Background: Immune checkpoint inhibitor monotherapy in metastatic castration-resistant prostate cancer (mCRPC) has produced modest results. High-dose radiotherapy may be synergistic with checkpoint inhibitors.
Objective: To evaluate the efficacy and safety of the PD-L1 inhibitor avelumab with stereotactic ablative body radiotherapy (SABR) in mCRPC.
Design, setting, and participants: From November 2017 to July 2019, this prospective phase 2 study enrolled 31 men with progressive mCRPC after at least one prior androgen receptor-directed therapy. Median follow-up was 18.0 mo.
Intervention: Avelumab 10 mg/kg intravenously every 2 wk for 24 wk (12 cycles). A single fraction of SABR (20 Gy) was administered to one or two disease sites within 5 d before the first and second avelumab treatments.
Outcomes measurements and statistical analysis: The primary endpoint was the disease control rate (DCR), defined as a confirmed complete or partial response of any duration, or stable disease/non-complete response/non-progressive disease for ≥6 mo (Prostate Cancer Clinical Trials Working Group 3-modified Response Evaluation Criteria in Solid Tumours version 1.1). Secondary endpoints were the objective response rate (ORR), radiographic progression-free survival (rPFS), overall survival (OS), and safety. DCR and ORR were calculated using the Clopper-Pearson exact binomial method.
Results and limitations: Thirty-one evaluable men were enrolled (median age 71 yr, 71% with ≥2 prior mCRPC therapy lines, 81% with >5 total metastases). The DCR was 48% (15/31; 95% confidence interval [CI] 30-67%) and ORR was 31% (five of 16; 95% CI 11-59%). The ORR in nonirradiated lesions was 33% (four of 12; 95% CI 10-65%). Median rPFS was 8.4 mo (95% CI 4.5-not reached [NR]) and median OS was 14.1 mo (95% CI 8.9-NR). Grade 3-4 treatment-related adverse events occurred in six patients (16%), with three (10%) requiring high-dose corticosteroid therapy. Plasma androgen receptor alterations were associated with lower DCR (22% vs 71%, p = 0.13; Fisher's exact test). Limitations include the small sample size and the absence of a control arm.
Conclusions: Avelumab with SABR demonstrated encouraging activity and acceptable toxicity in treatment-refractory mCRPC. This combination warrants further investigation.
Patient summary: In this study of men with advanced and heavily pretreated prostate cancer, combining stereotactic radiotherapy with avelumab immunotherapy was safe and resulted in nearly half of patients experiencing cancer control for 6 months or longer. Stereotactic radiotherapy may potentially improve the effectiveness of immunotherapy in prostate cancer.
Keywords: Castration-resistant; Checkpoint inhibitor; Immunotherapy; Metastasis-directed therapy; Prostate cancer; Stereotactic ablative body radiotherapy; Stereotactic body radiation therapy.
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