Bintrafusp Alfa, a Bifunctional Fusion Protein Targeting TGF-β and PD-L1, in Patients with Esophageal Adenocarcinoma: Results from a Phase 1 Cohort

Target Oncol. 2021 Jul;16(4):435-446. doi: 10.1007/s11523-021-00809-2. Epub 2021 May 19.


Background: Esophageal adenocarcinoma patients have limited treatment options. TGF-β can be upregulated in esophageal adenocarcinoma, and blocking this pathway may enhance clinical response to PD-(L)1 inhibitors. Bintrafusp alfa is a first-in-class bifunctional fusion protein composed of the extracellular domain of the TGF-βRII receptor (a TGF-β "trap") fused to a human IgG1 mAb blocking PD-L1.

Objective: The objective of this study was to investigate the efficacy and safety of bintrafusp alfa in patients with advanced, post-platinum esophageal adenocarcinoma, unselected for PD-L1 expression.

Patients and methods: In this phase 1 study, patients with post-platinum, PD-L1-unselected esophageal adenocarcinoma received bintrafusp alfa 1200 mg every 2 weeks until disease progression, unacceptable toxicity, or withdrawal. The primary endpoint was confirmed best overall response per RECIST 1.1 by independent review committee (IRC).

Results: By the database cutoff of 24 August 2018, 30 patients (80.0% had two or more prior anticancer regimens) received bintrafusp alfa for a median of 6.1 weeks. The confirmed objective response rate (ORR) per IRC was 20.0% (95% CI 7.7-38.6); responses lasted 1.3-8.3 months. Most responses (83.3%) occurred in tumors with an immune-excluded phenotype. Investigator-assessed confirmed ORR was 13.3% (95% CI 3.8-30.7). Nineteen patients (63.3%) had treatment-related adverse events: seven patients (23.3%) had grade 3 events; no grade 4 events or treatment-related deaths occurred.

Conclusions: Bintrafusp alfa showed signs of clinical efficacy with a manageable safety profile in patients with heavily pretreated, advanced esophageal adenocarcinoma.

Clinical trials registration: NCT02517398.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial, Phase I
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adenocarcinoma / drug therapy*
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Antineoplastic Agents, Immunological
  • B7-H1 Antigen / antagonists & inhibitors*
  • Cohort Studies
  • Esophageal Neoplasms / drug therapy*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Transforming Growth Factor beta / antagonists & inhibitors*


  • Antineoplastic Agents, Immunological
  • B7-H1 Antigen
  • Transforming Growth Factor beta

Supplementary concepts

  • Adenocarcinoma Of Esophagus

Associated data