Purpose: We evaluated the safety and efficacy of pembrolizumab (pembro) ± radiation therapy (RT) in a phase 2 study among patients with progressive, metastatic adenoid cystic carcinoma (ACC).
Methods and materials: Eligible patients had metastatic ACC with progression within the last year and ≥1 measurable lesion. Patients were randomized to pembro alone or with RT to 30 Gy in 5 fractions (pembroRT). The primary endpoint was objective response rate outside the RT field. Secondary endpoints included progression-free survival (PFS), overall survival (OS), and local RT responses.
Results: We randomized 20 patients (10 per arm) from 2017 to 2018. We did not observe objective response outside of the radiation treatment field; stable disease (SD) was the best response in 12 (60%) patients and was not different per arm (7 pembro, 5 pembroRT, P = .65). A tumor growth rate decrease (TGR) of >25% was noted among 7 of 12 patients and >75% in 4 patients. There were local responses in the irradiated field among all evaluable pembroRT patients. Median PFS and OS were 4.5/not reached for pembroRT and 6.6 / 27.2 months for pembro patients. One patient developed grade 3 liver enzyme elevation after 27 cycles of therapy. Correlative analyses confirm low levels of programmed death-ligand 1 expression (PD-L1), and CD8 infiltrating T-cells. We identified associations between local response and both MYB/NFIB translocation and PD-L1 expression and between changes in systemic immune populations and RT.
Conclusions: Pembrolizumab and pembroRT were well tolerated. We observed no objective responses, but 60% of patients with PD before the study achieved SD, the majority with decreased TGR and half (n = 10) with clinical benefit (SD >6 months). We observed favorable local responses within the RT field. Additional strategies are needed to further delay progression and effect response.
Trial registration: ClinicalTrials.gov NCT03087019.
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