Talimogene Laherparepvec and Pembrolizumab in Recurrent or Metastatic Squamous Cell Carcinoma of the Head and Neck (MASTERKEY-232): A Multicenter, Phase 1b Study.
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Purpose The prognosis for patients with recurrent or metastatic head and neck squamous cell carcinoma (R/M HNSCC) is poor, and only a minority of patients benefit from checkpoint immunotherapy. Talimogene laherparepvec (T-VEC), an oncolytic immunotherapy approved for advanced melanoma, in combination with pembrolizumab may yield enhanced antitumor activity over either agent alone.Patients and methods This was a phase Ib/III, multicenter trial testing intratumoral T-VEC combined with intravenous pembrolizumab in R/M HNSCC refractory to platinum-based chemotherapy. For phase Ib, primary endpoint was incidence of dose-limiting toxicity (DLT). Key secondary endpoints included objective response rate and progression-free survival per irRECIST, overall survival, and safety.Results Thirty-six patients were enrolled into the phase Ib study. The data cut-off date was August 28, 2018. Median follow-up was 5.8 months (range, 0.3-24.2). One DLT of T-VEC-related fatal arterial hemorrhage was reported. Twenty (55.6%) and 21 (58.3%) patients experienced adverse events (AE) related to T-VEC and pembrolizumab, respectively. Besides the DLT, there were no treatment-related fatal AEs. A confirmed partial response was observed in 5 (13.9%) patients. Ten (27.8%) patients were unevaluable for response due to early death. Median PFS and OS were 3.0 months [95% confidence interval (Cl), 2.0-5.8] and 5.8 months (95% Cl, 2.9-11.4), respectively.Conclusions The combination of T-VEC and pembrolizumab demonstrated a tolerable safety profile in R/M HNSCC. The efficacy with the combination was similar to that with pembrolizumab monotherapy in historical HNSCC studies. Phase III part of this study was not further pursued (ClinicalTrials.gov Identifier: NCT02626000).
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Clinical cancer research : an official journal of the American Association for Cancer Research, 2020, 26 (19), pp. 5153 - 5161