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      Safety and efficacy profile of pembrolizumab in solid cancer: pooled reanalysis based on randomized controlled trials

      , , ,

      Drug Design, Development and Therapy

      Dove Medical Press

      pembrolizumab, safety, efficacy, meta-analysis

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          The aim of the present review is to systematically evaluate the efficacy and safety of pembrolizumab by analyzing survival outcomes and at the same time, to present evidence for future clinical applications of anti-programmed cell death protein 1 (anti-PD-1) antibodies by analyzing the efficacy and safety of pembrolizumab.


          A comprehensive literature search of PubMed, Medline, and Embase was performed for all relevant clinical trials. In this study, adverse events of any grades and grades ≥3 were summarized and calculated for event rates. For controlled trials, odd ratios (ORs) were calculated to determine the role of pembrolizumab in adverse events. The Kaplan–Meier survival curves were extracted for hazard ratio (HR) calculation and survival outcomes were measured by progression-free survival (PFS).


          A total of 3,953 patients were included in safety analyses. The results indicated that the overall incidence of any treatment emergent adverse events was 74.3% (95% confidence interval [CI]: 0.671–0.805). The efficacy analysis involving 915 patients with advanced melanoma suggested that 10 mg/kg of pembrolizumab every 3 weeks could improve patients’ PFS (HR =0.73, 95% CI: 0.64–0.83).


          Pembrolizumab is a promising therapeutic option that could bring better survival outcomes but, at the same time, leads to higher frequency of some adverse events.

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          Most cited references 17

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          Safety and activity of PD1 blockade by pidilizumab in combination with rituximab in patients with relapsed follicular lymphoma: a single group, open-label, phase 2 trial.

          Endogenous or iatrogenic antitumour immune responses can improve the course of follicular lymphoma, but might be diminished by immune checkpoints in the tumour microenvironment. These checkpoints might include effects of programmed cell death 1 (PD1), a co-inhibitory receptor that impairs T-cell function and is highly expressed on intratumoral T cells. We did this phase 2 trial to investigate the activity of pidilizumab, a humanised anti-PD1 monoclonal antibody, with rituximab in patients with relapsed follicular lymphoma. We did this open-label, non-randomised trial at the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center (Houston, TX, USA). Adult (≥18 years) patients with rituximab-sensitive follicular lymphoma relapsing after one to four previous therapies were eligible. Pidilizumab was administered at 3 mg/kg intravenously every 4 weeks for four infusions, plus eight optional infusions every 4 weeks for patients with stable disease or better. Starting 17 days after the first infusion of pidilizumab, rituximab was given at 375 mg/m(2) intravenously weekly for 4 weeks. The primary endpoint was the proportion of patients who achieved an objective response (complete response plus partial response according to Revised Response Criteria for Malignant Lymphoma). Analysis was by intention to treat. This trial is registered with ClinicalTrials.gov, number NCT00904722. We enrolled 32 patients between Jan 13, 2010, and Jan 20, 2012. Median follow-up was 15.4 months (IQR 10.1-21.0). The combination of pidilizumab and rituximab was well tolerated, with no autoimmune or treatment-related adverse events of grade 3 or 4. The most common adverse events of grade 1 were anaemia (14 patients) and fatigue (13 patients), and the most common adverse event of grade 2 was respiratory infection (five patients). Of the 29 patients evaluable for activity, 19 (66%) achieved an objective response: complete responses were noted in 15 (52%) patients and partial responses in four (14%). The combination of pidilizumab plus rituximab is well tolerated and active in patients with relapsed follicular lymphoma. Our results suggest that immune checkpoint blockade is worthy of further study in follicular lymphoma. National Institutes of Health, Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, Cure Tech, and University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center. Copyright © 2014 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
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            Phase I safety and pharmacokinetic study of CT-011, a humanized antibody interacting with PD-1, in patients with advanced hematologic malignancies.

            CT-011 is a humanized IgG1 monoclonal antibody that modulates the immune response through interaction with PD-1, a protein belonging to the B7 receptor family present on lymphocytes. The objectives of this phase I study were to assess the dose-limiting toxicities, to determine the maximum tolerated dose, and to study the pharmacokinetics of CT-011 administered once to patients with advanced hematologic malignancies. Seventeen patients were treated with escalating doses of CT-011 ranging from 0.2 to 6 mg/kg. For pharmacokinetic analysis, blood samples were withdrawn from the patients before and immediately after treatment and at 24 hours, 48 hours, and on days 7, 14, and 21. CT-011 blood levels were assessed with a specific ELISA and derived concentrations were used to calculate pharmacokinetic parameters. Activation of the immune system was assessed by measuring peripheral blood CD4+, CD8+, and CD69+ lymphocytes. The study showed the antibody to be safe and well tolerated in this patient population. No single maximum tolerated dose was defined in this study. Clinical benefit was observed in 33% of the patients with one complete remission. Pharmacokinetic analyses show that serum Cmax and the AUC of CT-011 increased proportionally with dose. The median t1/2 of CT-011 ranged from 217 to 410 hours. Sustained elevation in the percentage of peripheral blood CD4+ lymphocytes was observed up to 21 days following CT-011 treatment. A single administration of 0.2 to 6.0 mg/kg of CT-011 is safe and well tolerated in patients with advanced hematologic malignancies.
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              Loss of PTEN Is Associated with Resistance to Anti-PD-1 Checkpoint Blockade Therapy in Metastatic Uterine Leiomyosarcoma.

              Response to immune checkpoint blockade in mesenchymal tumors is poorly characterized, but immunogenomic dissection of these cancers could inform immunotherapy mediators. We identified a treatment-naive patient who has metastatic uterine leiomyosarcoma and has experienced complete tumor remission for >2 years on anti-PD-1 (pembrolizumab) monotherapy. We analyzed the primary tumor, the sole treatment-resistant metastasis, and germline tissue to explore mechanisms of immunotherapy sensitivity and resistance. Both tumors stained diffusely for PD-L2 and showed sparse PD-L1 staining. PD-1(+) cell infiltration significantly decreased in the resistant tumor (p = 0.039). Genomically, the treatment-resistant tumor uniquely harbored biallelic PTEN loss and had reduced expression of two neoantigens that demonstrated strong immunoreactivity with patient T cells in vitro, suggesting long-lasting immunological memory. In this near-complete response to PD-1 blockade in a mesenchymal tumor, we identified PTEN mutations and reduced expression of genes encoding neoantigens as potential mediators of resistance to immune checkpoint therapy.

                Author and article information

                Drug Des Devel Ther
                Drug Des Devel Ther
                Drug Design, Development and Therapy
                Drug Design, Development and Therapy
                Dove Medical Press
                27 September 2017
                : 11
                : 2851-2860
                State Key Laboratory of Biotherapy and Cancer Center, West China Hospital, Sichuan University, Chengdu, People’s Republic of China
                Author notes
                Correspondence: Xuelei Ma, State Key Laboratory of Biotherapy and Cancer Center, West China Hospital, Sichuan University, 37 Guoxue Alley, Chengdu 610041, People’s Republic of China, Tel +86 28 8547 5576, Fax +86 28 8550 2796, Email drmaxuelei@ 123456gmail.com

                These authors contributed equally to this work

                © 2017 Wang et al. This work is published and licensed by Dove Medical Press Limited

                The full terms of this license are available at https://www.dovepress.com/terms.php and incorporate the Creative Commons Attribution – Non Commercial (unported, v3.0) License ( http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/3.0/). By accessing the work you hereby accept the Terms. Non-commercial uses of the work are permitted without any further permission from Dove Medical Press Limited, provided the work is properly attributed.

                Original Research

                Pharmacology & Pharmaceutical medicine

                meta-analysis, efficacy, safety, pembrolizumab


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