PURPOSE: Tumors with low frequencies of checkpoint positive tumor-infiltrating lymphocytes (cpTIL) have a low likelihood of response to PD-1 blockade. We conducted a prospective multicenter phase II trial of intratumoral plasmid IL-12 (tavokinogene telseplasmid; "tavo") electroporation combined with pembrolizumab in patients with advanced melanoma with low frequencies of checkpoint positive cytotoxic lymphocytes (cpCTL).
PATIENTS AND METHODS: Tavo was administered intratumorally days 1, 5, and 8 every 6 weeks while pembrolizumab (200 mg, i.v.) was administered every 3 weeks. The primary endpoint was objective response rate (ORR) by RECIST, secondary endpoints included duration of response, overall survival and progression-free survival. Toxicity was evaluated by the CTCAE v4. Extensive correlative analysis was done.
RESULTS: The combination of tavo and pembrolizumab was well tolerated with adverse events similar to those previously reported with pembrolizumab alone. Patients had a 41% ORR (
CONCLUSIONS: The combination of tavo and pembrolizumab was associated with a higher than expected response rate in this poorly immunogenic population. No new or unexpected toxicities were observed. Correlative analysis showed T cell infiltration with enhanced immunity paralleling the clinical activity in low cpCTL tumors.
Available at: http://works.bepress.com/carlo-bifulco/32/