From the Journals

Avelumab safety compares with other checkpoint inhibitors



The immune checkpoint inhibitor avelumab (Bavencio), targeted against programmed cell death protein 1 and its ligand (PD1/PD-L1), appears to be well tolerated with a manageable safety profile, pooled data from two clinical trials suggest.

Of the 1,738 patients enrolled in the phase 1 JAVELIN solid tumor trial and the phase 2 JAVELIN Merkel 200 trial, 1,164 (67%) had a treatment-related adverse event (TRAE), and 177 (10.2%) had grade 3 or greater TRAEs. Grade 3 or greater immune-related adverse events (irAEs) occurred in just 2.2% of patients, reported Karen Kelly, MD, from the University of California, Davis, and her colleagues.

“Although conclusions drawn from cross-study comparisons should be made with caution, and to the best of our knowledge the number of pan-tumor clinical studies of [immune checkpoint inhibitor] monotherapy is limited, this analysis of a large population of patients across a broad scope of tumor types suggests that avelumab was associated with an incidence of irAEs that is consistent with that of other ICIs,” they wrote in Cancer.

Adverse events common with other immune checkpoint inhibitors include low-grade fatigue, pruritus, and rash, as well as serious irAEs, including high-grade pneumonitis and autoimmune-like side effects, the authors noted.


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