Avelumab alone or in combination with chemotherapy versus chemotherapy alone in platinum-resistant or platinum-refractory ovarian cancer (JAVELIN Ovarian 200): an open-label, three-arm, randomised, phase 3 study

Lancet Oncol. 2021 Jul;22(7):1034-1046. doi: 10.1016/S1470-2045(21)00216-3. Epub 2021 Jun 15.


Background: Most patients with ovarian cancer will relapse after receiving frontline platinum-based chemotherapy and eventually develop platinum-resistant or platinum-refractory disease. We report results of avelumab alone or avelumab plus pegylated liposomal doxorubicin (PLD) compared with PLD alone in patients with platinum-resistant or platinum-refractory ovarian cancer.

Methods: JAVELIN Ovarian 200 was an open-label, parallel-group, three-arm, randomised, phase 3 trial, done at 149 hospitals and cancer treatment centres in 24 countries. Eligible patients were aged 18 years or older with epithelial ovarian, fallopian tube, or peritoneal cancer (maximum of three previous lines for platinum-sensitive disease, none for platinum-resistant disease) and an Eastern Cooperative Oncology Group performance status of 0 or 1. Patients were randomly assigned (1:1:1) via interactive response technology to avelumab (10 mg/kg intravenously every 2 weeks), avelumab plus PLD (40 mg/m2 intravenously every 4 weeks), or PLD and stratified by disease platinum status, number of previous anticancer regimens, and bulky disease. Primary endpoints were progression-free survival by blinded independent central review and overall survival in all randomly assigned patients, with the objective to show whether avelumab alone or avelumab plus PLD is superior to PLD. Safety was assessed in all patients who received at least one dose of study treatment. This trial is registered with ClinicalTrials.gov, NCT02580058. The trial is no longer enrolling patients and this is the final analysis of both primary endpoints.

Findings: Between Jan 5, 2016, and May 16, 2017, 566 patients were enrolled and randomly assigned (combination n=188; PLD n=190, avelumab n=188). At data cutoff (Sept 19, 2018), median duration of follow-up for overall survival was 18·4 months (IQR 15·6-21·9) for the combination group, 17·4 months (15·2-21·3) for the PLD group, and 18·2 months (15·8-21·2) for the avelumab group. Median progression-free survival by blinded independent central review was 3·7 months (95% CI 3·3-5·1) in the combination group, 3·5 months (2·1-4·0) in the PLD group, and 1·9 months (1·8-1·9) in the avelumab group (combination vs PLD: stratified HR 0·78 [repeated 93·1% CI 0·59-1·24], one-sided p=0·030; avelumab vs PLD: 1·68 [1·32-2·60], one-sided p>0·99). Median overall survival was 15·7 months (95% CI 12·7-18·7) in the combination group, 13·1 months (11·8-15·5) in the PLD group, and 11·8 months (8·9-14·1) in the avelumab group (combination vs PLD: stratified HR 0·89 [repeated 88·85% CI 0·74-1·24], one-sided p=0·21; avelumab vs PLD: 1·14 [0·95-1·58], one-sided p=0·83]). The most common grade 3 or worse treatment-related adverse events were palmar-plantar erythrodysesthesia syndrome (18 [10%] in the combination group vs nine [5%] in the PLD group vs none in the avelumab group), rash (11 [6%] vs three [2%] vs none), fatigue (ten [5%] vs three [2%] vs none), stomatitis (ten [5%] vs five [3%] vs none), anaemia (six [3%] vs nine [5%] vs three [2%]), neutropenia (nine [5%] vs nine [5%] vs none), and neutrophil count decreased (eight [5%] vs seven [4%] vs none). Serious treatment-related adverse events occurred in 32 (18%) patients in the combination group, 19 (11%) in the PLD group, and 14 (7%) in the avelumab group. Treatment-related adverse events resulted in death in one patient each in the PLD group (sepsis) and avelumab group (intestinal obstruction).

Interpretation: Neither avelumab plus PLD nor avelumab alone significantly improved progression-free survival or overall survival versus PLD. These results provide insights for patient selection in future studies of immune checkpoint inhibitors in platinum-resistant or platinum-refractory ovarian cancer.

Funding: Pfizer and Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial, Phase III
  • Multicenter Study
  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Antibodies, Monoclonal, Humanized / adverse effects
  • Antibodies, Monoclonal, Humanized / therapeutic use*
  • Antineoplastic Combined Chemotherapy Protocols / adverse effects
  • Antineoplastic Combined Chemotherapy Protocols / therapeutic use*
  • Disease Progression
  • Disease-Free Survival
  • Doxorubicin / analogs & derivatives
  • Doxorubicin / therapeutic use
  • Drug Resistance, Neoplasm
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Immune Checkpoint Inhibitors / adverse effects
  • Immune Checkpoint Inhibitors / therapeutic use*
  • Middle Aged
  • Ovarian Neoplasms / drug therapy*
  • Ovarian Neoplasms / immunology
  • Ovarian Neoplasms / mortality
  • Platinum Compounds / adverse effects
  • Platinum Compounds / therapeutic use*
  • Polyethylene Glycols / therapeutic use
  • Time Factors


  • Antibodies, Monoclonal, Humanized
  • Immune Checkpoint Inhibitors
  • Platinum Compounds
  • liposomal doxorubicin
  • Polyethylene Glycols
  • Doxorubicin
  • avelumab

Associated data

  • ClinicalTrials.gov/NCT02580058