Neoadjuvant camrelizumab plus apatinib for locally advanced microsatellite instability-high or mismatch repair-deficient colorectal cancer (NEOCAP): a single-arm, open-label, phase 2 study

Lancet Oncol. 2024 Jul;25(7):843-852. doi: 10.1016/S1470-2045(24)00203-1. Epub 2024 Jun 6.


Background: PD-1 blockade is highly efficacious for mismatch repair-deficient colorectal cancer in both metastatic and neoadjuvant settings. We aimed to explore the activity and safety of neoadjuvant therapy with PD-1 blockade plus an angiogenesis inhibitor and the feasibility of organ preservation in patients with locally advanced mismatch repair-deficient colorectal cancer.

Methods: We initiated a single-arm, open-label, phase 2 trial (NEOCAP) at Sun Yat-sen University Cancer Center and the Provincial Hospital of Traditional Chinese Medicine, Guangzhou, China. Patients aged 18-75 years with untreated mismatch repair-deficient or microsatellite instability-high or POLE/POLD1-mutated locally advanced colorectal cancer (cT3 or N+ for rectal cancer, and T3 with invasion ≥5mm or T4, with or without N+ for colon cancer) and an Eastern Cooperative Oncology Group performance score of 0-1 were enrolled and given 200 mg camrelizumab intravenously on day 1 and 250 mg apatinib orally from day 1-14, every 3 weeks for 3 months followed by surgery or 6 months if patients did not have surgery. Patients who had a clinical complete response did not undergo surgery and proceeded with a watch-and-wait approach. The primary endpoint was the proportion of patients with a pathological or clinical complete response. Eligible enrolled patients who received at least one cycle of neoadjuvant treatment and had at least one tumour response assessment following the baseline assessment were included in the activity analysis, and patients who received at least one dose of study drug were included in the safety analysis. The study is registered with (NCT04715633) and is ongoing.

Findings: Between Sept 29, 2020, and Dec 15, 2022, 53 patients were enrolled; one patient was excluded from the activity analysis because they were found to be mismatch repair-proficient and microsatellite-stable. 23 (44%) patients were female and 29 (56%) were male. The median follow-up was 16·4 (IQR 10·5-23·5) months. 28 (54%; 95% CI 35-68) patients had a clinical complete response and 24 of these patients were managed with a watch-and-wait approach, including 20 patients with colon cancer and multiple primary colorectal cancer. 23 (44%) of 52 patients underwent surgery for the primary tumour, and 14 (61%; 95% CI 39-80) had a pathological complete response. 38 (73%; 95% CI 59-84) of 52 patients had a complete response. Grade 3-5 adverse events occurred in 20 (38%) of 53 patients; the most common were increased aminotransferase (six [11%]), bowel obstruction (four [8%]), and hypertension (four [8%]). Drug-related serious adverse events occurred in six (11%) of 53 patients. One patient died from treatment-related immune-related hepatitis.

Interpretation: Neoadjuvant camrelizumab plus apatinib show promising antitumour activity in patients with locally advanced mismatch repair-deficient or microsatellite instability-high colorectal cancer. Immune-related adverse events should be monitored with the utmost vigilance. Organ preservation seems promising not only in patients with rectal cancer, but also in those with colon cancer who have a clinical complete response. Longer follow-up is needed to assess the oncological outcomes of the watch-and-wait approach.

Funding: The National Natural Science Foundation of China, Guangdong Basic and Applied Basic Research Foundation, and the Cancer Innovative Research Program of Sun Yat-sen University Cancer Center.

Translation: For the Chinese translation of the abstract see Supplementary Materials section.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial, Phase II
  • Multicenter Study

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Antibodies, Monoclonal, Humanized* / administration & dosage
  • Antibodies, Monoclonal, Humanized* / adverse effects
  • Antibodies, Monoclonal, Humanized* / therapeutic use
  • Antineoplastic Combined Chemotherapy Protocols* / adverse effects
  • Antineoplastic Combined Chemotherapy Protocols* / therapeutic use
  • Colorectal Neoplasms* / drug therapy
  • Colorectal Neoplasms* / genetics
  • Colorectal Neoplasms* / pathology
  • DNA Mismatch Repair*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Immune Checkpoint Inhibitors / administration & dosage
  • Immune Checkpoint Inhibitors / adverse effects
  • Immune Checkpoint Inhibitors / therapeutic use
  • Male
  • Microsatellite Instability*
  • Middle Aged
  • Neoadjuvant Therapy* / adverse effects
  • Pyridines* / administration & dosage
  • Pyridines* / adverse effects
  • Pyridines* / therapeutic use
  • Young Adult


  • Pyridines
  • apatinib
  • camrelizumab
  • Antibodies, Monoclonal, Humanized
  • Immune Checkpoint Inhibitors

Associated data