SAN FRANCISCO – For patients with advanced non–small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) who previously had disease control with the checkpoint inhibitor nivolumab (Opdivo), second-line nivolumab at a higher dose every 4 weeks appeared to be comparable in efficacy and safety with standard-dose nivolumab every 2 weeks.
The key word in that last sentence is “appeared,” because thetrial that was designed to show noninferiority of the every-4-weeks regimen lacked the statistical muscle to get the job done, reported , from the University of California, Los Angeles.
“In many respects, extending the dosing frequency of nivolumab fulfills some of the promise of immunotherapy: The idea that we would be able to decrease the medicalization of the lives of our patients. For some people this would lead to them being able to resume a more normal work schedule, and for other people it would allow them to do things for fun, like travel on trips that would take longer than a couple of weeks,” he said at the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) – Society for Immunotherapy of Cancer (SITC): Clinical Immuno-Oncology Symposium.
However, because of difficulties in recruitment, the investigators had to stop enrollment early and settle for a sample size of 363 patients, instead of the 600 planned that would be necessary to meet a 10% noninferiority margin and one-sided 95% confidence interval. Thus, the trial analysis can only be reported as descriptive rather than definitive, Dr. Garon acknowledged.
Nivolumab is approved at a fixed dose of 240 mg every 2 weeks for the treatment of multiple tumor types in several different nations, and in the United States and Canada it is approved at a dose of 480 mg every 4 weeks for the treatment of NSCLC.
The CheckMate 384 study enrolled patients with advanced or metastatic NSCLC who had received 3 mg/kg or 240 mg of nivolumab every 2 weeks for up to 1 year. The patients had to have had relatively good performance status (Eastern Cooperative Oncology Group 0-2) and two consecutive assessments of either complete response, partial response, or stable disease.
The patients were stratified by tumor histology (squamous or nonsquamous) and response to prior nivolumab therapy at randomization, and were then randomized to receive nivolumab 240 mg every 2 weeks or 480 mg every 4 weeks until disease progression or unacceptable toxicity for up to 2 years.
Dr. Garon presented an interim analysis including data on 329 of the 363 patients; the final analysis will occur after all patients have had a minimum of 12 months of follow-up. Here, he reported on 6-month progression-free survival, a coprimary endpoint with 12-month PFS.
After a median follow-up of 9.5 months in the Q4-week group and 10.2 months in the Q2-week group, the 6-month PFS rates were identical between the two dosing strategies, at 72%. The median PFS was 12.1 months and 12.2 months, respectively.
“Although the study is no longer formally powered to show noninferiority, there’s certainly nothing in these curves that makes me concerned that this 480 mg every-4-week dose would be inferior,” Dr. Garon said.
There was a slightly higher rate of treatment-related adverse events of any grade in the lower, more frequent dose group: 48% in the Q4-week versus 61% in the Q2-week arm. The respective rates of grade 3 or 4 adverse events were 8% and 12%. Rates of serious adverse events and events leading to treatment discontinuation were similar between the group; there were no treatment-related deaths.
The investigators hypothesize that the higher rate of overall events in the lower-dose group may be attributable to more frequent visits and more opportunities to report adverse events, Dr. Garon said.
“Overall, the clinical data are in agreement with the pharmacokinetic modeling and give further evidence for this 480 mg every 4 week nivolumab dosing option,” he concluded.
The study was supported by Bristol-Myers Squibb. Dr. Garon reported receiving research support from Bristol-Myers Squibb and others and consulting fees from Dracen Pharmaceuticals.
SOURCE: Garon EB et al. .