ColoRectal Cancer (CRC) is the third most common cancer diagnosed in both men and women in the United States. The American Cancer Society estimates that approximately 135,430 new cases of ColoRectal Cancer will be diagnosed in the United States in 2017 and over 50,260 patients are expected to die of the disease. The DNA MisMatchRepair (MMR) system is responsible for molecular surveillance and works as an editing tool that identifies errors within the microsatellite regions of DNA and removes them. Defective MMR system leads to MSI (Micro Satellite Instability) and hypermutation, triggering an enhanced antitumor immune response. Defective MisMatchRepair can be a sporadic or heritable event. Approximately 65% of the MSI tumors are sporadic and MSI-High tumors tend to have better outcomes.
The Mitogen-Activated Protein Kinase pathway (MAPK pathway) is an important signaling pathway which enables the cell to respond to external stimuli. This pathway plays a dual role, regulating cytokine production and participating in cytokine dependent signaling cascade. The MAPK pathway of interest is the RAS-RAF-MEK-ERK pathway. BRAF is a very important intermediary of the RAS-RAF-MEK-ERK pathway. The BRAF V600 mutations results in constitutive activation of the MAP kinase pathway.
Preclinical studies have shown that adding CAMPTOSAR® (Irinotecan) to ZELBORAF® and ERBITUX®, in patients with refractory BRAF V600E metastatic CRC, led to a durable responses and this combination was safe and tolerable. However, both single agent ZELBORAF® and ERBITUX® were shown to have limited activity in this patient group.
Based on this scientific rationale, a phase II trial was conducted (), in which 106 metastatic ColoRectal Cancer patients, with mutations in BRAF V600 and extended RAS wild-type, were enrolled. Patients were randomized to receive CAMPTOSAR® 180 mg/m2 IV every 14 days and ERBITUX® 500 mg/m2 IV every 14 days, with or without ZELBORAF® 960 mg orally twice daily. The median age was 62 years and about 50% of patients had received 1 prior regimen for metastatic or locally advanced unresectable metastatic CRC, and 39% had received prior treatment with CAMPTOSAR® . Prior therapy with anti-EGFR agent or RAF or MEK inhibitors was not allowed. Crossover from the control arm to the experimental group was allowed, after documented disease progression. The primary endpoint was Progression Free Survival.
The median Progression Free Survival was 4.4 months with the triplet, versus 2.0 months with CAMPTOSAR® plus ERBITUX® (HR=0.42; P =0.0002). The response rate was 16% versus 4%, and the Disease Control Rate was 67% versus 22% (P =0.001), with a higher Duration of Response with the addition of ZELBORAF® to CAMPTOSAR® and ERBITUX® (Triplet). Approximately 50% of the patients in the control group crossed over to the experimental group at the time of disease progression. Overall Survival data and efficacy at cross-over, data, remain immature. Patients in the experimental group (Triplet group) experienced more grade 3/4 toxicities such as neutropenia, anemia and nausea, and this increase was attributed to increased duration of exposure to therapy.
Subgroup analysis will examine the role of CAMPTOSAR® pre-treatment and the outcomes of patients based on tumor MicroSatellite Instability.