Immunotherapy has shown modest activity in metastatic breast cancer (MBC). In this phase I dose escalation study, we assessed safety of tremelimumab, a humanized anti-CTLA4 monoclonal antibody, at starting dose 3 mg/kg, on the third day of palliative radiotherapy (2000cGy in 5 daily fractions) in patients with MBC. Primary objective was to determine the maximum tolerated dose (MTD) of tremelimumab combined with RT. Secondary objective was to assess response. Among 6 patients enrolled between July 2010 and October 2011, 5 had hormone receptor-positive MBC, 1 had triple negative MBC. Median age was 45 years. Common toxicities included lymphopenia (83%), fatigue (50%) and rash (33%). One dose-limiting toxicity occurred at 6 mg/kg, however the trial closed before MTD could be determined. One patient discontinued treatment due to a pathological fracture. Best response was stable disease (SD), 1 patient had SD for >6 months. Median follow up was 27.0 months. Median OS was 50.8 months, with 1 patient surviving >8 years. Peripheral blood mononuclear cell (PBMC) profiles showed increasing proliferating (Ki67+) Treg cells 1 week post treatment in 5 patients. Overall, tremelimumab at 3 mg/kg combined with RT appears to be a tolerable treatment strategy. Further studies are needed to optimize this combination approach.
Keywords: anti-CTLA-4; breast cancer; immunotherapy; radiation.