Summary Background Nivolumab, a fully human IgG4 PD-1 immune checkpoint inhibitor antibody, can result in durable responses in patients with melanoma who have progressed after ipilimumab and BRAF inhibitors. We assessed the efficacy and safety of nivolumab compared with investigator's choice of chemotherapy (ICC) as a second-line or later-line treatment in patients with advanced melanoma. Methods In this randomised, controlled, open-label, phase 3 trial, we recruited patients at 90 sites in 14 countries. Eligible patients were 18 years or older, had unresectable or metastatic melanoma, and progressed after ipilimumab, or ipilimumab and a BRAF inhibitor if they were BRAFV 600 mutation-positive. Participating investigators randomly assigned (with an interactive voice response system) patients 2:1 to receive an intravenous infusion of nivolumab 3 mg/kg every 2 weeks or ICC (dacarbazine 1000 mg/m2 every 3 weeks or paclitaxel 175 mg/m2 combined with carboplatin area under the curve 6 every 3 weeks) until progression or unacceptable toxic effects. We stratified randomisation by BRAF mutation status, tumour expression of PD-L1, and previous best overall response to ipilimumab. We used permuted blocks (block size of six) within each stratum. Primary endpoints were the proportion of patients who had an objective response and overall survival. Treatment was given open-label, but those doing tumour assessments were masked to treatment assignment. We assessed objective responses per-protocol after 120 patients had been treated with nivolumab and had a minimum follow-up of 24 weeks, and safety in all patients who had had at least one dose of treatment. The trial is closed and this is the first interim analysis, reporting the objective response primary endpoint. This study is registered with ClinicalTrials.gov , number NCT01721746. Findings Between Dec 21, 2012, and Jan 10, 2014, we screened 631 patients, randomly allocating 272 patients to nivolumab and 133 to ICC. Confirmed objective responses were reported in 38 (31·7%, 95% CI 23·5–40·8) of the first 120 patients in the nivolumab group versus five (10·6%, 3·5–23·1) of 47 patients in the ICC group. Grade 3–4 adverse events related to nivolumab included increased lipase (three [1%] of 268 patients), increased alanine aminotransferase, anaemia, and fatigue (two [1%] each); for ICC, these included neutropenia (14 [14%] of 102), thrombocytopenia (six [6%]), and anaemia (five [5%]). We noted grade 3–4 drug-related serious adverse events in 12 (5%) nivolumab-treated patients and nine (9%) patients in the ICC group. No treatment-related deaths occurred. Interpretation Nivolumab led to a greater proportion of patients achieving an objective response and fewer toxic effects than with alternative available chemotherapy regimens for patients with advanced melanoma that has progressed after ipilimumab or ipilimumab and a BRAF inhibitor. Nivolumab represents a new treatment option with clinically meaningful durable objective responses in a population of high unmet need. Funding Bristol-Myers Squibb.
Summary Background Limited evidence exists to show that adding a third agent to platinum-doublet chemotherapy improves efficacy in the first-line advanced non-small-cell lung cancer (NSCLC) setting. The anti-PD-1 antibody pembrolizumab has shown efficacy as monotherapy in patients with advanced NSCLC and has a non-overlapping toxicity profile with chemotherapy. We assessed whether the addition of pembrolizumab to platinum-doublet chemotherapy improves efficacy in patients with advanced non-squamous NSCLC. Methods In this randomised, open-label, phase 2 cohort of a multicohort study (KEYNOTE-021), patients were enrolled at 26 medical centres in the USA and Taiwan. Patients with chemotherapy-naive, stage IIIB or IV, non-squamous NSCLC without targetable EGFR or ALK genetic aberrations were randomly assigned (1:1) in blocks of four stratified by PD-L1 tumour proportion score (<1% vs ≥1%) using an interactive voice-response system to 4 cycles of pembrolizumab 200 mg plus carboplatin area under curve 5 mg/mL per min and pemetrexed 500 mg/m2 every 3 weeks followed by pembrolizumab for 24 months and indefinite pemetrexed maintenance therapy or to 4 cycles of carboplatin and pemetrexed alone followed by indefinite pemetrexed maintenance therapy. The primary endpoint was the proportion of patients who achieved an objective response, defined as the percentage of patients with radiologically confirmed complete or partial response according to Response Evaluation Criteria in Solid Tumors version 1.1 assessed by masked, independent central review, in the intention-to-treat population, defined as all patients who were allocated to study treatment. Significance threshold was p<0·025 (one sided). Safety was assessed in the as-treated population, defined as all patients who received at least one dose of the assigned study treatment. This trial, which is closed for enrolment but continuing for follow-up, is registered with ClinicalTrials.gov , number NCT02039674. Findings Between Nov 25, 2014, and Jan 25, 2016, 123 patients were enrolled; 60 were randomly assigned to the pembrolizumab plus chemotherapy group and 63 to the chemotherapy alone group. 33 (55%; 95% CI 42–68) of 60 patients in the pembrolizumab plus chemotherapy group achieved an objective response compared with 18 (29%; 18–41) of 63 patients in the chemotherapy alone group (estimated treatment difference 26% [95% CI 9–42%]; p=0·0016). The incidence of grade 3 or worse treatment-related adverse events was similar between groups (23 [39%] of 59 patients in the pembrolizumab plus chemotherapy group and 16 [26%] of 62 in the chemotherapy alone group). The most common grade 3 or worse treatment-related adverse events in the pembrolizumab plus chemotherapy group were anaemia (seven [12%] of 59) and decreased neutrophil count (three [5%]); an additional six events each occurred in two (3%) for acute kidney injury, decreased lymphocyte count, fatigue, neutropenia, and sepsis, and thrombocytopenia. In the chemotherapy alone group, the most common grade 3 or worse events were anaemia (nine [15%] of 62) and decreased neutrophil count, pancytopenia, and thrombocytopenia (two [3%] each). One (2%) of 59 patients in the pembrolizumab plus chemotherapy group experienced treatment-related death because of sepsis compared with two (3%) of 62 patients in the chemotherapy group: one because of sepsis and one because of pancytopenia. Interpretation Combination of pembrolizumab, carboplatin, and pemetrexed could be an effective and tolerable first-line treatment option for patients with advanced non-squamous NSCLC. This finding is being further explored in an ongoing international, randomised, double-blind, phase 3 study. Funding Merck & Co.
Metastatic DNA mismatch repair-deficient (dMMR)/microsatellite instability-high (MSI-H) colorectal cancer has a poor prognosis after treatment with conventional chemotherapy and exhibits high levels of tumour neoantigens, tumour-infiltrating lymphocytes, and checkpoint regulators. All of these features are associated with the response to PD-1 blockade in other tumour types. Therefore, we aimed to study nivolumab, a PD-1 immune checkpoint inhibitor, in patients with dMMR/MSI-H metastatic colorectal cancer. In this ongoing, multicentre, open-label, phase 2 trial, we enrolled adults (aged ≥18 years) with histologically confirmed recurrent or metastatic colorectal cancer locally assessed as dMMR/MSI-H from 31 sites (academic centres and hospitals) in eight countries (Australia, Belgium, Canada, France, Ireland, Italy, Spain, and the USA). Eligible patients had progressed on or after, or been intolerant of, at least one previous line of treatment, including a fluoropyrimidine and oxaliplatin or irinotecan. Patients were given 3 mg/kg nivolumab every 2 weeks until disease progression, death, unacceptable toxic effects, or withdrawal from study. The primary endpoint was investigator-assessed objective response as per Response Evaluation Criteria in Solid Tumors (version 1.1). All patients who received at least one dose of study drug were included in all analyses. This trial is registered with , number . Of the 74 patients who were enrolled between March 12, 2014, and March 16, 2016, 40 (54%) had received three or more previous treatments. At a median follow-up of 12·0 months (IQR 8·6–18·0), 23 (31·1%, 95% CI 20·8–42·9) of 74 patients achieved an investigator-assessed objective response and 51 (69%, 57–79) patients had disease control for 12 weeks or longer. Median duration of response was not yet reached; all responders were alive, and eight had responses lasting 12 months or longer (Kaplan-Meier 12-month estimate 86%, 95% CI 62–95). The most common grade 3 or 4 drug-related adverse events were increased concentrations of lipase (six [8%]) and amylase (two [3%]). 23 (31%) patients died during the study; none of these deaths were deemed to be treatment related by the investigator. Nivolumab provided durable responses and disease control in pre-treated patients with dMMR/MSI-H metastatic colorectal cancer, and could be a new treatment option for these patients. Bristol-Myers Squibb.
Summary Background Patients with metastatic urothelial carcinoma have a dismal prognosis and few treatment options after first-line chemotherapy. Responses to second-line treatment are uncommon. We assessed nivolumab, a fully human IgG4 PD-1 immune checkpoint inhibitor antibody, for safety and activity in patients with metastatic or surgically unresectable urothelial carcinoma whose disease progressed or recurred despite previous treatment with at least one platinum-based chemotherapy regimen. Methods In this multicentre, phase 2, single-arm study, patients aged 18 years or older with metastatic or surgically unresectable locally advanced urothelial carcinoma, measurable disease (according to Response Evaluation Criteria In Solid Tumors v1.1), Eastern Cooperative Oncology Group performance statuses of 0 or 1, and available tumour samples for biomarker analysis received nivolumab 3 mg/kg intravenously every 2 weeks until disease progression and clinical deterioration, unacceptable toxicity, or other protocol-defined reasons. The primary endpoint was overall objective response confirmed by blinded independent review committee in all treated patients and by tumour PD-L1 expression (≥5% and ≥1%). This trial is registered with ClinicalTrials.gov , number NCT02387996 , and is completed. Follow-up is still ongoing. Findings Between March 9, 2015, and Oct 16, 2015, 270 patients from 63 sites in 11 countries received nivolumab, and 265 were evaluated for activity. Median follow-up for overall survival was 7·00 months (IQR 2·96–8·77). Confirmed objective response was achieved in 52 (19·6%, 95% CI 15·0–24·9) of 265 patients. Confirmed objective response was achieved in 23 (28·4%, 95% CI 18·9–39·5) of the 81 patients with PD-L1 expression of 5% or greater, 29 (23·8%, 95% CI 16·5–32·3) of the 122 patients with PD-L1 expression of 1% or greater, and 23 (16·1%, 95% CI 10·5–23·1) of the 143 patients with PD-L1 expression of less than 1%. Grade 3–4 treatment-related adverse events occurred in 48 (18%) of 270 patients—most commonly grade 3 fatigue and diarrhoea, which each occurred in five patients. Three deaths were attributed to treatment (pneumonitis, acute respiratory failure, and cardiovascular failure). Interpretation Nivolumab monotherapy provided meaningful clinical benefit, irrespective of PD-L1 expression, and was associated with an acceptable safety profile in previously treated patients with metastatic or surgically unresectable urothelial carcinoma. Funding Bristol-Myers Squibb.
Summary Background Patients with melanoma that progresses on ipilimumab and, if BRAFV600 mutant-positive, a BRAF or MEK inhibitor or both, have few treatment options. We assessed the efficacy and safety of two pembrolizumab doses versus investigator-choice chemotherapy in patients with ipilimumab-refractory melanoma. Methods We carried out a randomised phase 2 trial of patients aged 18 years or older from 73 hospitals, clinics, and academic medical centres in 12 countries who had confirmed progressive disease within 24 weeks after two or more ipilimumab doses and, if BRAFV600 mutant-positive, previous treatment with a BRAF or MEK inhibitor or both. Patients had to have resolution of all ipilimumab-related adverse events to grade 0–1 and prednisone 10 mg/day or less for at least 2 weeks, an Eastern Cooperative Oncology Group (ECOG) performance status of 0 or 1, and at least one measurable lesion to be eligible. Using a centralised interactive voice response system, we randomly assigned (1:1:1) patients in a block size of six to receive intravenous pembrolizumab 2 mg/kg or 10 mg/kg every 3 weeks or investigator-choice chemotherapy (paclitaxel plus carboplatin, paclitaxel, carboplatin, dacarbazine, or oral temozolomide). Randomisation was stratified by ECOG performance status, lactate dehydrogenase concentration, and BRAFV600 mutation status. Individual treatment assignment between pembrolizumab and chemotherapy was open label, but investigators and patients were masked to assignment of the dose of pembrolizumab. We present the primary endpoint at the prespecified second interim analysis of progression-free survival in the intention-to-treat population. This study is registered with ClinicalTrials.gov , number NCT01704287 . The study is closed to enrolment but continues to follow up and treat patients. Findings Between Nov 30, 2012, and Nov 13, 2013, we enrolled 540 patients: 180 patients were randomly assigned to receive pembrolizumab 2 mg/kg, 181 to receive pembrolizumab 10 mg/kg, and 179 to receive chemotherapy. Based on 410 progression-free survival events, progression-free survival was improved in patients assigned to pembrolizumab 2 mg/kg (HR 0·57, 95% CI 0·45–0·73; p<0·0001) and those assigned to pembrolizumab 10 mg/kg (0·50, 0·39–0·64; p<0·0001) compared with those assigned to chemotherapy. 6-month progression-free survival was 34% (95% CI 27–41) in the pembrolizumab 2 mg/kg group, 38% (31–45) in the 10 mg/kg group, and 16% (10–22) in the chemotherapy group. Treatment-related grade 3–4 adverse events occurred in 20 (11%) patients in the pembrolizumab 2 mg/kg group, 25 (14%) in the pembrolizumab 10 mg/kg group, and 45 (26%) in the chemotherapy group. The most common treatment-related grade 3–4 adverse event in the pembrolizumab groups was fatigue (two [1%] of 178 patients in the 2 mg/kg group and one [<1%] of 179 patients in the 10 mg/kg group, compared with eight [5%] of 171 in the chemotherapy group). Other treatment-related grade 3–4 adverse events include generalised oedema and myalgia (each in two [1%] patients) in those given pembrolizumab 2 mg/kg; hypopituitarism, colitis, diarrhoea, decreased appetite, hyponatremia, and pneumonitis (each in two [1%]) in those given pembrolizumab 10 mg/kg; and anaemia (nine [5%]), fatigue (eight [5%]), neutropenia (six [4%]), and leucopenia (six [4%]) in those assigned to chemotherapy. Interpretation These findings establish pembrolizumab as a new standard of care for the treatment of ipilimumab-refractory melanoma. Funding Merck Sharp & Dohme.
Summary Background Patients with recurrent or metastatic squamous cell carcinoma of the head and neck have few treatment options. We aimed to assess the safety, tolerability, and antitumour activity of pembrolizumab, a humanised anti-programmed death receptor 1 (PD-1) antibody, in patients with PD-L1-positive recurrent or metastatic squamous cell carcinoma of the head and neck. Methods This study was an open-label, multicentre, phase 1b trial of patients with recurrent or metastatic squamous cell carcinoma of the head and neck. Patients were eligible for enrolment if they were aged 18 years or older, had a confirmed diagnosis of recurrent or metastatic squamous cell carcinoma of the head and neck, and had any level of PD-L1 expression (ie, at least 1% of tumour cells or stroma that were PD-L1-positive by immunohistochemistry). Patients received pembrolizumab 10 mg/kg intravenously every 2 weeks. Primary outcomes were safety in the per-protocol population and the proportion of patients with centrally reviewed overall response per Response Evaluation Criteria In Solid Tumors (RECIST, version 1.1). Overall response was analysed in the full analysis set, which was defined as all patients who had received at least one dose of pembrolizumab, had measurable disease at baseline, and one post-baseline scan or patients without a post-baseline scan who discontinued therapy because of disease progression or a drug-related adverse event. The study is registered with ClinicalTrials.gov , number NCT01848834 and is ongoing, but no longer enrolling patients. Findings Of the 104 patients screened between June 7, 2013, and Oct 3, 2013, 81 (78%) were PD-L1-positive. Of these, 60 patients with PD-L1-positive squamous cell carcinoma of the head and neck were enrolled and treated: 23 (38%) were HPV-positive and 37 (62%) were HPV-negative. Pembrolizumab was well tolerated, with 10 (17%) of 60 patients having grade 3–4 drug-related adverse events, the most common of which were increases in alanine aminotransferase and in aspartate aminotransferase, and hyponatraemia, each occurring in two of 60 patients; one patient developed a grade 3 drug-related rash. 27 (45%) of 60 patients experienced a serious adverse event. There were no drug-related deaths. The proportion of patients with an overall response by central imaging review was 18% (eight of 45 patients; 95% CI 8–32) in all patients and was 25% (four of 16 patients; 7–52) in HPV-positive patients and 14% (four of 29 patients; 4–32) in HPV-negative patients. Interpretation Pembrolizumab was well tolerated and demonstrated clinically meaningful antitumour activity in recurrent or metastatic squamous cell carcinoma of the head and neck, supporting further study of pembrolizumab as anticancer therapy for advanced head and neck cancers. Funding Merck & Co.
Summary Background Patients with squamous non-small-cell lung cancer that is refractory to multiple treatments have poor outcomes. We assessed the activity of nivolumab, a fully human IgG4 PD-1 immune checkpoint inhibitor antibody, for patients with advanced, refractory, squamous non-small-cell lung cancer. Methods We did this phase 2, single-arm trial at 27 sites (academic, hospital, and private cancer centres) in France, Germany, Italy, and USA. Patients who had received two or more previous treatments received intravenous nivolumab (3 mg/kg) every 2 weeks until progression or unacceptable toxic effects. The primary endpoint was the proportion of patients with a confirmed objective response as assessed by an independent radiology review committee. We included all treated patients in the analyses. This study is registered with ClinicalTrials.gov , number NCT01721759. Findings Between Nov 16, 2012, and July 22, 2013, we enrolled and treated 117 patients. 17 (14·5%, 95% CI 8·7–22·2) of 117 patients had an objective response as assessed by an independent radiology review committee. Median time to response was 3·3 months (IQR 2·2–4·8), and median duration of response was not reached (95% CI 8·31–not applicable); 13 (77%) of 17 of responses were ongoing at the time of analysis. 30 (26%) of 117 patients had stable disease (median duration 6·0 months, 95% CI 4·7–10·9). 20 (17%) of 117 patients reported grade 3–4 treatment-related adverse events, including: fatigue (five [4%] of 117 patients), pneumonitis (four [3%]), and diarrhoea (three [3%]). There were two treatment-associated deaths caused by pneumonia and ischaemic stroke that occurred in patients with multiple comorbidities in the setting of progressive disease. Interpretation Nivolumab has clinically meaningful activity and a manageable safety profile in previously treated patients with advanced, refractory, squamous non-small cell lung cancer. These data support the assessment of nivolumab in randomised, controlled, phase 3 studies of first-line and second-line treatment. Funding Bristol-Myers Squibb.
Summary Background Merkel cell carcinoma is a rare, aggressive skin cancer with poor prognosis in patients with advanced disease. Current standard care uses various cytotoxic chemotherapy regimens, but responses are seldom durable. Tumour oncogenesis is linked to Merkel cell polyomavirus integration and ultraviolet-radiation-induced mutations, providing rationale for treatment with immunotherapy antibodies that target the PD-L1/PD-1 pathway. We assessed treatment with avelumab, an anti-PD-L1 monoclonal antibody, in patients with stage IV Merkel cell carcinoma that had progressed after cytotoxic chemotherapy. Methods In this multicentre, international, prospective, single-group, open-label, phase 2 trial, patients with stage IV chemotherapy-refractory, histologically confirmed Merkel cell carcinoma (aged ≥18 years) were enrolled from 35 cancer treatment centres and academic hospitals in North America, Europe, Australia, and Asia. Key eligibility criteria were an ECOG performance status of 0 or 1, measurable disease by Response Evaluation Criteria in Solid Tumors (RECIST) version 1.1, adequate haematological, hepatic, and renal function, and immune-competent status (patients with HIV, immunosuppression, haematological malignancies, and previous organ transplantation were excluded). Patient selection was not based on PD-L1 expression or Merkel cell polyomavirus status. Collection of biopsy material or use of archival tissue for these assessments was mandatory. Avelumab was given intravenously at a dose of 10 mg/kg every 2 weeks. The primary endpoint was confirmed objective response (complete response or partial response) assessed according to RECIST version 1.1 by an independent review committee. Safety and clinical activity were assessed in all patients who received at least one dose of study drug (the modified intention-to-treat population). This trial is registered with ClinicalTrials.gov as NCT02155647. Findings Between July 25, 2014, and Sept 3, 2015, 88 patients were enrolled and received at least one dose of avelumab. Patients were followed up for a median of 10·4 months (IQR 8·6–13·1). The proportion of patients who achieved an objective response was 28 (31·8% [95·9% CI 21·9–43·1]) of 88 patients, including eight complete responses and 20 partial responses. Responses were ongoing in 23 (82%) of 28 patients at the time of analysis. Five grade 3 treatment-related adverse events occurred in four (5%) patients: lymphopenia in two patients, blood creatine phosphokinase increase in one patient, aminotransferase increase in one patient, and blood cholesterol increase in one patient; there were no treatment-related grade 4 adverse events or treatment-related deaths. Serious treatment-related adverse events were reported in five patients (6%): enterocolitis, infusion-related reaction, aminotransferases increased, chondrocalcinosis, synovitis, and interstitial nephritis (n=1 each). Interpretation Avelumab was associated with durable responses, most of which are still ongoing, and was well tolerated; hence, avelumab represents a new therapeutic option for advanced Merkel cell carcinoma. Funding Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany.
Summary Background Palbociclib (PD-0332991) is an oral, small-molecule inhibitor of cyclin-dependent kinases (CDKs) 4 and 6 with preclinical evidence of growth-inhibitory activity in oestrogen receptor-positive breast cancer cells and synergy with anti-oestrogens. We aimed to assess the safety and efficacy of palbociclib in combination with letrozole as first-line treatment of patients with advanced, oestrogen receptor-positive, HER2-negative breast cancer. Methods In this open-label, randomised phase 2 study, postmenopausal women with advanced oestrogen receptor-positive and HER2-negative breast cancer who had not received any systemic treatment for their advanced disease were eligible to participate. Patients were enrolled in two separate cohorts that accrued sequentially: in cohort 1, patients were enrolled on the basis of their oestrogen receptor-positive and HER2-negative biomarker status alone, whereas in cohort 2 they were also required to have cancers with amplification of cyclin D1 ( CCND1 ), loss of p16 (INK4A or CDKN2A), or both. In both cohorts, patients were randomly assigned 1:1 via an interactive web-based randomisation system, stratified by disease site and disease-free interval, to receive continuous oral letrozole 2·5 mg daily or continuous oral letrozole 2·5 mg daily plus oral palbociclib 125 mg, given once daily for 3 weeks followed by 1 week off over 28-day cycles. The primary endpoint was investigator-assessed progression-free survival in the intention-to-treat population. Accrual to cohort 2 was stopped after an unplanned interim analysis of cohort 1 and the statistical analysis plan for the primary endpoint was amended to a combined analysis of cohorts 1 and 2 (instead of cohort 2 alone). The study is ongoing but closed to accrual; these are the results of the final analysis of progression-free survival. The study is registered with the ClinicalTrials.gov , number NCT00721409. Findings Between Dec 22, 2009, and May 12, 2012, we randomly assigned 165 patients, 84 to palbociclib plus letrozole and 81 to letrozole alone. At the time of the final analysis for progression-free survival (median follow-up 29·6 months [95% CI 27·9–36·0] for the palbociclib plus letrozole group and 27·9 months [25·5–31·1] for the letrozole group), 41 progression-free survival events had occurred in the palbociclib plus letrozole group and 59 in the letrozole group. Median progression-free survival was 10·2 months (95% CI 5·7–12·6) for the letrozole group and 20·2 months (13·8–27·5) for the palbociclib plus letrozole group (HR 0·488, 95% CI 0·319–0·748; one-sided p=0·0004). In cohort 1 (n=66), median progression-free survival was 5·7 months (2·6–10·5) for the letrozole group and 26·1 months (11·2–not estimable) for the palbociclib plus letrozole group (HR 0·299, 0·156–0·572; one-sided p<0·0001); in cohort 2 (n=99), median progression-free survival was 11·1 months (7·1–16·4) for the letrozole group and 18·1 months (13·1–27·5) for the palbociclib plus letrozole group (HR 0·508, 0·303–0·853; one-sided p=0·0046). Grade 3–4 neutropenia was reported in 45 (54%) of 83 patients in the palbociclib plus letrozole group versus one (1%) of 77 patients in the letrozole group, leucopenia in 16 (19%) versus none, and fatigue in four (4%) versus one (1%). Serious adverse events that occurred in more than one patient in the palbociclib plus letrozole group were pulmonary embolism (three [4%] patients), back pain (two [2%]), and diarrhoea (two [2%]). No cases of febrile neutropenia or neutropenia-related infections were reported during the study. 11 (13%) patients in the palbociclib plus letrozole group and two (2%) in the letrozole group discontinued the study because of adverse events. Interpretation The addition of palbociclib to letrozole in this phase 2 study significantly improved progression-free survival in women with advanced oestrogen receptor-positive and HER2-negative breast cancer. A phase 3 trial is currently underway. Funding Pfizer.
Summary Background We aimed to assess the effect of afatinib on overall survival of patients with EGFR mutation-positive lung adenocarcinoma through an analysis of data from two open-label, randomised, phase 3 trials. Methods Previously untreated patients with EGFR mutation-positive stage IIIB or IV lung adenocarcinoma were enrolled in LUX-Lung 3 (n=345) and LUX-Lung 6 (n=364). These patients were randomly assigned in a 2:1 ratio to receive afatinib or chemotherapy (pemetrexed-cisplatin [LUX-Lung 3] or gemcitabine-cisplatin [LUX-Lung 6]), stratified by EGFR mutation (exon 19 deletion [del19], Leu858Arg, or other) and ethnic origin (LUX-Lung 3 only). We planned analyses of mature overall survival data in the intention-to-treat population after 209 (LUX-Lung 3) and 237 (LUX-Lung 6) deaths. These ongoing studies are registered with ClinicalTrials.gov , numbers NCT00949650 and NCT01121393. Findings Median follow-up in LUX-Lung 3 was 41 months (IQR 35–44); 213 (62%) of 345 patients had died. Median follow-up in LUX-Lung 6 was 33 months (IQR 31–37); 246 (68%) of 364 patients had died. In LUX-Lung 3, median overall survival was 28·2 months (95% CI 24·6–33·6) in the afatinib group and 28·2 months (20·7–33·2) in the pemetrexed-cisplatin group (HR 0·88, 95% CI 0·66–1·17, p=0·39). In LUX-Lung 6, median overall survival was 23·1 months (95% CI 20·4–27·3) in the afatinib group and 23·5 months (18·0–25·6) in the gemcitabine-cisplatin group (HR 0·93, 95% CI 0·72–1·22, p=0·61). However, in preplanned analyses, overall survival was significantly longer for patients with del19-positive tumours in the afatinib group than in the chemotherapy group in both trials: in LUX-Lung 3, median overall survival was 33·3 months (95% CI 26·8–41·5) in the afatinib group versus 21·1 months (16·3–30·7) in the chemotherapy group (HR 0·54, 95% CI 0·36–0·79, p=0·0015); in LUX-Lung 6, it was 31·4 months (95% CI 24·2–35·3) versus 18·4 months (14·6–25·6), respectively (HR 0·64, 95% CI 0·44–0·94, p=0·023). By contrast, there were no significant differences by treatment group for patients with EGFR Leu858Arg-positive tumours in either trial: in LUX-Lung 3, median overall survival was 27·6 months (19·8–41·7) in the afatinib group versus 40·3 months (24·3–not estimable) in the chemotherapy group (HR 1·30, 95% CI 0·80–2·11, p=0·29); in LUX-Lung 6, it was 19·6 months (95% CI 17·0–22·1) versus 24·3 months (19·0–27·0), respectively (HR 1·22, 95% CI 0·81–1·83, p=0·34). In both trials, the most common afatinib-related grade 3–4 adverse events were rash or acne (37 [16%] of 229 patients in LUX-Lung 3 and 35 [15%] of 239 patients in LUX-Lung 6), diarrhoea (33 [14%] and 13 [5%]), paronychia (26 [11%] in LUX-Lung 3 only), and stomatitis or mucositis (13 [5%] in LUX-Lung 6 only). In LUX-Lung 3, neutropenia (20 [18%] of 111 patients), fatigue (14 [13%]) and leucopenia (nine [8%]) were the most common chemotherapy-related grade 3–4 adverse events, while in LUX-Lung 6, the most common chemotherapy-related grade 3–4 adverse events were neutropenia (30 [27%] of 113 patients), vomiting (22 [19%]), and leucopenia (17 [15%]). Interpretation Although afatinib did not improve overall survival in the whole population of either trial, overall survival was improved with the drug for patients with del19 EGFR mutations. The absence of an effect in patients with Leu858Arg EGFR mutations suggests that EGFR del19-positive disease might be distinct from Leu858Arg-positive disease and that these subgroups should be analysed separately in future trials. Funding Boehringer Ingelheim.
Summary Background VEGFR-2 has a role in gastric cancer pathogenesis and progression. We assessed whether ramucirumab, a monoclonal antibody VEGFR-2 antagonist, in combination with paclitaxel would increase overall survival in patients previously treated for advanced gastric cancer compared with placebo plus paclitaxel. Methods This randomised, placebo-controlled, double-blind, phase 3 trial was done at 170 centres in 27 countries in North and South America, Europe, Asia, and Australia. Patients aged 18 years or older with advanced gastric or gastro-oesophageal junction adenocarcinoma and disease progression on or within 4 months after first-line chemotherapy (platinum plus fluoropyrimidine with or without an anthracycline) were randomly assigned with a centralised interactive voice or web-response system in a 1:1 ratio to receive ramucirumab 8 mg/kg or placebo intravenously on days 1 and 15, plus paclitaxel 80 mg/m2 intravenously on days 1, 8, and 15 of a 28-day cycle. A permuted block randomisation, stratified by geographic region, time to progression on first-line therapy, and disease measurability, was used. The primary endpoint was overall survival. Efficacy analysis was by intention to treat, and safety analysis included all patients who received at least one treatment with study drug. This trial is registered with ClinicalTrials.gov , number NCT01170663 , and has been completed; patients who are still receiving treatment are in the extension phase. Findings Between Dec 23, 2010, and Sept 23, 2012, 665 patients were randomly assigned to treatment—330 to ramucirumab plus paclitaxel and 335 to placebo plus paclitaxel. Overall survival was significantly longer in the ramucirumab plus paclitaxel group than in the placebo plus paclitaxel group (median 9·6 months [95% CI 8·5–10·8] vs 7·4 months [95% CI 6·3–8·4], hazard ratio 0·807 [95% CI 0·678–0·962]; p=0·017). Grade 3 or higher adverse events that occurred in more than 5% of patients in the ramucirumab plus paclitaxel group versus placebo plus paclitaxel included neutropenia (133 [41%] of 327 vs 62 [19%] of 329), leucopenia (57 [17%] vs 22 [7%]), hypertension (46 [14%] vs eight [2%]), fatigue (39 [12%] vs 18 [5%]), anaemia (30 [9%] vs 34 [10%]), and abdominal pain (20 [6%] vs 11 [3%]). The incidence of grade 3 or higher febrile neutropenia was low in both groups (ten [3%] vs eight [2%]). Interpretation The combination of ramucirumab with paclitaxel significantly increases overall survival compared with placebo plus paclitaxel, and could be regarded as a new standard second-line treatment for patients with advanced gastric cancer. Funding Eli Lilly and Company.
Summary Background We aimed to compare overall survival after standard-dose versus high-dose conformal radiotherapy with concurrent chemotherapy and the addition of cetuximab to concurrent chemoradiation for patients with inoperable stage III non-small-cell lung cancer. Methods In this open-label randomised, two-by-two factorial phase 3 study in 185 institutions in the USA and Canada, we enrolled patients (aged ≥18 years) with unresectable stage III non-small-cell lung cancer, a Zubrod performance status of 0–1, adequate pulmonary function, and no evidence of supraclavicular or contralateral hilar adenopathy. We randomly assigned (1:1:1:1) patients to receive either 60 Gy (standard dose), 74 Gy (high dose), 60 Gy plus cetuximab, or 74 Gy plus cetuximab. All patients also received concurrent chemotherapy with 45 mg/m2 paclitaxel and carboplatin once a week (AUC 2); 2 weeks after chemoradiation, two cycles of consolidation chemotherapy separated by 3 weeks were given consisting of paclitaxel (200 mg/m2 ) and carboplatin (AUC 6). Randomisation was done with permuted block randomisation methods, stratified by radiotherapy technique, Zubrod performance status, use of PET during staging, and histology; treatment group assignments were not masked. Radiation dose was prescribed to the planning target volume and was given in 2 Gy daily fractions with either intensity-modulated radiation therapy or three-dimensional conformal radiation therapy. The use of four-dimensional CT and image-guided radiation therapy were encouraged but not necessary. For patients assigned to receive cetuximab, 400 mg/m2 cetuximab was given on day 1 followed by weekly doses of 250 mg/m2 , and was continued through consolidation therapy. The primary endpoint was overall survival. All analyses were done by modified intention-to-treat. The study is registered with ClinicalTrials.gov , number NCT00533949. Findings Between Nov 27, 2007, and Nov 22, 2011, 166 patients were randomly assigned to receive standard-dose chemoradiotherapy, 121 to high-dose chemoradiotherapy, 147 to standard-dose chemoradiotherapy and cetuximab, and 110 to high-dose chemoradiotherapy and cetuximab. Median follow-up for the radiotherapy comparison was 22·9 months (IQR 27·5–33·3). Median overall survival was 28·7 months (95% CI 24·1–36·9) for patients who received standard-dose radiotherapy and 20·3 months (17·7–25·0) for those who received high-dose radiotherapy (hazard ratio [HR] 1·38, 95% CI 1·09–1·76; p=0·004). Median follow-up for the cetuximab comparison was 21·3 months (IQR 23·5–29·8). Median overall survival in patients who received cetuximab was 25·0 months (95% CI 20·2–30·5) compared with 24·0 months (19·8–28·6) in those who did not (HR 1·07, 95% CI 0·84–1·35; p=0·29). Both the radiation-dose and cetuximab results crossed protocol-specified futility boundaries. We recorded no statistical differences in grade 3 or worse toxic effects between radiotherapy groups. By contrast, the use of cetuximab was associated with a higher rate of grade 3 or worse toxic effects (205 [86%] of 237 vs 160 [70%] of 228 patients; p<0·0001). There were more treatment-related deaths in the high-dose chemoradiotherapy and cetuximab groups (radiotherapy comparison: eight vs three patients; cetuximab comparison: ten vs five patients). There were no differences in severe pulmonary events between treatment groups. Severe oesophagitis was more common in patients who received high-dose chemoradiotherapy than in those who received standard-dose treatment (43 [21%] of 207 patients vs 16 [7%] of 217 patients; p<0·0001). Interpretation 74 Gy radiation given in 2 Gy fractions with concurrent chemotherapy was not better than 60 Gy plus concurrent chemotherapy for patients with stage III non-small-cell lung cancer, and might be potentially harmful. Addition of cetuximab to concurrent chemoradiation and consolidation treatment provided no benefit in overall survival for these patients. Funding National Cancer Institute and Bristol-Myers Squibb.
Summary Background In the PALOMA-3 study, the combination of the CDK4 and CDK6 inhibitor palbociclib and fulvestrant was associated with significant improvements in progression-free survival compared with fulvestrant plus placebo in patients with metastatic breast cancer. Identification of patients most suitable for the addition of palbociclib to endocrine therapy after tumour recurrence is crucial for treatment optimisation in metastatic breast cancer. We aimed to confirm our earlier findings with this extended follow-up and show our results for subgroup and biomarker analyses. Methods In this multicentre, double-blind, randomised phase 3 study, women aged 18 years or older with hormone-receptor-positive, HER2-negative metastatic breast cancer that had progressed on previous endocrine therapy were stratified by sensitivity to previous hormonal therapy, menopausal status, and presence of visceral metastasis at 144 centres in 17 countries. Eligible patients—ie, any menopausal status, Eastern Cooperative Oncology Group performance status 0–1, measurable disease or bone disease only, and disease relapse or progression after previous endocrine therapy for advanced disease during treatment or within 12 months of completion of adjuvant therapy—were randomly assigned (2:1) via a centralised interactive web-based and voice-based randomisation system to receive oral palbociclib (125 mg daily for 3 weeks followed by a week off over 28-day cycles) plus 500 mg fulvestrant (intramuscular injection on days 1 and 15 of cycle 1; then on day 1 of subsequent 28-day cycles) or placebo plus fulvestrant. The primary endpoint was investigator-assessed progression-free survival. Analysis was by intention to treat. We also assessed endocrine therapy resistance by clinical parameters, quantitative hormone-receptor expression, and tumour PIK3CA mutational status in circulating DNA at baseline. This study is registered with ClinicalTrials.gov , NCT01942135. Findings Between Oct 7, 2013, and Aug 26, 2014, 521 patients were randomly assigned, 347 to fulvestrant plus palbociclib and 174 to fulvestrant plus placebo. Study enrolment is closed and overall survival follow-up is in progress. By March 16, 2015, 259 progression-free-survival events had occurred (145 in the fulvestrant plus palbociclib group and 114 in the fulvestrant plus placebo group); median follow-up was 8·9 months (IQR 8·7–9·2). Median progression-free survival was 9·5 months (95% CI 9·2–11·0) in the fulvestrant plus palbociclib group and 4·6 months (3·5–5·6) in the fulvestrant plus placebo group (hazard ratio 0·46, 95% CI 0·36–0·59, p<0·0001). Grade 3 or 4 adverse events occurred in 251 (73%) of 345 patients in the fulvestrant plus palbociclib group and 38 (22%) of 172 patients in the fulvestrant plus placebo group. The most common grade 3 or 4 adverse events were neutropenia (223 [65%] in the fulvestrant plus palbociclib group and one [1%] in the fulvestrant plus placebo group), anaemia (ten [3%] and three [2%]), and leucopenia (95 [28%] and two [1%]). Serious adverse events (all causalities) occurred in 44 patients (13%) of 345 in the fulvestrant plus palbociclib group and 30 (17%) of 172 patients in the fulvestrant plus placebo group. PIK3CA mutation was detected in the plasma DNA of 129 (33%) of 395 patients for whom these data were available. Neither PIK3CA status nor hormone-receptor expression level significantly affected treatment response. Interpretation Fulvestrant plus palbociclib was associated with significant and consistent improvement in progression-free survival compared with fulvestrant plus placebo, irrespective of the degree of endocrine resistance, hormone-receptor expression level, and PIK3CA mutational status. The combination could be considered as a therapeutic option for patients with recurrent hormone-receptor-positive, HER2-negative metastatic breast cancer that has progressed on previous endocrine therapy. Funding Pfizer.
Summary Background Treatments for small-cell lung cancer (SCLC) after failure of platinum-based chemotherapy are limited. We assessed safety and activity of nivolumab and nivolumab plus ipilimumab in patients with SCLC who progressed after one or more previous regimens. Methods The SCLC cohort of this phase 1/2 multicentre, multi-arm, open-label trial was conducted at 23 sites (academic centres and hospitals) in six countries. Eligible patients were 18 years of age or older, had limited-stage or extensive-stage SCLC, and had disease progression after at least one previous platinum-containing regimen. Patients received nivolumab (3 mg/kg bodyweight intravenously) every 2 weeks (given until disease progression or unacceptable toxicity), or nivolumab plus ipilimumab (1 mg/kg plus 1 mg/kg, 1 mg/kg plus 3 mg/kg, or 3 mg/kg plus 1 mg/kg, intravenously) every 3 weeks for four cycles, followed by nivolumab 3 mg/kg every 2 weeks. Patients were either assigned to nivolumab monotherapy or assessed in a dose-escalating safety phase for the nivolumab/ipilimumab combination beginning at nivolumab 1 mg/kg plus ipilimumab 1 mg/kg. Depending on tolerability, patients were then assigned to nivolumab 1 mg/kg plus ipilimumab 3 mg/kg or nivolumab 3 mg/kg plus ipilimumab 1 mg/kg. The primary endpoint was objective response by investigator assessment. All analyses included patients who were enrolled at least 90 days before database lock. This trial is ongoing; here, we report an interim analysis of the SCLC cohort. This study is registered with ClinicalTrials.gov , number NCT01928394. Findings Between Nov 18, 2013, and July 28, 2015, 216 patients were enrolled and treated (98 with nivolumab 3 mg/kg, three with nivolumab 1 mg/kg plus ipilimumab 1 mg/kg, 61 with nivolumab 1 mg/kg plus ipilimumab 3 mg/kg, and 54 with nivolumab 3 mg/kg plus ipilimumab 1 mg/kg). At database lock on Nov 6, 2015, median follow-up for patients continuing in the study (including those who had died or discontinued treatment) was 198·5 days (IQR 163·0–464·0) for nivolumab 3 mg/kg, 302 days (IQR not calculable) for nivolumab 1 mg/kg plus ipilimumab 1 mg/kg, 361·0 days (273·0–470·0) for nivolumab 1 mg/kg plus ipilimumab 3 mg/kg, and 260·5 days (248·0–288·0) for nivolumab 3 mg/kg plus ipilimumab 1 mg/kg. An objective response was achieved in ten (10%) of 98 patients receiving nivolumab 3 mg/kg, one (33%) of three patients receiving nivolumab 1 mg/kg plus ipilimumab 1 mg/kg, 14 (23%) of 61 receiving nivolumab 1 mg/kg plus ipilimumab 3 mg/kg, and ten (19%) of 54 receiving nivolumab 3 mg/kg plus ipilimumab 1 mg/kg. Grade 3 or 4 treatment-related adverse events occurred in 13 (13%) patients in the nivolumab 3 mg/kg cohort, 18 (30%) in the nivolumab 1 mg/kg plus ipilimumab 3 mg/kg cohort, and ten (19%) in the nivolumab 3 mg/kg plus ipilimumab 1 mg/kg cohort; the most commonly reported grade 3 or 4 treatment-related adverse events were increased lipase (none vs 5 [8%] vs none) and diarrhoea (none vs 3 [5%] vs 1 [2%]). No patients in the nivolumab 1 mg/kg plus ipilimumab 1 mg/kg cohort had a grade 3 or 4 treatment-related adverse event. Six (6%) patients in the nivolumab 3 mg/kg group, seven (11%) in the nivolumab 1 mg/kg plus ipilimumab 3 mg/kg group, and four (7%) in the nivolumab 3 mg/kg plus ipilimumab 1 mg/kg group discontinued treatment due to treatment-related adverse events. Two patients who received nivolumab 1 mg/kg plus ipilimumab 3 mg/kg died from treatment-related adverse events (myasthenia gravis and worsening of renal failure), and one patient who received nivolumab 3 mg/kg plus ipilimumab 1 mg/kg died from treatment-related pneumonitis. Interpretation Nivolumab monotherapy and nivolumab plus ipilimumab showed antitumour activity with durable responses and manageable safety profiles in previously treated patients with SCLC. These data suggest a potential new treatment approach for a population of patients with limited treatment options and support the evaluation of nivolumab and nivolumab plus ipilimumab in phase 3 randomised controlled trials in SCLC. Funding Bristol-Myers Squibb.
Summary Background The standard of care for operable, stage I, non-small-cell lung cancer (NSCLC) is lobectomy with mediastinal lymph node dissection or sampling. Stereotactic ablative radiotherapy (SABR) for inoperable stage I NSCLC has shown promising results, but two independent, randomised, phase 3 trials of SABR in patients with operable stage I NSCLC (STARS and ROSEL) closed early due to slow accrual. We aimed to assess overall survival for SABR versus surgery by pooling data from these trials. Methods Eligible patients in the STARS and ROSEL studies were those with clinical T1–2a (<4 cm), N0M0, operable NSCLC. Patients were randomly assigned in a 1:1 ratio to SABR or lobectomy with mediastinal lymph node dissection or sampling. We did a pooled analysis in the intention-to-treat population using overall survival as the primary endpoint. Both trials are registered with ClinicalTrials.gov (STARS: NCT00840749 ; ROSEL: NCT00687986 ). Findings 58 patients were enrolled and randomly assigned (31 to SABR and 27 to surgery). Median follow-up was 40·2 months (IQR 23·0–47·3) for the SABR group and 35·4 months (18·9–40·7) for the surgery group. Six patients in the surgery group died compared with one patient in the SABR group. Estimated overall survival at 3 years was 95% (95% CI 85–100) in the SABR group compared with 79% (64–97) in the surgery group (hazard ratio [HR] 0·14 [95% CI 0·017–1·190], log-rank p=0·037). Recurrence-free survival at 3 years was 86% (95% CI 74–100) in the SABR group and 80% (65–97) in the surgery group (HR 0·69 [95% CI 0·21–2·29], log-rank p=0·54). In the surgery group, one patient had regional nodal recurrence and two had distant metastases; in the SABR group, one patient had local recurrence, four had regional nodal recurrence, and one had distant metastases. Three (10%) patients in the SABR group had grade 3 treatment-related adverse events (three [10%] chest wall pain, two [6%] dyspnoea or cough, and one [3%] fatigue and rib fracture). No patients given SABR had grade 4 events or treatment-related death. In the surgery group, one (4%) patient died of surgical complications and 12 (44%) patients had grade 3–4 treatment-related adverse events. Grade 3 events occurring in more than one patient in the surgery group were dyspnoea (four [15%] patients), chest pain (four [15%] patients), and lung infections (two [7%]). Interpretation SABR could be an option for treating operable stage I NSCLC. Because of the small patient sample size and short follow-up, additional randomised studies comparing SABR with surgery in operable patients are warranted. Funding Accuray Inc, Netherlands Organisation for Health Research and Development, NCI Cancer Center Support, NCI Clinical and Translational Science Award.
Summary Background Initial results of the ChemoRadiotherapy for Oesophageal cancer followed by Surgery Study (CROSS) comparing neoadjuvant chemoradiotherapy plus surgery versus surgery alone in patients with squamous cell carcinoma and adenocarcinoma of the oesophagus or oesophagogastric junction showed a significant increase in 5-year overall survival in favour of the neoadjuvant chemoradiotherapy plus surgery group after a median of 45 months' follow-up. In this Article, we report the long-term results after a minimum follow-up of 5 years. Methods Patients with clinically resectable, locally advanced cancer of the oesophagus or oesophagogastric junction (clinical stage T1N1M0 or T2–3N0–1M0, according to the TNM cancer staging system, sixth edition) were randomly assigned in a 1:1 ratio with permuted blocks of four or six to receive either weekly administration of five cycles of neoadjuvant chemoradiotherapy (intravenous carboplatin [AUC 2 mg/mL per min] and intravenous paclitaxel [50 mg/m2 of body-surface area] for 23 days) with concurrent radiotherapy (41·4 Gy, given in 23 fractions of 1·8 Gy on 5 days per week) followed by surgery, or surgery alone. The primary endpoint was overall survival, analysed by intention-to-treat. No adverse event data were collected beyond those noted in the initial report of the trial. This trial is registered with the Netherlands Trial Register, number NTR487, and has been completed. Findings Between March 30, 2004, and Dec 2, 2008, 368 patients from eight participating centres (five academic centres and three large non-academic teaching hospitals) in the Netherlands were enrolled into this study and randomly assigned to the two treatment groups: 180 to surgery plus neoadjuvant chemoradiotherapy and 188 to surgery alone. Two patients in the neoadjuvant chemoradiotherapy group withdrew consent, so a total of 366 patients were analysed (178 in the neoadjuvant chemoradiotherapy plus surgery group and 188 in the surgery alone group). Of 171 patients who received any neoadjuvant chemoradiotherapy in this group, 162 (95%) were able to complete the entire neoadjuvant chemoradiotherapy regimen. After a median follow-up for surviving patients of 84·1 months (range 61·1–116·8, IQR 70·7–96·6), median overall survival was 48·6 months (95% CI 32·1–65·1) in the neoadjuvant chemoradiotherapy plus surgery group and 24·0 months (14·2–33·7) in the surgery alone group (HR 0·68 [95% CI 0·53–0·88]; log-rank p=0·003). Median overall survival for patients with squamous cell carcinomas was 81·6 months (95% CI 47·2–116·0) in the neoadjuvant chemoradiotherapy plus surgery group and 21·1 months (15·4–26·7) in the surgery alone group (HR 0·48 [95% CI 0·28–0·83]; log-rank p=0·008); for patients with adenocarcinomas, it was 43·2 months (24·9–61·4) in the neoadjuvant chemoradiotherapy plus surgery group and 27·1 months (13·0–41·2) in the surgery alone group (HR 0·73 [95% CI 0·55–0·98]; log-rank p=0·038). Interpretation Long-term follow-up confirms the overall survival benefits for neoadjuvant chemoradiotherapy when added to surgery in patients with resectable oesophageal or oesophagogastric junctional cancer. This improvement is clinically relevant for both squamous cell carcinoma and adenocarcinoma subtypes. Therefore, neoadjuvant chemoradiotherapy according to the CROSS trial followed by surgical resection should be regarded as a standard of care for patients with resectable locally advanced oesophageal or oesophagogastric junctional cancer. Funding Dutch Cancer Foundation (KWF Kankerbestrijding).
Summary Background Cetuximab and bevacizumab have both been shown to improve outcomes in patients with metastatic colorectal cancer when added to chemotherapy regimens; however, their comparative effectiveness when partnered with first-line fluorouracil, folinic acid, and irinotecan (FOLFIRI) is unknown. We aimed to compare these agents in patients with KRAS (exon 2) codon 12/13 wild-type metastatic colorectal cancer. Methods In this open-label, randomised, phase 3 trial, we recruited patients aged 18–75 years with stage IV, histologically confirmed colorectal cancer, an Eastern Cooperative Oncology Group (ECOG) performance status of 0–2, an estimated life expectancy of greater than 3 months, and adequate organ function, from centres in Germany and Austria. Patients were centrally randomised by fax (1:1) to FOLFIRI plus cetuximab or FOLFIRI plus bevacizumab (using permuted blocks of randomly varying size), stratified according to ECOG performance status, number of metastatic sites, white blood cell count, and alkaline phosphatase concentration. The primary endpoint was objective response analysed by intention to treat. The study has completed recruitment, but follow-up of participants is ongoing. The trial is registered with ClinicalTrials.gov , number NCT00433927. Findings Between Jan 23, 2007, and Sept 19, 2012, 592 patients with KRAS exon 2 wild-type tumours were randomly assigned and received treatment (297 in the FOLFIRI plus cetuximab group and 295 in the FOLFIRI plus bevacizumab group). 184 (62·0%, 95% CI 56·2–67·5) patients in the cetuximab group achieved an objective response compared with 171 (58·0%, 52·1–63·7) in the bevacizumab group (odds ratio 1·18, 95% CI 0·85–1·64; p=0·18). Median progression-free survival was 10·0 months (95% CI 8·8–10·8) in the cetuximab group and 10·3 months (9·8–11·3) in the bevacizumab group (hazard ratio [HR] 1·06, 95% CI 0·88–1·26; p=0·55); however, median overall survival was 28·7 months (95% CI 24·0–36·6) in the cetuximab group compared with 25·0 months (22·7–27·6) in the bevacizumab group (HR 0·77, 95% CI 0·62–0·96; p=0·017). Safety profiles were consistent with the known side-effects of the study drugs. The most common grade 3 or worse adverse events in both treatment groups were haematotoxicity (73 [25%] of 297 patients in the cetuximab group vs 62 [21%] of 295 patients in the bevacizumab group), skin reactions (77 [26%] vs six [2%]), and diarrhoea (34 [11%] vs 40 [14%]). Interpretation Although the proportion of patients who achieved an objective response did not significantly differ between the FOLFIRI plus cetuximab and FOLFIRI plus bevacizumab groups, the association with longer overall survival suggests that FOLFIRI plus cetuximab could be the preferred first-line regimen for patients with KRAS exon 2 wild-type metastatic colorectal cancer. Funding Merck KGaA.
Summary Background Afatinib—an oral irreversible ErbB family blocker—improves progression-free survival compared with pemetrexed and cisplatin for first-line treatment of patients with EGFR mutation-positive advanced non-small-cell lung cancer (NSCLC). We compared afatinib with gemcitabine and cisplatin—a chemotherapy regimen widely used in Asia—for first-line treatment of Asian patients with EGFR mutation-positive advanced NSCLC. Methods This open-label, randomised phase 3 trial was done at 36 centres in China, Thailand, and South Korea. After central testing for EGFR mutations, treatment-naive patients (stage IIIB or IV cancer [American Joint Committee on Cancer version 6], performance status 0–1) were randomly assigned (2:1) to receive either oral afatinib (40 mg per day) or intravenous gemcitabine 1000 mg/m2 on day 1 and day 8 plus cisplatin 75 mg/m2 on day 1 of a 3-week schedule for up to six cycles. Randomisation was done centrally with a random number-generating system and an interactive internet and voice-response system. Randomisation was stratified by EGFR mutation (Leu858Arg, exon 19 deletions, or other; block size three). Clinicians and patients were not masked to treatment assignment, but the independent central imaging review group were. Treatment continued until disease progression, intolerable toxic effects, or withdrawal of consent. The primary endpoint was progression-free survival assessed by independent central review (intention-to-treat population). This study is registered with ClinicalTrials.gov , NCT01121393. Findings 910 patients were screened and 364 were randomly assigned (242 to afatinib, 122 to gemcitabine and cisplatin). Median progression-free survival was significantly longer in the afatinib group (11·0 months, 95% CI 9·7–13·7) than in the gemcitabine and cisplatin group (5·6 months, 5·1–6·7; hazard ratio 0·28, 95% CI 0·20–0·39; p<0·0001). The most common treatment-related grade 3 or 4 adverse events in the afatinib group were rash or acne (35 [14·6%] of 239 patients), diarrhoea (13 [5·4%]), and stomatitis or mucositis (13 [5·4%]), compared with neutropenia (30 [26·5%] of 113 patients), vomiting (22 [19·5%]), and leucopenia (17 [15·0%]) in the gemcitabine and cisplatin group. Treatment-related serious adverse events occurred in 15 (6·3%) patients in the afatinib group and nine (8·0%) patients in the gemcitabine and cisplatin group. Interpretation First-line afatinib significantly improves progression-free survival with a tolerable and manageable safety profile in Asian patients with EGFR mutation-positive advanced lung NSCLC. Afatinib should be considered as a first-line treatment option for this patient population. Funding Boehringer Ingelheim.
Summary Background Nivolumab has shown improved survival in the treatment of advanced non-small-cell lung cancer (NSCLC) previously treated with chemotherapy. We assessed the safety and activity of combination nivolumab plus ipilimumab as first-line therapy for NSCLC. Methods The open-label, phase 1, multicohort study (CheckMate 012) cohorts reported here were enrolled at eight US academic centres. Eligible patients were aged 18 years or older with histologically or cytologically confirmed recurrent stage IIIb or stage IV, chemotherapy-naive NSCLC. Patients were randomly assigned (1:1:1) by an interactive voice response system to receive nivolumab 1 mg/kg every 2 weeks plus ipilimumab 1 mg/kg every 6 weeks, nivolumab 3 mg/kg every 2 weeks plus ipilimumab 1 mg/kg every 12 weeks, or nivolumab 3 mg/kg every 2 weeks plus ipilimumab 1 mg/kg every 6 weeks until disease progression, unacceptable toxicities, or withdrawal of consent. Data from the latter two cohorts, which were considered potentially suitable for further clinical development, are presented in this report; data from the other cohort (as well as several earlier cohorts) are described in the appendix . The primary outcome was safety and tolerability, assessed in all treated patients. This ongoing study is registered with ClinicalTrials.gov , number NCT01454102. Findings Between May 15, 2014, and March 25, 2015, 78 patients were randomly assigned to receive nivolumab every 2 weeks plus ipilimumab every 12 weeks (n=38) or nivolumab every 2 weeks plus ipilimumab every 6 weeks (n=40). One patient in the ipilimumab every-6-weeks cohort was excluded before treatment; therefore 77 patients actually received treatment (38 in the ipilimumab every-12-weeks cohort; 39 in the ipilimumab every-6-weeks cohort). At data cut-off on Jan 7, 2016, 29 (76%) patients in the ipilimumab every-12-weeks cohort and 32 (82%) in the ipilimumab every-6-weeks cohort had discontinued treatment. Grade 3–4 treatment-related adverse events occurred in 14 (37%) patients in the ipilimumab every-12-weeks cohort and 13 (33%) patients in the every-6-weeks cohort; the most commonly reported grade 3 or 4 treatment-related adverse events were increased lipase (three [8%] and no patients), pneumonitis (two [5%] and one [3%] patients), adrenal insufficiency (one [3%] and two [5%] patients), and colitis (one [3%] and two [5%] patients). Treatment-related serious adverse events were reported in 12 (32%) patients in the ipilimumab every-12-weeks cohort and 11 (28%) patients in the every-6-weeks cohort. Treatment-related adverse events (any grade) prompted treatment discontinuation in four (11%) patients in the every-12-weeks cohort and five (13%) patients in the every-6-weeks cohort. No treatment-related deaths occurred. Confirmed objective responses were achieved in 18 (47% [95% CI 31–64]) patients in the ipilimumab every-12-weeks cohort and 15 (38% [95% CI 23–55]) patients in the ipilimumab every-6-weeks cohort; median duration of response was not reached in either cohort, with median follow-up times of 12·8 months (IQR 9·3–15·5) in the ipilimumab every-12-weeks cohort and 11·8 months (6·7–15·9) in the ipilimumab every-6-weeks cohort. In patients with PD-L1 of 1% or greater, confirmed objective responses were achieved in 12 (57%) of 21 patients in the ipilimumab every-12-weeks cohort and 13 (57%) of 23 patients in the ipilimumab every-6-weeks cohort. Interpretation In NSCLC, first-line nivolumab plus ipilimumab had a tolerable safety profile and showed encouraging clinical activity characterised by a high response rate and durable response. To our knowledge, the results of this study are the first suggestion of improved benefit compared with anti-PD-1 monotherapy in patients with NSCLC, supporting further assessment of this combination in a phase 3 study. Funding Bristol-Myers Squibb.