A phase 2 clinical trial assessing the efficacy and safety of pembrolizumab and radiotherapy in patients with metastatic triple-negative breast cancer.

Journal Article (Journal Article)

BACKGROUND: The current study was conducted to evaluate the efficacy and safety of pembrolizumab-mediated programmed cell death protein 1 inhibition plus radiotherapy (RT) in patients with metastatic triple-negative breast cancer who were unselected for programmed death-ligand 1 expression. METHODS: The current study was a single-arm, Simon 2-stage, phase 2 clinical trial that enrolled a total of 17 patients with a median age of 52 years (range, 37-73 years). An RT dose of 3000 centigrays (cGy) was delivered in 5 daily fractions. Pembrolizumab was administered intravenously at a dose of 200 mg within 3 days of the first RT fraction, and then every 3 weeks ± 3 days until disease progression. The median follow-up was 34.5 weeks (range, 2.1-108.3 weeks). The primary endpoint of the current study was the overall response rate (ORR) at week 13 in patients with unirradiated lesions measured using Response Evaluation Criteria in Solid Tumors (RECIST; version 1.1). Secondary endpoints included safety and progression-free survival. Exploratory objectives were to identify biomarkers predictive of ORR and progression-free survival. RESULTS: The ORR for the entire cohort was 17.6% (3 of 17 patients; 95% CI, 4.7%-44.2%), with 3 complete responses (CRs), 1 case of stable disease, and 13 cases of progressive disease. Eight patients died prior to week 13 due to disease progression. Among the 9 women assessed using RECIST version 1.1 at week 13, 3 (33%) achieved a CR, with a 100% reduction in tumor volume outside of the irradiated portal. The CRs were durable for 18 weeks, 20 weeks, and 108 weeks, respectively. The most common grade 1 to 2 toxicity (assessed according to the National Cancer Institute Common Terminology Criteria for Adverse Events, version 4.0) was dermatitis (29%). Four grade 3 adverse events were attributed to pembrolizumab: fatigue, lymphopenia, and infection. No were no grade 4 adverse events or treatment-related deaths reported. CONCLUSIONS: The combination of pembrolizumab and RT was found to be safe and demonstrated encouraging activity in patients with poor-prognosis, metastatic, triple-negative breast cancer who were unselected for programmed death-ligand 1 expression. Larger clinical trials of checkpoint blockade plus RT with predictive biomarkers of response are needed.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Ho, AY; Barker, CA; Arnold, BB; Powell, SN; Hu, ZI; Gucalp, A; Lebron-Zapata, L; Wen, HY; Kallman, C; D'Agnolo, A; Zhang, Z; Flynn, J; Dunn, SA; McArthur, HL

Published Date

  • February 15, 2020

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 126 / 4

Start / End Page

  • 850 - 860

PubMed ID

  • 31747077

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 1097-0142

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1002/cncr.32599


  • eng

Conference Location

  • United States