From the Journals

FDA Expanded Access benefits heavily pretreated patients, especially children



Single-patient use (SPU) of investigational therapies via the Food and Drug Administration’s Expanded Access program is an option worth considering for heavily pretreated cancer patients, according to a retrospective analysis of SPUs at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center.

Although approximately 2% of cancer cases at Kettering are pediatric, 34.1% of SPUs were for children, reported lead author Noah Z. Feit of Cornell University, New York, and his colleagues.

Therefore, “SPUs may provide an important means of pediatric drug access,” the investigators wrote in a JAMA Oncology letter.

The analysis involved 179 patients with 43 cancer types; these were more often solid tumors than hematologic malignancies (57.9% vs. 42.1%). The most common solid tumor type was neuroblastoma (15.3%), followed by lung (7.9%), primary brain (7.9%), and breast (5.9%). Sixty-six investigational products were given; the top three types were kinase inhibitors (28.8%), naked antibodies (12.5%), and allogeneic cell therapy (12.0%). Therapies were in various stages of development, including phase 3 (39.4%), phase 2 (36.1%), and phase 1 (18.8%). SPU approval was most often based on previous clinical experience (61.5%), although genomic data (38.0%) and preclinical evidence (30.8%) were also cited. The median number of prior treatments was four, suggesting a heavily pretreated patient population.

Analysis showed that the overall response rate to SPU agents was 20.1%, and patients with hematologic cancers responded more often than did those with solid tumors (30.4% vs. 12.2%). Median progression-free survival and overall survival were 3.9 months and 11.4 months, respectively. About one-third of patients (29.7%) had at least one serious treatment-related adverse event, with adults more often affected than children (35.3% vs. 19.1%). No treatment-related deaths occurred.

“In summary, our data provide an initial evidence basis to evaluate the FDA Expanded Access mechanism. We find its use is broad, involving a wide variety of patients and products, and clinical benefit was observed,” the investigators concluded. “Routine prospective collection of key safety and efficacy metrics should be considered moving forward.”

The study was funded by National Institutes of Health, the St. Baldrick’s Foundation, and the Nonna’s Garden Foundation Initiative in Precision Oncology. The investigators reported financial relationships with Mylan, Atara Biotherapeutics, Chugai Pharma, Boehringer Ingelheim, and others.

SOURCE: Feit et al. JAMA Onc. 2019 Feb 28. doi: 10.1001/jamaoncol.2018.7002.

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