Encorafenib, binimetinib plus pembrolizumab triplet therapy in patients with advanced BRAFV600 mutant melanoma: safety and tolerability results from the phase I IMMU-TARGET trial

Eur J Cancer. 2021 Oct 13;158:72-84. doi: 10.1016/j.ejca.2021.09.011. Online ahead of print.


Background: Combination of immune checkpoint inhibitors and mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) pathway inhibitors (MAPKi) has been proposed to enhance the durability of anti-tumour responses induced by MAPKi. Here, we present phase I safety results from an open-label, phase I/II study of pembrolizumab (PEM), encorafenib (ENC) and binimetinib (BIN) triplet therapy in advanced, B-Raf proto-oncogene serine/threonine kinase (BRAF)V600-mutated melanoma (IMMU-TARGET, NCT02902042).

Methods: The dose finding phase I part used a 3 + 3 design, starting with the approved doses of PEM (200 mg every three weeks), ENC (450 mg once daily [QD]) and BIN (45 mg twice daily [BID]) as dose level (DL) 0. Reduction of the ENC and BIN doses (300 mg QD and 30 mg BID at DL-1 and 200 mg QD and 30 mg BID at DL-2) was preplanned in case of ≥2 dose-limiting toxicities (DLTs). Primary objectives were to estimate the recommended phase II dose of the triplet combination, DLT and safety. As per the sponsor's decision, the study was terminated after the phase I part, as the clinical efficacy of the combination is currently being investigated in a pivotal, placebo-controlled (PEM mono), double-blinded phase III trial (STARBOARD,NCT04657991).

Results: Fifteen patients were enrolled. DLTs of DL0 were creatine phosphokinase (CPK) elevation plus cytokine release syndrome (n = 1) and gamma glutamyl transferase (GGT) increase (n = 1). No DLT was observed in further 3 + 3 patients at DL-1. One (isolated GGT elevations) DLT of DL0 was questionable, as the patient had further episodes of isolated GGT elevations after treatment discontinuation. Hence, further 6 patients were enrolled at DL0: here, no DLT occurred. In total, 13 of 15 patients (87%) experienced a treatment-related adverse event (TRAE) and 8 patients (53%), a grade ≥III TRAE; there were no TRAE-related deaths. Increases in aspartate aminotransferases, GGT (6/15 patients) and CPK elevations (4/15) were the most common grade III-IV TRAE. In median, patients received triplet therapy for 24 weeks (interquartile range [IQR], 12-45). Of the 14 patients evaluable for efficacy, the overall response rate was 64% (95% confidence interval [CI], 35-87). At a median follow-up of 25 months (IQR, 9-28), progression-free survival at 12 months was 41% (95% CI, 13-68).

Conclusions: Triplet therapy with PEM, ENC and BIN as used in the study was feasible and safe and led to clinically meaningful disease control.

Keywords: Binimetinib; Encorafenib; Immunotherapy; Melanoma; Pembrolizumab; Phase I; Targeted therapy.

Associated data

  • ClinicalTrials.gov/NCT04657991
  • ClinicalTrials.gov/NCT02902042