<0.001), and 54.4% and 44.6% among patients with a PD-L1 CPS of 10 or more (HR=0.61; P=0.001), respectively. The confirmed Response Rates were also higher and Duration of Response longer in all patient groups receiving KEYTRUDA®, compared to placebo. Side effects with the combination therapy were manageable and were as expected, based on known adverse events with the individual drugs.

It was concluded that the addition of KEYTRUDA® to chemotherapy, with or without Bevacizumab, significantly prolonged Progression Free and Overall Survival, among patients with persistent, recurrent, or metastatic cervical cancer.

Pembrolizumab for Persistent, Recurrent, or Metastatic Cervical Cancer. Colombo N, Dubot C, Lorusso D, et al. for the KEYNOTE-826 Investigators. September 18, 2021. DOI: 10.1056/NEJMoa2112435.

Late Breaking Abstract – ESMO 2021: ENHERTU® Superior to KADCYLA® in Patients with HER2 Positive Metastatic Breast Cancer

SUMMARY: Breast cancer is the most common cancer among women in the US and about 1 in 8 women (12%) will develop invasive breast cancer during their lifetime. Approximately 284,200 new cases of breast cancer will be diagnosed in 2021 and about 44,130 individuals will die of the disease, largely due to metastatic recurrence.

The HER or erbB family of receptors consist of HER1, HER2, HER3 and HER4. Approximately 15-20% of invasive breast cancers overexpress HER2/neu oncogene, which is a negative predictor of outcomes without systemic therapy. Patients with HER2-positive metastatic breast cancer are often treated with anti-HER2 targeted therapy along with chemotherapy, irrespective of hormone receptor status, and this has resulted in significantly improved treatment outcomes. HER2-targeted therapies include HERCEPTIN® (Trastuzumab), TYKERB® (Lapatinib), PERJETA® (Pertuzumab) and KADCYLA® (ado-Trastuzumab emtansine). Dual HER2 blockade with HERCEPTIN® and PERJETA® given along with chemotherapy (with or without endocrine therapy), as first line treatment, in HER2 positive metastatic breast cancer patients, was shown to significantly improve Progression Free Survival (PFS) as well as Overall Survival (OS). The superior benefit with dual HER2 blockade has been attributed to differing mechanisms of action and synergistic interaction between HER2 targeted therapies. Patients progressing on Dual HER2 blockade often receive KADCYLA® which results in an Objective Response Rate (ORR) of 44% and a median PFS of 9.6 months, when administered after HERCEPTIN® and a taxane. There is however no standard treatment option for this patient population following progression on KADCYLA®.

ENHERTU® (Trastuzumab Deruxtecan) is an Antibody-Drug Conjugate (ADC) composed of a humanized monoclonal antibody specifically targeting HER2, with the amino acid sequence similar to Trastuzumab, a cleavable tetrapeptide-based linker, and a potent cytotoxic Topoisomerase I inhibitor as the cytotoxic drug (payload). ENHERTU® has a favorable pharmacokinetic profile and the tetrapeptide-based linker is stable in the plasma and is selectively cleaved by cathepsins that are up-regulated in tumor cells. Unlike KADCYLA®, ENHERTU® has a higher drug-to-antibody ratio (8 versus 4), released payload easily crosses the cell membrane with resulting potent cytotoxic effect on neighboring tumor cells regardless of target expression, and the released cytotoxic agent (payload) has a short half-life , thus minimizing systemic exposure.

In the DESTINY-Breast 01 Phase II registration trial involving patients with HER2-positive metastatic breast cancer, who had received two or more prior HER2 targeted therapies including KADCYLA®, the Objective Response Rate (ORR) was 60.9%, with 6% Complete Responses and 54.9% Partial Response, with a median response duration of 14.8 months. The median PFS was 16.4 months. This benefit was consistent across all key subgroups, including patients who had previously received PERJETA® therapy.

DESTINY-Breast 03 is a global, multicenter, open-label, randomized Phase III study, in which the efficacy and safety of ENHERTU® was compared with KADCYLA®, in patients with HER2-positive metastatic breast cancer previously treated with Trastuzumab and a Taxane. In this study, 524 pts were randomized 1:1 to receive ENHERTU® 5.4 mg/kg (N=261) or KADCYLA® 3.6 mg/kg (N=263) once every 3 weeks. The median patient age was 54 years and patients in both treatment groups were comparable in terms of baseline characteristics including age, HER2-positivity status, ECOG Performance Status, prior treatment for breast cancer, brain metastases, and prior cancer therapy with agents including Trastuzumab. The Primary endpoint was Progression Free Survival (PFS) by Blinded Independent Central Review (BICR). Secondary endpoints include Overall Survival (OS), Objective Response Rate (ORR), Duration of Response, PFS by investigator, and Safety.

At the time of the prespecified interim analysis of this study, the median follow up was approximately 16 months and the median PFS by BICR review was Not Reached with ENHERTU® and was 6.8 months with KADCYLA® (HR=0.28; P= 7.8 × 10−22). This represented a very statistically significant 72% reduction in the risk for progression or death with ENHERTU® compared to KADCYLA®. The investigator-assessed PFS was similar (25.1 versus 7.2 months, HR=0.26, P<0.0001). This PFS benefit was observed as early as 4 weeks and remained consistent throughout the follow up period. PFS was significantly higher with ENHERTU® in all prespecified key subgroups, including Hormone Receptor status, prior treatment with PERJETA®, visceral disease, number of prior lines of therapy, and the presence or absence of brain metastases. Majority of patients in the ENHERTU® group experienced a reduction in tumor size, and the ORR was significantly higher among patients in the ENHERTU® compared to those who received KADCYLA® (79.7% versus 34.2%; P<0.0001), with a near doubling of the Complete Response rate in the ENHERTU® group, at 16.1% compared to 8.7% in the KADCYLA® group. The estimated 12-month Overall Survival rate was 94.1% versus 85.9% respectively (HR=0.56; P=0.007), but was not considered significant as it did not cross the prespecified boundary for significance, likely due to the immaturity of the dataset.

Adjudicated treatment related Interstitial Lung Disease/pneumonitis was more common in the ENHERTU® compared with the KADCYLA® treatment arm, at rates of 10.5% and 1.9%, respectively and most of the events were Grade 1 or 2 in severity, and none at Grade 4 or 5 in either treatment group. Interstitial Lung Disease profile was of less concern, than was seen in previous trials of ENHERTU® in more heavily pretreated patients. All Left Ventricular Ejection Fraction decreases were Grade 1 or 2 and were seen in 2.7% of the ENHERTU® group and in 0.4% of KADCYLA® group.

The researchers concluded that ENHERTU® demonstrated a highly statistically significant and clinically meaningful improvement in Progression Free Survival, when compared to KADCYLA®, in patients previously treated with Trastuzumab and Taxane for HER2-positive metastatic Breast cancer, with manageable toxicity and a significant improvement in Interstitial Lung Disease profile. The authors added that these data support ENHERTU® becoming the standard of care for second line treatment of HER2-positive metastatic breast cancer.

Trastuzumab deruxtecan (T-DXd) vs trastuzumab emtansine (T-DM1) in patients (Pts) with HER2+ metastatic breast cancer (mBC): Results of the randomized phase III DESTINY-Breast03 study. Cortés J, Kim SB, Chung WP, et al. Presented at: European Society for Medical Oncology 2021 Virtual Congress. September 16-21, 2021; virtual. Abstract LBA1.

KEYTRUDA® in Combination with Chemotherapy Improves Overall Survival in Triple Negative Breast Cancer

SUMMARY: Breast cancer is the most common cancer among women in the US and about 1 in 8 women (12%) will develop invasive breast cancer during their lifetime. Approximately 284,200 new cases of breast cancer will be diagnosed in 2021 and about 44,130 individuals will die of the disease, largely due to metastatic recurrence. Triple Negative Breast Cancer (TNBC) is a heterogeneous, molecularly diverse group of breast cancers and are ER (Estrogen Receptor), PR (Progesterone Receptor) and HER2 (Human Epidermal Growth Factor Receptor-2) negative. TNBC accounts for 15-20% of invasive breast cancers, with a higher incidence noted in young patients. It is usually aggressive, and tumors tend to be high grade and patients with TNBC are at a higher risk of both local and distant recurrence. Those with metastatic disease have one of the worst prognoses of all cancers with a median Overall Survival of 13 months. The majority of patients with TNBC who develop metastatic disease do so within the first 3 years after diagnosis, whereas those without recurrence during this period of time have survival rates similar to those with ER-positive breast cancers.

The lack of known recurrent oncogenic drivers in patients with metastatic TNBC, presents a major therapeutic challenge. It appears that there are subsets of patients with TNBC who may be inherently insensitive to cytotoxic chemotherapy. Three treatment approaches appear to be promising and they include immune therapies, PARP inhibition and inhibition of PI3K pathway. Previously published studies have shown that presence of tumor-infiltrating lymphocytes was associated with clinical benefit, when treated with chemotherapy and immunotherapy, in patients with TNBC, and improved clinical benefit was observed in patients with immune-enriched molecular subtypes of metastatic TNBC.

KEYTRUDA® (Pembrolizumab) is a fully humanized, Immunoglobulin G4, anti-PD-1, monoclonal antibody, that binds to the PD-1 receptor and blocks its interaction with ligands PD-L1 and PD-L2. It thereby reverses the PD-1 pathway-mediated inhibition of the immune response, and unleashes the tumor-specific effector T cells. The rationale for combining chemotherapy with immunotherapy is that cytotoxic chemotherapy releases tumor-specific antigens, and immune checkpoint inhibitors such as KEYTRUDA® when given along with chemotherapy can enhance endogenous anticancer immunity. Single agent KEYTRUDA® in metastatic TNBC demonstrated durable antitumor activity in several studies, with Objective Response Rates (ORRs) ranging from 10-21% and improved clinical responses in patients with higher PD-L1 expression. When given along with chemotherapy as a neoadjuvant treatment for patients with high-risk, early-stage TNBC, KEYTRUDA® combination achieved Pathological Complete Response rate of 65%, regardless of PD-L1 expression. Based on this data, KEYTRUDA® in combination with chemotherapy was studied, for first line treatment of advanced TNBC.

KEYNOTE-355 is a randomized, double-blind, Phase III study, which evaluated the benefit of KEYTRUDA® in combination with one of the three different chemotherapy regimens, nab-Paclitaxel, Paclitaxel, or the non-taxane containing Gemzar/Carboplatin, versus placebo plus one of the three chemotherapy regimens, in patients with previously untreated or locally recurrent inoperable metastatic TNBC. In this study, 847 patients were randomized 2:1 to receive either KEYTRUDA® 200 mg IV on day 1 of each 21-day cycle along with either nab-Paclitaxel 100 mg/m2 IV on days 1, 8 and 15 of each 28-day cycle, Paclitaxel 90 mg/m2 IV on days 1, 8 and 15 of each 28-day cycle, or Gemcitabine 1000 mg/m2 IV plus Carboplatin AUC 2, IV on days 1 and 8 of each 21-day cycle (N= 566) or placebo along with one of the three chemotherapy regimens (N= 281). This study was not designed to compare the efficacy of the different chemotherapy regimens. Treatment was continued until disease progression. Patients were stratified by chemotherapy, PD-L1 tumor expression (CPS of 1 or higher versus CPS of less than 1), and prior treatment with the same class of neoadjuvant/adjuvant chemotherapy (Yes versus No). The baseline characteristics of treatment groups were well-balanced. The co-Primary end points of the trial were Progression Free Survival (PFS) and Overall Survival (OS) in patients with PD-L1-positive tumors, and in all patients. Secondary end points were Objective Response Rate (ORR), Duration of Response, Disease Control Rate, and Safety.

The authors had previously reported that KEYTRUDA® in combination with chemotherapy, significantly improved PFS in patients with CPS (Combined Positive Score) of 10 or greater. The median PFS was 9.7 months for KEYTRUDA® plus chemotherapy, compared with 5.6 months for placebo plus chemotherapy (HR=0.65, P=0.0012). This represented a 35% reduction in the risk of disease progression. Among patients with CPS of 1 or greater, the median PFS was 7.6 months for KEYTRUDA® plus chemotherapy, compared with 5.6 months for the placebo plus chemotherapy arm (HR= 0.74; P=0.0014). This however based on prespecified statistical criteria, was not considered statistically significant. Among the entire Intention-To-Treat (ITT) population, the median PFS was 7.5 months in the KEYTRUDA® plus chemotherapy group, compared with 5.6 months for chemotherapy plus placebo group (HR=0.82).

The researchers have now reported the Overall Survival results after a median follow up of 44.1 months. The OS in the subgroup of patients with PD-L1 CPS of 10 or more was significantly better with first line KEYTRUDA® plus chemotherapy versus placebo plus chemotherapy (23.0 months versus 16.1 months, respectively; HR=0.73; P=0.0093). This represented a 27% reduction in the risk of death with the KEYTRUDA® combination. Among this subgroup, factors significantly associated with superior outcomes included age 65 yrs and older, use of Paclitaxel as the on-study chemotherapy, no prior adjuvant therapy, de novo metastasis, Disease Free Interval of 12 months or more, and less than 3 metastatic sites. However, this OS benefit was not noted in the subgroup of patients with PD-L1 CPS scores of 1 or less. In this subgroup, the median OS was 17.6 months in the KEYTRUDA® group and 16 months in the placebo group (HR=0.86; P=Not Significant). The same was true among the Intention-To-Treat (ITT) population, including all randomized patients regardless of PD-L1 tumor status. In this patient group, the median OS was 17.2 months in the KEYTRUDA® group and 15.5 months in the placebo group, and this was not statistically significant (HR=0.89).

The authors concluded that these updated results support KEYTRUDA® in combination with chemotherapy as a new standard-of-care treatment regimen for patients with locally recurrent unresectable or metastatic Triple Negative Breast Cancer, whose tumors express PD-L1, with CPS of 10 or more.

KEYNOTE-355: Final results from a randomized, double-blind phase 3 study of first-line pembrolizumab + chemotherapy vs placebo + chemotherapy for metastatic TNBC. Cortes J, Cescon DW, Rugo HS. et al. European Society for Medical Oncology (ESMO) Annual Meeting 2021: Abstract LBA16. Presented on September 19, 2021.

Platinum Chemotherapy Inferior to XELODA® in Triple Negative Breast Cancer Following Neoadjuvant Chemotherapy

SUMMARY: Breast cancer is the most common cancer among women in the US and about 1 in 8 women (12%) will develop invasive breast cancer during their lifetime. Approximately 284,200 new cases of breast cancer will be diagnosed in 2021 and about 44,130 individuals will die of the disease, largely due to metastatic recurrence.

Breast cancer is heterogeneous malignancy and using global gene expression analyses, 6 breast cancer intrinsic subtypes have been established. They include Luminal A, Luminal B, HER2-enriched, Claudin-low, Basal-like, and a Normal breast-like group. Triple Negative Breast Cancer (TNBC) is a heterogeneous, molecularly diverse group of breast cancers and are ER (Estrogen Receptor), PR (Progesterone Receptor) and HER2 (Human Epidermal Growth Factor Receptor-2) negative. TNBC accounts for 15-20% of invasive breast cancers, with a higher incidence noted in young patients and African American females. It is a surrogate for the inherently aggressive Basal-like breast cancer subtype. This group has the worse prognosis compared to other breast cancer subtypes and is usually aggressive, and tumors tend to be high grade. Patients with TNBC are at a higher risk for both local and distant recurrence and often develop visceral metastases. Those with metastatic disease have one of the worst prognoses of all cancers, with a median Overall Survival of 13 months. The majority of patients with TNBC who develop metastatic disease do so within the first 3 years after diagnosis, whereas those without recurrence during this period of time have survival rates similar to those with ER-positive breast cancers. Basal-like breast cancer subtype is also a marker of hereditary breast cancer susceptibility. Multiparity may increase the risk of TNBC and reduce the likelihood of developing ER-positive breast cancer. The lack of known recurrent oncogenic drivers in patients with metastatic TNBC, presents a major therapeutic challenge.Molecular-Subtypes-of-Breast-Cancer

Nonetheless, patients with TNBC often receive chemotherapy in the neoadjuvant, adjuvant or metastatic settings and approximately 30-40% of patients achieve a pathological Complete Response (pCR) in the neoadjuvant setting. In addition to increasing the likelihood of tumor resectability and breast preservation, patients achieving a pCR following neoadjuvant chemotherapy have a longer Event Free Survival (EFS) and Overall Survival (OS). Those who do not achieve a pathological Complete Response tend to have a poor prognosis. For all these reasons, pCR is considered a valid endpoint for clinical testing of neoadjuvant therapy in patients with early stage TNBC. Patients with TNBC are at a high risk for recurrence if they have residual invasive disease, following completion of standard neoadjuvant chemotherapy.

In the Phase III CREATE-X trial, the addition of adjuvant XELODA® (Capecitabine) therapy was found to be safe and effective in prolonging Disease Free Survival (DFS) and Overall Survival (OS) among patients with HER2-negative breast cancer, who had residual invasive disease on pathological evaluation, following neoadjuvant chemotherapy (N Engl J Med 2017;376:2147-2159).

Based on the preclinical models supporting the use of platinum agents in the TNBC Basal-like subtype, the EA1131 trial was conducted to test the hypothesis that adjuvant platinum chemotherapy would improve invasive DFS compared with XELODA®, in patients with clinical Stage II-III TNBC, who had Basal-like subtype invasive residual disease in the breast, following neoadjuvant chemotherapy. The aim of this study was to assess whether platinum chemotherapy would be as effective, or more effective than XELODA® (noninferiority design with superiority alternative – Hybrid design).

In this study, 410 patients with clinical Stage II or III TNBC who had completed at least one full cycle of taxane with or without anthracycline-containing neoadjuvant chemotherapy were randomly assigned to receive XELODA® 1000 mg/m2 orally twice daily, days 1-14, every 3 weeks, for a total of six cycles, or a platinum agent (treating physician choice of Cisplatin 75 mg/m2 or Carboplatin AUC 6 on day 1) IV, once every 3 weeks, for a total of four cycles. Radiation Therapy before or after study treatment completion, was required for all patients after breast-conservation surgery. Postmastectomy Radiation Therapy was required for patients with primary tumors more than 5 cm or those with 4 or more positive axillary lymph nodes. TNBC subtype (Basal versus non-Basal) was determined by PAM50 in the residual disease. The Primary end point was invasive DFS (time from random assignment to the earliest disease recurrence, invasive contralateral cancer, second primary cancer, or death) in patients with Basal subtype TNBC.

After a recent interim analysis, the Data and Safety Monitoring Committee recommended stopping the trial, as it was unlikely that further follow up would show noninferiority or superiority of platinum chemotherapy. After a median follow up of 20 months, the 3-year invasive DFS among the 308 patients with Basal subtype TNBC for platinum chemotherapy was 42% versus 49% for XELODA®. Further, Grade 3 and 4 toxicities were more common in the platinum chemotherapy group. The 3-year Relapse Free Survival as well as Overall Survival was also in favor of XELODA® group versus Platinum group. There was no benefit noted with platinum chemotherapy in any of the subsets of randomized patients.

It was concluded from this study that platinum agents do not improve outcomes in patients with Basal subtype TNBC, who have residual disease following neoadjuvant chemotherapy, and are associated with more severe toxicities, when compared with XELODA®. All participants in this study had a lower than expected 3-year invasive DFS regardless of study treatment, highlighting the need for better therapies in this high-risk population. The authors added that these study findings have an immediate impact in clinical practice, and adjuvant use of platinum agents in this patient population should only be considered in the context of a clinical trial.

Randomized Phase III Postoperative Trial of Platinum-Based Chemotherapy Versus Capecitabine in Patients With Residual Triple-Negative Breast Cancer Following Neoadjuvant Chemotherapy: ECOG-ACRIN EA1131. Mayer IA, Zhao F, Arteaga CL, et al. DOI: 10.1200/JCO.21.00976 Journal of Clinical Oncology. Published online June 06, 2021.

Late Breaking Abstract – ASCO 2021: PSMA Targeted Radioligand Therapy Improves Progression Free Survival and Overall Survival in Metastatic Prostate Cancer

SUMMARY: Prostate cancer is the most common cancer in American men with the exclusion of skin cancer, and 1 in 8 men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer during their lifetime. It is estimated that in the United States, about 248,530 new cases of prostate cancer will be diagnosed in 2021 and 34,130 men will die of the disease.

The development and progression of prostate cancer is driven by androgens. Androgen Deprivation Therapy (ADT) or testosterone suppression has therefore been the cornerstone of treatment of advanced prostate cancer, and is the first treatment intervention. Approximately 10-20% of patients with advanced Prostate cancer will progress to Castration Resistant Prostate Cancer (CRPC) within five years during ADT, and over 80% of these patients will have metastatic disease at the time of CRPC diagnosis. Among those patients without metastases at CRPC diagnosis, 33% are likely to develop metastases within two years. Progression to Castration Resistant Prostate Cancer (CRPC) often manifests itself with a rising PSA (Prostate Specific Antigen) and the estimated mean survival of patients with CRPC is 9-36 months, and there is therefore an unmet need for new effective therapies.

Prostate-Specific Membrane Antigen (PSMA) is a type II cell membrane glycoprotein that is selectively expressed in prostate cells, with higher levels of expression in prostatic adenocarcinoma. PSMA is a therefore an excellent target for molecular imaging and therapeutics, due to its high specificity for prostate cancer.

Lu-177-PSMA-617 is a radiopharmaceutical that targets PSMA. It is comprised of Lutetium-177, linked to the ligand PSMA-617, a small molecule designed to bind with high affinity to PSMA. Radioligand therapy with Lu-177-PSMA-617 targets PSMA and releases its payload of lethal beta radiation into the prostate cancer cell. The antitumor activity and safety of Lu-177-PSMA-617 have been established previously in a Phase II study (Lancet Oncol. 2018;19:825-833).

VISION is an international, randomized, open-label Phase III study in which the benefit of Lu-177-PSMA-617 was evaluated in men with PSMA-positive mCRPC, previously treated with second generation Androgen Receptor signaling pathway inhibitor (XTANDI®-Enzalutamide or ZYTIGA®-Abiraterone acetate), and 1-2 taxane chemotherapy regimens. In this trial, 831 patients were randomized 2:1 to receive Lu-177-PSMA-617, 7.4 GBq every 6 weeks for 6 cycles plus Standard of Care as determined by the treating physician (N=551), or Standard of Care only (N=280). Both treatment groups were well balanced and this trial excluded patients treated with XOFIGO® (Radium-223). Enrolled patients had a castrate level or serum/plasma testosterone of lower than 50 ng/dL, and PET imaging with 68Ga-PSMA-11 was used to determine PSMA positivity by central review. The Primary endpoints were radiographic Progression Free Survival (rPFS) by Independent Central Review (ICR) and Overall Survival (OS). Secondary endpoints included Objective Response Rate (ORR), Disease Control Rate (DCR), and time to first Symptomatic Skeletal Event (SSE). The median study follow up was 20.9 months.

Lu-177-PSMA-617 plus Standard of Care significantly improved rPFS by 60%, compared to Standard of Care alone (median rPFS 8.7 versus 3.4 months, HR=0.40; P<0.001). The median OS was also significantly improved by 38% with Lu-177-PSMA-617 plus Standard of Care compared to Standard of Care alone (median OS 15.3 versus 11.3 months, HR=0.62; P<0.001). All key secondary endpoints including Objective Response Rate, Disease Control Rate, and time to first Symptomatic Skeletal Event were statistically significant, and in favor of Lu-177-PSMA-617 plus Standard of Care.

It was concluded that radioligand therapy with Lutetium-177–PSMA-617 significantly improved radiographic Progression Free Survival and Overall Survival when added to Standard of Care, compared with Standard of Care alone, in men with PSMA-positive metastatic Castration Resistant Prostate Cancer.

Phase 3 study of lutetium-177-PSMA-617 in patients with metastatic castration-resistant prostate cancer (VISION). Morris MJ, De Bono JS, Chi KN, et al. J Clin Oncol. 2021;39(suppl 15):LBA4.

Late Breaking Abstract – ASCO 2021: Adjuvant KEYTRUDA® Improves Disease Free Survival in Renal Cell Carcinoma

SUMMARY: The American Cancer Society estimates that 76,080 new cases of kidney cancers will be diagnosed in the United States in 2021 and about 13,780 people will die from the disease. Renal Cell Carcinoma (RCC) is by far the most common type of kidney cancer and is about twice as common in men as in women. Modifiable risk factors include smoking, obesity, workplace exposure to certain substances and high blood pressure. The five year survival of patients with advanced RCC is less than 10% and there is a significant unmet need for improved therapies for this disease.

The prognosis for patients with Renal Cell Carcinoma (RCC) is dependent on the stage of disease and risk factors. Two validated models, the University of California Los Angeles Integrated Staging System (UISS) and the Stage, Size, Grade, and Necrosis (SSIGN) score were developed, to assess the risk for relapse. UISS is based on ECOG Performance Status, Fuhrman nuclear grading and TNM pathological stage, whereas the SSIGN score takes Stage, Size, Grade and Necrosis into consideration. Approximately 16% of patients with RCC present with Locoregional disease, and up to 40% of these patients relapse with metastatic disease, following nephrectomy. The 5-year survival for locoregional (stage III) disease is 53%, and 8% for metastatic disease. The standard management of high risk patients following nephrectomy has been surveillance, as there has been limited data demonstrating the benefit of adjuvant therapy in reducing the risk of relapse. Adjuvant therapy with immune check point inhibitors therapy is a potentially attractive treatment strategy for this patient group.

KEYNOTE-564 is a multicenter, double-blind, Phase III trial in which the benefit of adjuvant therapy with KEYTRUDA® was compared with placebo, following nephrectomy, in patients with clear cell RCC. In this study, 994 patients were randomized 1:1 to receive either KEYTRUDA® or placebo at least 12 weeks after surgery. Enrolled patients had histologically confirmed clear cell RCC, with Intermediate-High risk (pT2, Grade 4 or Sarcomatoid, N0 M0; or pT3, any Grade, N0 M0), High risk (pT4, any Grade, N0 M0; or pT any Stage, any Grade, N+ M0), or M1 with No Evidence of Disease after primary tumor and soft tissue metastases were completely resected, 1 year or less from nephrectomy. Treatment consisted of KEYTRUDA® 200 mg IV every 3 weeks (N=496) or placebo (N=498), every 3 weeks, for approximately 1 year. Both treatment groups were well balanced. The Primary end point of the trial was Disease Free Survival (DFS) assessment in all randomized patients and Secondary end points included Overall Survival (OS) and Safety. The median follow up at the time of data cut-off was 24.1 months.

At first prespecified interim analysis, the Primary endpoint of DFS was met. The median DFS was not reached for both treatment groups. KEYTRUDA® reduced the risk of recurrence or death by 32% compared with placebo, and this difference was statistically significant (HR=0.68; P=0.0010). The estimated DFS rate at 24 months was 77.3% with KEYTRUDA® versus 68.1% with placebo and this DFS benefit was consistent across subgroups. The estimated OS rate at 24 months was 96.6% with KEYTRUDA® versus 93.5% with placebo. Survival data are premature and additional follow up is planned for OS.

It was concluded that KEYTRUDA® demonstrated a statistically significant and clinically meaningful improvement in Disease Free Survival compared to placebo, in patients with Renal Cell Carcinoma, with a high risk of recurrence. The authors added that this is the first positive Phase III study with a checkpoint inhibitor, in adjuvant Renal Cell Carcinoma, and these practice changing results support KEYTRUDA® as a potential new standard of care for this patient group.

Pembrolizumab versus placebo as post-nephrectomy adjuvant therapy for patients with renal cell carcinoma: Randomized, double-blind, phase III KEYNOTE-564 study. Choueiri TK, Tomczak P, Park SH, et al. J Clin Oncol 2021; 39: (suppl 15; abstr LBA5) DOI: 10.1200/JCO.2021.39.15_suppl.LBA5

Late Breaking Abstract – ASCO 2021: Adjuvant LYNPARZA® Improves Disease Free Survival in BRCA Positive Breast Cancer

SUMMARY: Breast cancer is the most common cancer among women in the US and about 1 in 8 women (12%) will develop invasive breast cancer during their lifetime. Approximately 284,200 new cases of breast cancer will be diagnosed in 2021 and about 44,130 individuals will die of the disease, largely due to metastatic recurrence.

DNA can be damaged due to errors during its replication or as a result of environmental exposure to ultraviolet radiation from the sun or other toxins. The tumor suppressor genes such as BRCA1 (Breast Cancer 1) and BRCA2 help repair damaged DNA and thus play an important role in maintaining cellular genetic integrity, failing which these genetic aberrations can result in malignancies. The BRCA1 gene is located on the long (q) arm of chromosome 17 whereas BRCA2 is located on the long arm of chromosome 13. Mutations in BRCA1 and BRCA2 account for about 20 to 25 percent of hereditary breast cancers and about 5 to 10 percent of all breast cancers. These mutations can be inherited from either of the parents and a child has a 50 percent chance of inheriting this mutation, and the deleterious effects of the mutations are seen even when an individual’s second copy of the gene is normal. Patients with BRCA mutations can present with aggressive, high-risk disease and are at a high risk of recurrence following completion of multimodality therapy including surgery, radiation, and chemotherapy. This is an area of unmet need, warranting identification of additional novel and effective therapies.

BRCA1 and BRCA2 are tumor suppressor genes and they recognize and repair double strand DNA breaks via Homologous Recombination (HR) pathway. Homologous Recombination is a DNA repair pathway utilized by cells to accurately repair DNA double-stranded breaks during the S and G2 phases of the cell cycle, and thereby maintain genomic integrity. The PARP (Poly ADP Ribose Polymerase) family of enzymes include PARP1 and PARP2, and is a related enzymatic pathway that repairs single strand breaks in DNAIn a BRCA mutant, the cancer cell relies solely on PARP pathway for DNA repair to survive.

LYNPARZA® is a PARP inhibitor, that traps PARP onto DNA at sites of single-strand breaks, thereby preventing their repair and generate double-strand breaks. These breaks cannot be repaired accurately in tumors harboring defects in Homologous Recombination Repair pathway genes, such as BRCA1 or BRCA2 mutations, and this leads to cumulative DNA damage and tumor cell death. LYNPARZA® is presently approved by the FDA for metastatic HER2-negative breast cancer with BRCA1/2 germline mutation. The researchers in this study evaluated the benefit of LYNPARZA® in patients with germline BRCA-mutated, HER2-negative, early stage breast cancer.MOA-of-LYNPARZA

OlympiA is a multicenter, randomized, placebo-controlled, double-blind, Phase III trial of adjuvant LYNPARZA® after neoadjuvant/adjuvant chemotherapy, in patients with germline BRCA1/2 mutations, and high-risk HER2-negative early breast cancer. This trial enrolled 1836 patients, including triple negative and hormone receptor positive breast cancer. All enrolled patients had already received standard adjuvant or neoadjuvant chemotherapy, surgery and if needed, radiation therapy, for early stage breast cancer (Stage II-III). Inclusion criteria also required that patients have a high risk of disease recurrence and those with lower risk of invasive disease recurrence were excluded. For example, patients with hormone receptor positive breast cancer had 4 or more positive lymph nodes prior to adjuvant chemotherapy. Patients were randomized 1:1 to receive LYNPARZA® 300 mg PO BID continuously for 1 year (N=921) or placebo (N=915). Endocrine therapy and bisphosphonates were allowed. The Primary endpoint was invasive Disease Free Survival (IDFS) and Secondary endpoints included distant DFS (DDFS), Overall Survival (OS) and Safety. The study results were reported early, at a median follow up of 2.5 years, after a planned interim analysis was reviewed by an Independent Data Monitoring Committee.

At the pre-specified interim analysis (2.5 years), the estimated 3-year invasive DFS (IDFS) was 85.9% for patients who received LYNPARZA® compared with 77.1% for those who received placebo (HR=0.58; P<0.001), representing a 42% reduction in the risk of IDFS with LYNPARZA® compared to placebo. The estimated 3-year distant DFS (DDFS) was 87.5% versus 80.4% respectively (HR=0.57; P<0.001). This represented a 43% reduction in DDFS with adjuvant LYNPARZA® compared to placebo. At the time of this interim analysis, Overall Survival data were considered immature. The side effects were consistent with the known safety profile of LYNPARZA®, and no new safety signals were noted during the trial.

The authors concluded that adjuvant LYNPARZA® following adjuvant or neoadjuvant chemotherapy significantly improved invasive DFS and distant DFS with acceptable toxicity, in patients with germline BRCA mutated, and high risk HER-2 negative early stage breast cancer. The authors added that this is the first study to report the benefit of a PARP inhibitor given as adjuvant therapy on survival endpoints, in this patient group. Overall Survival data are awaited, as follow up data matures.

Adjuvant Olaparib for Patients with BRCA1- or BRCA2-Mutated Breast Cancer. Tutt AJ, Garber JE, Kaufman B, et al. June 3, 2021, DOI: 10.1056/NEJMoa2105215.

2021 ASCO GU Cancers Symposium: Apalutamide and Abiraterone plus Prednisone Improves PFS in Chemo-Naive mCRPC Patients

SUMMARY: Prostate cancer is the most common cancer in American men with the exclusion of skin cancer, and 1 in 8 men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer during their lifetime. It is estimated that in the United States, about 248,530 new cases of prostate cancer will be diagnosed in 2021 and 34,130 men will die of the disease. The development and progression of prostate cancer is driven by androgens. Androgen Deprivation Therapy (ADT) or testosterone suppression has therefore been the cornerstone of treatment of advanced prostate cancer, and is the first treatment intervention. Androgen Deprivation Therapies have included bilateral orchiectomy or Gonadotropin Releasing Hormone (GnRH) analogues, with or without first generation Androgen Receptor (AR) inhibitors such as CASODEX® (Bicalutamide), NILANDRON® (Nilutamide) and EULEXIN® (Flutamide) or with second generation anti-androgen agents, which include ZYTIGA® (Abiraterone), XTANDI® (Enzalutamide), ERLEADA® (Apalutamide) and NUBEQA® (Darolutamide). Approximately 10-20% of patients with advanced Prostate cancer will progress to Castration Resistant Prostate Cancer (CRPC) within five years during ADT, and over 80% of these patients will have metastatic disease at the time of CRPC diagnosis. Among those patients without metastases at CRPC diagnosis, 33% are likely to develop metastases within two years. Progression to Castration Resistant Prostate Cancer (CRPC) often manifests itself with a rising PSA (Prostate Specific Antigen), and watchful waiting is often recommended in men with non-metastatic CRPC. However, those with a rapidly rising PSA on ADT (doubling time of less than 8-10 months), are at significantly greater risk of developing metastases and death. The estimated mean survival of patients with CRPC is 9-36 months, and there is therefore an unmet need for new effective therapies.MOA-of-Androgen-Receptor-Targeted-Agents

Expression of Androgen Receptor (AR) in prostate cancer is heterogeneous and this AR heterogeneity is accentuated in advanced metastatic and relapsed prostate cancer with varying degrees of AR resistance and sensitivity. Both single agent ERLEADA® (Apalutamide) and ZYTIGA® (Abiraterone acetate) in combination with Prednisone, are approved for the treatment of metastatic CRPC. They have distinct mechanisms of action on the Androgen Receptors. Apalutamide is an Androgen Receptor (AR) inhibitor that binds directly to the ligand-binding domain of the AR. Apalutamide inhibits AR nuclear translocation, inhibits DNA binding, and impedes AR-mediated transcription. Abiraterone acetate is an androgen biosynthesis inhibitor that inhibits CYP17, an enzyme expressed in testicular, adrenal, and prostatic tumor tissues, and is required for androgen biosynthesis. The ACIS trial was conducted to study the benefit of androgen annihilation by combining these two drugs (dual inhibition), for the first-line treatment of metastatic CRPC.

ACIS is a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled, multicenter study Phase III trial in which the efficacy and safety of single agent Apalutamide and Abiraterone acetate along with Prednisone plus ADT, was compared to placebo and Abiraterone acetate with Prednisone plus ADT, in patients with chemotherapy-naïve mCRPC. This study enrolled 982 chemo naïve patients with metastatic CRPC, who had disease progression on ADT, and were on no other life-prolonging treatment since diagnosis. Patients were randomized 1:1 to receive Apalutamide 240 mg daily along with Abiraterone acetate 1000 mg daily plus Prednisone 5 mg twice daily, all given orally (N=492) versus Placebo along with Abiraterone Acetate plus Prednisone (N=490). All patients were also on Androgen Deprivation Therapy. The median patient age was 71 years, 53% of patients had a Gleason score of 7 or more at initial diagnosis, about 85% had bone metastases, 48% had lymph node metastases and 15% had visceral metastases. Baseline characteristics were comparable in both treatment groups.
The Primary end point was radiographic Progression Free Survival (rPFS), defined from randomization date to radiographic progression date or death. Secondary end points included PSA response, Overall Survival (OS), initiation of cytotoxic chemotherapy, and pain progression.

This trial met its Primary endpoint of rPFS benefit with androgen annihilation, and the Apalutamide plus Abiraterone combination prolonged rPFS from 16.6 months to 22.6 months (HR=0.69, P<0.0001), suggesting a 31% reduction in the risk of radiographic disease progression and death. However, after 54.8 months of median follow-up, Overall Survival was numerically higher but not statistically significantly higher with Apalutamide plus Abiraterone combination (36.2 months versus 33.7 months, P=0.498). In the pre-specified subgroup analysis, the Apalutamide plus Abiraterone combination was more favorable in patients 75 years and older and in those with visceral metastases. More patients receiving Apalutamide plus Abiraterone combination had a PSA decline greater than 50%. In an exploratory analysis of biomarkers of response, tumors classified as luminal by the PAM50 signature score, or those having high AR activity expression signatures, trended towards improved rPFS and OS with the Apalutamide plus Abiraterone combination. There were no new safety signals noted with the Apalutamide plus Abiraterone combination, and based on FACT (Functional Assessment of Cancer Therapy-Prostate) -P score, Quality of Life was comparable between treatment groups.

It was concluded that the ACIS trial met its Primary endpoint, and when compared to Abiraterone with ADT, a combination of Apalutamide plus Abiraterone along with ADT demonstrated a 31% reduction in risk of radiographic progression or death, in chemo-naive mCRPC patients.

Final results from ACIS, a randomized, placebo (PBO)-controlled double-blind phase 3 study of apalutamide (APA) and abiraterone acetate plus prednisone (AAP) versus AAP in patients (pts) with chemo-naive metastatic castration-resistant prostate cancer (mCRPC). Rathkopf DE, Efstathiou E, Attard G, et al. On behalf of the ACIS investigators. J Clin Oncol 39, 2021 (suppl 6; abstr 9)

FDA Approves UKONIQ® for Relapsed or Refractory Marginal Zone and Follicular Lymphomas

SUMMARY: The FDA on February 5, 2021 granted accelerated approval to UKONIQ® (Umbralisib), a kinase inhibitor including PI3K-delta and Casein Kinase CK1-epsilon, for adult patients with Relapsed or Refractory Marginal Zone Lymphoma (MZL) who have received at least one prior anti-CD20-based regimen and adult patients with Relapsed or Refractory Follicular Lymphoma (FL) who have received at least three prior lines of systemic therapy. The American Cancer Society estimates that in 2021, about 81,560 people will be diagnosed with Non Hodgkin Lymphoma (NHL) in the United States and about 20,720 individuals will die of this disease. Indolent Non Hodgkin Lymphomas are mature B cell lymphoproliferative disorders and include Follicular Lymphoma, Nodal Marginal Zone Lymphoma (NMZL), Extranodal Marginal Zone Lymphoma (ENMZL) of Mucosa-Associated Lymphoid Tissue (MALT), Splenic Marginal Zone Lymphoma (SMZL), LymphoPlasmacytic Lymphoma (LPL) and Small Lymphocytic Lymphoma (SLL). Follicular Lymphoma is the most indolent form and second most common form of all NHLs and they are a heterogeneous group of lymphoproliferative malignancies. Approximately 20% of all NHLs are Follicular Lymphomas (FL).

Advanced stage indolent NHL is not curable and as such, prolonging Progression Free Survival (PFS) and Overall Survival (OS), while maintaining Quality of Life, have been the goals of treatment intervention. Asymptomatic patients with indolent NHL are generally considered candidates for “watch and wait” approach. Patients with advanced stage symptomatic Follicular Lymphoma are often treated with induction chemoimmunotherapy followed by maintenance RITUXAN® (Rituximab). This can result in a median PFS of 6-8 yrs and a median OS of 12-15 yrs. However, approximately 30% of the patients will relapse in 3 years and treatment options are limited for patients with relapses, after multiple treatments.

UKONIQ® is an oral, once-daily, dual inhibitor of Phosphatidylinositol-3-Kinase-delta (PI3Kδ) and Casein Kinase 1-epsilon (CK1-epsilon) that exhibits improved selectivity for the delta isoform of PI3K. In contrast with other PI3K inhibitors, there was a low incidence of immune-mediated toxicities with UKONIQ® possibly attributable to enhanced selectivity for the PI3Kδ isoform as well as inhibition of CK1-epsilon.

The present FDA approval was based on the UNITY-NHL trial (NCT02793583), which is global, multicenter, open-label, multicohort, Phase IIb registration study, designed to evaluate the safety and efficacy of UKONIQ® in previously treated NHL patients. This study had a total 208 patients with indolent NHL and included 69 patients with MZL (splenic, nodal, extranodal), 117 patients with FL (grade 1, 2, 3a), and 22 patients with Small Lymphocytic Lymphoma (SLL). MZL patients were Relapsed/Refractory to 1 or more prior lines of treatment, which included an anti-CD20, while FL and SLL patients were Relapsed/Refractory to 2 or more prior lines of therapy, which included an anti-CD20 and an alkylating agent. UKONIQ® was administered at 800 mg orally once daily in 28-day treatment cycles until disease progression or unacceptable tolerability. The median age was 66 years and the median duration of treatment exposure was 8.4 months. Pneumocystis jiroveci Pneumonia (PCP) and anti-viral prophylaxis were mandated for all patients. The Primary endpoint of the study was Overall Response Rate (ORR) as assessed by an Independent Review Committee (IRC) and Secondary endpoints included Duration of Response (DoR), Progression Free Survival (PFS), Time To Response (TTR), and Safety.

With a median follow up of 27.8 months, the ORR for patients with MZL was 49%, with a 16% Complete Response (CR) rate and a Disease Control Rate (CR+PR+SD) of 82.6%. The ORR was consistent amongst MZL subtypes and no patients who achieved CR had experienced disease progression to date. Additionally, the median DoR and median PFS was not reached for this patient population.

Among patients with FL, with a median follow up of 27.5 months, the ORR was 45%, with 5% achieving a CR, and a DCR of 79.5%. The median TTR was 4.6 months and the median DoR was 11.1 months. The median PFS was 10.6 months.

Among SLL patients, with a median follow up of 29.3 months, the ORR was 50%, with 4.5% achieving a CR, and a DCR of 86.4%. The median TTR was 2.7 months and the median DoR was 18.3 months. The median PFS was 20.9 months.

The most common toxicities included increased creatinine, diarrhea/colitis, fatigue, transaminase elevation, musculoskeletal pain, neutropenia, anemia, thrombocytopenia, upper respiratory tract infection, nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, reduced appetite, and cutaneous reactions.

It was concluded from this study that UKONIQ® has a favorable benefit-risk profile and achieved meaningful clinical activity in a heavily pretreated population of patients with indolent NHL. The authors added that the safety profile was manageable, with a relatively low incidence of immune-mediated toxicities and treatment discontinuations.

Umbralisib, the Once Daily Dual Inhibitor of PI3Kδ and Casein Kinase-1ε Demonstrates Clinical Activity in Patients with Relapsed or Refractory Indolent Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma: Results from the Phase 2 Global Unity-NHL Trial. Zinzani PL, Samaniego F, Jurczak W, et al. Presented at the 62nd ASH Annual Meeting and Exposition, December 5-8, 2020. Abstract # 2934.