Tumor growth in the context of EGFR inhibitor resistance may remain EGFR-dependent and is mediated by mechanisms including compensatory ligand upregulation and de novo gene alterations. Sym004 is a two-antibody mixture targeting nonoverlapping EGFR epitopes. In preclinical models, Sym004 causes significant EGFR internalization and degradation, which translates into superior growth inhibition in the presence of ligands. In this phase I trial, we observed grade 3 skin toxicity and hypomagnesemia as mechanism-based dose-limiting events during dose escalation. In dose-expansion cohorts of 9 and 12 mg/kg of Sym004 weekly, patients with metastatic colorectal cancer and acquired EGFR inhibitor resistance were enrolled; 17 of 39 patients (44%) had tumor shrinkage, with 5 patients (13%) achieving partial response. Pharmacodynamic studies confirmed marked Sym004-induced EGFR downmodulation. MET gene amplification emerged in 1 patient during Sym004 treatment, and a partial response was seen in a patient with EGFR(S492R) mutation that is predictive of cetuximab resistance.
Significance: Potent EGFR downmodulation with Sym004 in patients with metastatic colorectal cancer and acquired resistance to cetuximab/panitumumab translates into significant antitumor activity and validates the preclinical hypothesis that a proportion of tumors remains dependent on EGFR signaling. Further clinical development and expanded correlative analyses of response patterns with secondary RAS/EGFR mutations are warranted.
Trial registration: ClinicalTrials.gov NCT01117428.
©2015 American Association for Cancer Research.