Importance: Clinical outcomes for glioblastoma remain poor. Treatment with immune checkpoint blockade has shown benefits in many cancer types. To our knowledge, data from a randomized phase 3 clinical trial evaluating a programmed death-1 (PD-1) inhibitor therapy for glioblastoma have not been reported.
Objective: To determine whether single-agent PD-1 blockade with nivolumab improves survival in patients with recurrent glioblastoma compared with bevacizumab.
Design, setting, and participants: In this open-label, randomized, phase 3 clinical trial, 439 patients with glioblastoma at first recurrence following standard radiation and temozolomide therapy were enrolled, and 369 were randomized. Patients were enrolled between September 2014 and May 2015. The median follow-up was 9.5 months at data cutoff of January 20, 2017. The study included 57 multicenter, multinational clinical sites.
Interventions: Patients were randomized 1:1 to nivolumab 3 mg/kg or bevacizumab 10 mg/kg every 2 weeks until confirmed disease progression, unacceptable toxic effects, or death.
Main outcomes and measures: The primary end point was overall survival (OS).
Results: A total of 369 patients were randomized to nivolumab (n = 184) or bevacizumab (n = 185). The MGMT promoter was methylated in 23.4% (43/184; nivolumab) and 22.7% (42/185; bevacizumab), unmethylated in 32.1% (59/184; nivolumab) and 36.2% (67/185; bevacizumab), and not reported in remaining patients. At median follow-up of 9.5 months, median OS (mOS) was comparable between groups: nivolumab, 9.8 months (95% CI, 8.2-11.8); bevacizumab, 10.0 months (95% CI, 9.0-11.8); HR, 1.04 (95% CI, 0.83-1.30); P = .76. The 12-month OS was 42% in both groups. The objective response rate was higher with bevacizumab (23.1%; 95% CI, 16.7%-30.5%) vs nivolumab (7.8%; 95% CI, 4.1%-13.3%). Grade 3/4 treatment-related adverse events (TRAEs) were similar between groups (nivolumab, 33/182 [18.1%]; bevacizumab, 25/165 [15.2%]), with no unexpected neurological TRAEs or deaths due to TRAEs.
Conclusions and relevance: Although the primary end point was not met in this randomized clinical trial, mOS was comparable between nivolumab and bevacizumab in the overall patient population with recurrent glioblastoma. The safety profile of nivolumab in patients with glioblastoma was consistent with that in other tumor types.
Trial registration: ClinicalTrials.gov Identifier: NCT02017717.