Durvalumab for recurrent or metastatic head and neck squamous cell carcinoma: Results from a single-arm, phase II study in patients with ≥25% tumour cell PD-L1 expression who have progressed on platinum-based chemotherapy.

Journal Article (Journal Article;Multicenter Study)

BACKGROUND: Patients with recurrent/metastatic head and neck squamous cell carcinoma (R/M HNSCC) progressing on platinum-based chemotherapy have poor prognoses and limited therapeutic options. Programmed cell death-1 (PD-1) and its ligand 1 (PD-L1) are frequently upregulated in HNSCC. The international, multi-institutional, single-arm, phase II HAWK study (NCT02207530) evaluated durvalumab monotherapy, an anti-PD-L1 monoclonal antibody, in PD-L1-high patients with platinum-refractory R/M HNSCC. PATIENTS AND METHODS: Immunotherapy-naïve patients with confirmed PD-L1-high tumour cell expression (defined as patients with ≥25% of tumour cells expressing PD-L1 [TC ≥ 25%] using the VENTANA PD-L1 [SP263] Assay) received durvalumab 10 mg/kg intravenously every 2 weeks for up to 12 months. The primary end-point was objective response rate; secondary end-points included progression-free survival (PFS) and overall survival (OS). RESULTS: Among evaluable patients (n = 111), objective response rate was 16.2% (95% confidence interval [CI], 9.9-24.4); 29.4% (95% CI, 15.1-47.5) for human papillomavirus (HPV)-positive patients and 10.9% (95% CI, 4.5-21.3) for HPV-negative patients. Median PFS and OS for treated patients (n = 112) was 2.1 months (95% CI, 1.9-3.7) and 7.1 months (95% CI, 4.9-9.9); PFS and OS at 12 months were 14.6% (95% CI, 8.5-22.1) and 33.6% (95% CI, 24.8-42.7). Treatment-related adverse events were 57.1% (any grade) and 8.0% (grade ≥3); none led to death. At data cut-off, 24.1% of patients remained on treatment or in follow-up. CONCLUSION: Durvalumab demonstrated antitumour activity with acceptable safety in PD-L1-high patients with R/M HNSCC, supporting its ongoing evaluation in phase III trials in first- and second-line settings. In an ad hoc analysis, HPV-positive patients had a numerically higher response rate and survival than HPV-negative patients.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Zandberg, DP; Algazi, AP; Jimeno, A; Good, JS; Fayette, J; Bouganim, N; Ready, NE; Clement, PM; Even, C; Jang, RW; Wong, S; Keilholz, U; Gilbert, J; Fenton, M; Braña, I; Henry, S; Remenar, E; Papai, Z; Siu, LL; Jarkowski, A; Armstrong, JM; Asubonteng, K; Fan, J; Melillo, G; Mesía, R

Published Date

  • January 2019

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 107 /

Start / End Page

  • 142 - 152

PubMed ID

  • 30576970

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 1879-0852

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1016/j.ejca.2018.11.015


  • eng

Conference Location

  • England