Purpose: ErbB3 and its ligand neuregulin-1 (NRG1) are widely expressed in head and neck squamous cell carcinoma (HNSCC) and associated with tumor progression. A "window-of-opportunity" study (NCT02473731) was conducted to evaluate the pharmacodynamic effects of CDX-3379, an anti-ErbB3 mAb, in patients with HNSCC.
Patients and methods: Twelve patients with newly diagnosed, operable HNSCC received two infusions of CDX-3379 (1,000 mg) at a 2-week interval prior to tumor resection. The primary study objective was to achieve ≥50% reduction in tumor ErbB3 signaling (phosphorylation of ErbB3; pErbB3) in ≥30% of patients. Other potential tumor biomarkers, pharmacokinetics, safety, and tumor measurements were also assessed.
Results: pErbB3 was detectable in all tumors prior to treatment and decreased for 10 of 12 (83%) patients following CDX-3379 dosing, with ≥50% reduction in 7 of 12 (58%; P = 0.04; 95% confidence interval, 27.7%-84.8%). Target trough CDX-3379 serum levels were achieved in all patients. CDX-3379 treatment-related toxicity was grade 1-2 and included diarrhea, fatigue, and acneiform dermatitis. Five of 12 (42%) patients had shrinkage in tumor burden, including a marked clinical response in a patient with human papillomavirus-negative oral cavity HNSCC. All patients with tumor shrinkage had tumors that expressed both NRG1 and ErbB3 and demonstrated reduced pErbB3 with CDX-3379 treatment.
Conclusions: This study demonstrates that CDX-3379 can inhibit tumor ErbB3 phosphorylation in HNSCC. CDX-3379 was well tolerated and associated with measurable tumor regression. A phase II study (NCT03254927) has been initiated to evaluate CDX-3379 in combination with cetuximab for patients with advanced HNSCC.
©2019 American Association for Cancer Research.