Anti-cytotoxic T-lymphocyte-associated antigen-4 monoclonal antibody quavonlimab in combination with pembrolizumab: Safety and efficacy from a phase I study in previously treated extensive-stage small cell lung cancer

Lung Cancer. 2021 Sep;159:162-170. doi: 10.1016/j.lungcan.2021.07.009. Epub 2021 Jul 18.


Objectives: This first-in-human phase I study (NCT03179436) investigated anti-cytotoxic T-lymphocyte-associated protein 4 monoclonal antibody quavonlimab and anti-programmed death 1 monoclonal antibody pembrolizumab in patients with advanced solid tumors. The study was conducted in two parts: dose-escalation (part 1) and dose-confirmation (part 2). First-line treatment with quavonlimab + pembrolizumab conferred encouraging antitumor activity (objective response rate [ORR], 28%-40%) and was generally well tolerated (grade ≥ 3 treatment-related adverse events [TRAEs] were lowest with quavonlimab 25 mg every 6 weeks [Q6W] at 30% and highest with quavonlimab 75 mg Q3W at 57%) in non-small cell lung cancer. We present data from patients with extensive-stage small cell lung cancer (SCLC) receiving second-line or later therapy.

Materials and methods: Patients with stage III/IV SCLC received quavonlimab 75 mg Q6W plus pembrolizumab 200 mg Q3W for ≤ 2 years. Primary endpoints were safety and tolerability; ORRs as assessed by blinded independent central review per Response Evaluation Criteria In Solid Tumorsv1.1 was a secondary endpoint. Progression-free survival (PFS), overall survival (OS), and the correlation of response with PD-L1 expression were exploratory endpoints.

Results: Forty patients with extensive-stage SCLC received treatment; median follow-up was 13 months. Dose-limiting toxicity occurred in 4 patients (10%). TRAEs occurred in 80% of patients; grade 3 events occurred in 33% of patients and no grade 4/5 events were reported. Confirmed ORRs (95% CI) were 18% (7-33) among all patients, 7% (<1-34) for PD-L1-positive tumors (n = 14), and 19% (5-42) for PD-L1-negative tumors (n = 21). Response duration ranged from 2.9 to 19.1+ months. Median PFS was 2.0 months; 6-month PFS rate was 26%. Median OS was 11.0 months; 6-month OS rate was 66%.

Conclusions: Encouraging antitumor activity was observed with quavonlimab + pembrolizumab in patients with extensive-stage SCLC; responses were observed in PD-L1-positive and PD-L1-negative tumors. The combination was tolerable with manageable toxicities.

Keywords: CTLA-4 antigen; Drug therapy, combination; Immunotherapy; Lung neoplasms; Programmed cell death 1 receptor.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Antibodies, Monoclonal, Humanized
  • B7-H1 Antigen
  • Carcinoma, Non-Small-Cell Lung*
  • Humans
  • Lung Neoplasms* / drug therapy
  • Small Cell Lung Carcinoma* / drug therapy


  • Antibodies, Monoclonal, Humanized
  • B7-H1 Antigen
  • pembrolizumab