AR-V7-expressing metastatic prostate cancer is an aggressive phenotype with poor progression-free survival (PFS) and overall survival (OS). Preliminary evidence suggests that AR-V7-positive tumors may be enriched for DNA-repair defects, perhaps rendering them more sensitive to immune-checkpoint blockade. We enrolled 15 metastatic prostate cancer patients with AR-V7-expressing circulating tumor cells into a prospective phase-2 trial. Patients received nivolumab 3 mg/kg plus ipilimumab 1 mg/kg every 3 weeks for four doses, then maintenance nivolumab 3 mg/kg every 2 weeks. Targeted next-generation sequencing was performed to determine DNA-repair deficiency (DRD) status. Outcomes included PSA response rates, objective response rates (ORR), PSA progression-free survival (PSA-PFS), clinical/radiographic PFS and OS. Median age of participants was 65, median PSA was 115 ng/mL, 67% had visceral metastases, and 60% had ≥4 prior systemic therapies. Six of 15 men (40%) had DRD mutations (three in BRCA2, two in ATM, one in ERCC4; none had microsatellite instability). Overall, the PSA response rate was 2/15 (13%), ORR was 2/8 (25%) in those with measurable disease, median PSA-PFS was 3.0 (95%CI 2.1-NR) months, PFS was 3.7 (95%CI 2.8-7.5) months, and OS was 8.2 (95%CI 5.5-10.4) months. Outcomes appeared generally better in DRD+ vs. DRD- tumors with respect to PSA responses (33% vs. 0%; P=0.14, nonsignificant), ORR (40% vs. 0%; P=0.46, nonsignificant), PSA-PFS (HR 0.19; P<0.01, significant), PFS (HR 0.31; P=0.01, significant), and OS (HR 0.41; P=0.11, nonsignificant). There were no new safety concerns. Ipilimumab plus nivolumab demonstrated encouraging efficacy in AR-V7-positive prostate cancers with DRD mutations, but not in the overall study population.
Keywords: AR-V7; DNA repair; ipilimumab; nivolumab; prostate cancer.