Category Archives: Checkpoint Inhibitors

The levels of immune cells within ovarian cancer tumors correlate with survival

Researches with the Ovarian Tumor Tissue Analyses Consortium analyzed the CD8+ (cytotoxic T-cell) content of tumors from 5,500 patients and compared them with clinical outcome. The analysis was large enough to allow for comparison by histologic subtype – endometrioid, clear cell, mucinous, and low-grade serous ovarian cancer, as well as high-grade serous ovarian cancer. Included in the sample were 3,200 high grade serous ovarian cancers. Continue reading

Pancreatic cancer – early detection, immune response, and infection-based resistance

Approximately 1.6 percent of men and women will be diagnosed with pancreatic cancer at some point during their lifetime. In 2014, an estimated 64,668 patients were living with the disease. The five-year survival for pancreatic cancer is 8.2% and it is projected to be the second leading cause of death due to cancer (behind lung cancer) in the US by the year 2030. For good reason, then, November is Pancreatic Awareness Month. Several recent research items are of particular interest to us. Continue reading

Using a blood test to select patients most likely to respond to checkpoint therapy

Checkpoint therapy with PD-(L)1 and CTLA4-directed monoclonal antibodies has shown to be extremely effective for many patients with a variety of tumors. PD-1 testing, alone, however, are lacking in selecting patients for therapy – up to 17% of patients who do not meet criteria for PD-1 positivity respond to treatment, and many patients with PD-1 tumors do not respond well to checkpoint therapy. Continue reading

Early discontinuation of checkpoint inhibition due to immune-related side effects does not have a significant impact on treatment efficacy

A course of treatment with checkpoint inhibitors Yervoy (ipilimumab) and Opdivo (nivolumab) for patients with unresectable or metastatic melanoma is every 3 weeks for a total of four doses. Almost forty percent of patients receiving this combined regimen discontinue treatment because of  immune-related adverse events. Continue reading

Priming cancer for immunotherapy

Augmenting the responses to checkpoint inhibitors, which remove the “breaks” from the immune response, is a very popular area of research. The general concept is to turn immunologically cold tumors hot. For example, triple negative breast cancer (TNBC) is considered an immunologically cold tumor – anti-PD(L)1 therapy has shown responses of just 5-10%. Continue reading

Sitravatinib plus nivolumab in NSCLC

Sitravatinib (MGCD516) is an oral multi-tyrosine kinase inhibitor being developed by Mirati Therapeutics. Last week, the company announced that three of eleven patients with non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) with genetic alterations in MET, AXL, RET, TRK, DDR2, KDR, PDGFRA, KIT or CBL who were resistant to checkpoint [anti PD-(L)1 therapy] had confirmed partial responses; because of this, dosing in the 34-patient expansion cohort will proceed. Continue reading

Opdivo and Yervoy, the new front-line standard for poor/intermediate-risk renal cell carcinoma

The results of CheckMate 214 demonstrated that combination checkpoint immunotherapy with nivolumab (Opdivo; anti-PD-1 monoclonal antibody) and ipilimumab (Yervoy; anti-CTLA-4 monoclonal antibody), is superior to sunitinib (Sutent; multikinase inhibitor) in the treatment of patients with newly diagnosed renal cell carcinoma (RCC). Interestingly, prior to sunitinib, another immunotherapeutic approach – interferon-alpha (IFN-α) – was the front-line treatment of choice for renal cell carcinoma, which, like melanoma, is very immune-responsive. Continue reading

New Link’s Indoximod + Keytruda looks promising in Phase 2 advanced melanoma

Indoximod + Keytruda looks promising in Phase 2 advanced melanoma

IDO (indoleamine-2,3-dioxygenase) is an intracellular enzyme found in antigen presenting cells that mediates immune suppression in the tumor microenvironment. Continue reading

Sellas merges with Galena to advance WT1 peptide cancer vaccine

Sellas reversed merged into Galena, a peptide vaccine company whose lead product, NeuVax, for breast cancer failed. Sellas’ lead product is galinpepimut-S for AML (acute myelogenous leukemia) and mesothelioma, as well as other cancers. Continue reading

Neo-antigen vaccines extend progression-free survival in melanoma

Two companies – Biontech, RNA vaccine and Neon Therapeutics, peptide vaccine – reported very positive results of neo-antigen vaccines in patients with refractory metastatic melanoma. Continue reading