From the Journals

Niraparib-pembrolizumab combo finds niche in breast, ovarian cancers

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Biomarker panel needed to identify those most likely to benefit

“Targeting DNA repair and immune checkpoint pathways has emerged as an important concept in cancer therapy, well supported by preclinical and clinical data in ovarian cancer and TNBC. However, there are some limitations to the two studies presented herein,” maintain editorialists Kunle Odunsi, MD, PhD, and Tanja Pejovic, MD, PhD.

Patients varied considerably with respect to number of prior chemotherapy regimens, they elaborate. Also, there may have been some misclassification of patients into DNA damage repair (DDR) groups, and small sample sizes precluded rigorous subgroup analyses.

“Because DDR and, by extension, tumor mutational burden and PD-L1 status do not fully explain the effects of the combination of PARP inhibitors and anti–PD-1 therapy, additional predictive biomarkers based on tumor intrinsic or adaptive mechanisms of resistance are needed for both cancer types,” the editorialists contend. In particular, knowledge of the tumor microenvironment could be used to tailor therapy for individual patients.

“The TOPACIO clinical studies are clearly steps in the right direction for patients with [platinum-resistant ovarian carcinoma] and TNBC,” they conclude. “However, larger confirmatory randomized clinical trials are needed that use panels of integrated biomarkers that would allow identification of patients most likely to respond.”

Dr. Odunsi is the deputy director and chair of the department of gynecologic oncology, executive director of the Center for Immunotherapy, and co-leader of the Tumor Immunology and Immunotherapy Research Program–Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center, Buffalo, N.Y. Dr. Pejovic is associate professor, division of gynecologic oncology, department of obstetrics & gynecology, Knight Cancer Institute, Oregon Health & Science University, Portland, Ore. These remarks are adapted from a related editorial (JAMA Oncol. 2019 Jun 13. doi: 10.1001/jamaoncol.2019.1009 ).



Ovarian cancer cohort

Investigators led by Panagiotis A. Konstantinopoulos, MD, PhD, of the division of gynecologic oncology, department of medical oncology at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, Harvard Medical School, Boston, studied 62 patients with ovarian carcinoma treated with niraparib-pembrolizumab in the trial.

In the efficacy-evaluable population of 60 patients, the ORR was 18% and the DCR was 65%. The ORRs were similar regardless of patients’ platinum-based chemotherapy sensitivity, previous bevacizumab treatment, or tumor BRCA or homologous recombination deficiency (HRD) biomarker status.

With a median duration of follow-up of 12.4 months, the median duration of response was not reached, ranging from 4.2 to roughly 14.5 months. Median progression-free survival was 3.4 months.

The leading treatment-related adverse events of grade 3 or higher in this cohort were anemia (21%) and thrombocytopenia (9%). In addition, 19% of patients had immune-related adverse events, with 9% having grade 3 or higher immune-related adverse events.

“Niraparib in combination with pembrolizumab is tolerable, with promising antitumor activity for patients with ovarian carcinoma who have limited treatment options regardless of platinum status, biomarker status, or prior treatment with bevacizumab,” Dr. Konstantinopoulos and colleagues conclude. “Responses in patients without tumor BRCA mutations or non-HRD cancers were higher than expected with either agent as monotherapy.”

Dr. Vinayak disclosed receiving clinical trial funding from TESARO; serving on an advisory board for TESARO; and serving on an advisory board for OncoSec Medical (uncompensated). Dr. Konstantinopoulos disclosed serving on advisory boards for AstraZeneca, Pfizer, and Merck. The trial was supported by TESARO: a GSK company and Merck, and in part by Stand Up to Cancer (a program of the Entertainment Industry Foundation); the Ovarian Cancer Research Fund Alliance; and National Ovarian Cancer Coalition Dream Team Translational Research.

SOURCE: Vinayak A et al. JAMA Oncol. 2019 Jun 13. doi: 10.1001/jamaoncol.2019.1029. Konstantinopoulos PA et al. JAMA Oncol. 2019 Jun 13. doi: 10.1001/jamaoncol.2019.1048.


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