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Pembrolizumab in Neoplasms or Lymphomas

The safety and scientific validity of this study is the responsibility of the study sponsor and investigators. Listing a study does not mean it has been evaluated by the U.S. Federal Government. Read our disclaimer for details.
ClinicalTrials.gov Identifier: NCT03316573
Recruitment Status : Suspended (Low accrual)
First Posted : October 20, 2017
Last Update Posted : January 31, 2023
Merck Sharp & Dohme LLC
Information provided by (Responsible Party):
Eric Jacobsen, MD, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute

Brief Summary:

This research study is studying a drug called pembrolizumab as a possible treatment for aggressive lymphoma or a histiocyte or dendritic cell neoplasm.

The drug involved in this study is:


Condition or disease Intervention/treatment Phase
Lymphoma Histiocytic Sarcoma Follicular Dendritic Cell Sarcoma Interdigitating Dendritic Cell Sarcoma Drug: Pembrolizumab Phase 2

Detailed Description:

This research study is a Phase II clinical trial. Phase II clinical trials test the safety and effectiveness of an investigational drug to learn whether the drug works in treating a specific disease. "Investigational" means that the drug is being studied.

The FDA (the U.S. Food and Drug Administration) has not approved pembrolizumab for this specific disease but it has been approved for other uses.

The study drug is an antibody that targets a molecule called PD-1. PD-1 is used to turn down the immune system. In general, this is used by the body to prevent the immune system from being too active. However, several cancers appear to use this pathway to prevent the immune system from attacking them. The theory behind this study is that by blocking PD-1, we may be able to prevent the cancer from hiding from the immune system and allow the immune system to attack the cancer more effectively. There is evidence that the type of lymphoma the participant have may use PD-1 to escape the immune system.

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Study Type : Interventional  (Clinical Trial)
Actual Enrollment : 18 participants
Allocation: N/A
Intervention Model: Single Group Assignment
Masking: None (Open Label)
Primary Purpose: Treatment
Official Title: A Phase 2 Study of Pembrolizumab in Patients With Histiocyte/Dendritic Cell Neoplasms and Biologically Selected Subtypes of Relapsed/Refractory Aggressive Lymphomas
Actual Study Start Date : December 7, 2017
Actual Primary Completion Date : August 18, 2022
Estimated Study Completion Date : August 18, 2024

Resource links provided by the National Library of Medicine

MedlinePlus related topics: Lymphoma

Arm Intervention/treatment
Experimental: Pembrolizumab
Pembrolizumab will be administered intravenously every 3 weeks for 35 cycles
Drug: Pembrolizumab
The study drug is an antibody that targets a molecule called PD-1. Blocking PD-1 allow the immune system to attack the cancer more effectively.
Other Name: Keytruda

Primary Outcome Measures :
  1. Overall Response Rate [ Time Frame: 2 years ]
    The percentage of subjects with partial response and complete response by PET/CT scan

Secondary Outcome Measures :
  1. Complete Response Rate [ Time Frame: 2 years ]
    The percentage of patients with complete response

  2. safety and toxicity [ Time Frame: 2 years ]
    the number of patients with an adverse event

  3. Duration of Response [ Time Frame: 2 years ]
    the length of complete or partial response

  4. Progression Free Survival [ Time Frame: 2 years ]
    amount of time subject is alive and without worsening disease

  5. Duration of Complete Response [ Time Frame: 2 years ]
    the length of complete response

  6. Overall Survival [ Time Frame: 2 years ]
    length of time from study entry until death (if applicable)

Information from the National Library of Medicine

Choosing to participate in a study is an important personal decision. Talk with your doctor and family members or friends about deciding to join a study. To learn more about this study, you or your doctor may contact the study research staff using the contacts provided below. For general information, Learn About Clinical Studies.

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Ages Eligible for Study:   18 Years and older   (Adult, Older Adult)
Sexes Eligible for Study:   All
Accepts Healthy Volunteers:   No

Inclusion Criteria:

  • Be willing and able to provide written informed consent for the trial.
  • Histologically confirmed diagnosis of a histiocyte/dendritic cell neoplasm or relapsed/refractory aggressive lymphoma with at least one of the following features (with review required at a participating study center):

    • Diffuse large B cell lymphoma with EBV positive tumor cells (defined as positive EBV-encoded RNA in tumor cells)
    • Plasmablastic lymphoma
    • T cell/histiocyte rich DLBCL
    • EBV+ T cell lymphoma of any histology; note, patients with angioimmunoblastic T cell lymphoma will be eligible regardless of EBV status
    • Histiocytic sarcoma
    • Follicular dendritic cell sarcoma
    • Interdigitating dendritic cell sarcoma
  • For patients with histiocytic sarcoma, interdigitating dendritic cell sarcoma, or follicular dendritic cell sarcoma only: disease that is not amenable to surgical resection and/or radiation therapy with curative intent.
  • For lymphoma patients only: At least one prior systemic chemotherapy including an alkylating agent and anthracycline (unless contraindicated), and an anti-CD20 monoclonal antibody if the tumor is CD20+.
  • For lymphoma patients only: Participants must have received and relapsed after autologous stem cell transplantation (ASCT), or be ineligible for ASCT (including on the basis of refractory disease), or have declined ASCT
  • Age 18 years or older at the time of signing consent.
  • ECOG performance status of 0 or 1 (Karnofsky ≥70%, see Appendix A)
  • Participants must have normal organ and marrow function as defined below:

    • absolute neutrophil count ≥ 1,000/mcL
    • platelets ≥75,000/mcL (> 30,000 if there is bone marrow involvement with lymphoma)
    • total bilirubin < 1.5 times the institutional upper limit of normal (ULN) OR direct bilirubin < the normal in subjects with total bilirubin >1.5 times the ULN
    • AST(SGOT)/ALT(SGPT) ≤2.5 × institutional ULN or < 5 times ULN in patients with known hepatic involvement with lymphoma
    • albumin > 2.5 mg/dl
    • creatinine < 1.5 times the normal upper institutional limit OR creatinine clearance ≥60 mL/min/1.73 m2 in participants with creatinine levels > 1.5 times the normal upper institutional limit
    • INR, aPTT or PT < 1.5 times the ULN unless subject is receiving anticoagulation therapy as long as PT or aPTT are within therapeutic range of intended use of anticoagulant
  • Be willing to provide tissue from a newly obtained core needle or excisional biopsy. Newly-obtained is defined as a specimen obtained up to and including 90 days prior to treatment day 1. Subjects for whom newly obtained samples cannot be provided may be enrolled only with agreement by the overall PI.
  • No prior allogeneic transplant unless all of the following apply:

    • At least 5 years from time of transplant
    • Absence of clinically significant graft-versus-host disease (GVHD)
    • Not on immune suppression
    • Approval of overall PI
  • Not a candidate for potentially curative therapy at the time of enrollment
  • Measurable disease per the Lugano criteria.
  • Female subjects of childbearing potential should have a negative urine or serum pregnancy test within 72 hours prior to receiving the first dose of study medication. If the urine test is positive or cannot be confirmed as negative, a serum pregnancy test will be required.
  • Female subjects of childbearing potential must be willing to use an adequate method of contraception as outlined in Section 5.4.3 - Contraception for the course of the study through 120 days after the last dose of study medication.
  • Abstinence is acceptable if this is the usual lifestyle and preferred contraception for the subject.
  • Male subjects of childbearing potential must agree to use an adequate method of contraception as outlined in Section 5.4.3- Contraception, starting with the first dose of study therapy through 120 days after the last dose of study therapy.
  • Abstinence is acceptable if this is the usual lifestyle and preferred contraception for the subject
  • The effects of pembrolizumab on the developing human fetus are unknown. Should a woman become pregnant or suspect she is pregnant while she or her partner is participating in this study, she should inform her treating physician immediately.

Exclusion Criteria:

  • Prior treatment with a PD-1, PD-L1 or PD-L2 inhibitor
  • Has had a prior anti-cancer monoclonal antibody within 4 weeks prior to study day 1 or has not recovered (i.e., < grade 1 or at baseline) from adverse events due to a previously administered agent.
  • Participants who have had chemotherapy, targeted small molecule therapy, or radiotherapy within 2 weeks prior to study day 1 (6 weeks for nitrosoureas or mitomycin C) or who has not recovered (i.e., < grade 1 or at baseline) from adverse events due to previously administered agents. Note: subjects with < grade 2 peripheral neuropathy are an exception to this criterion and may qualify for the study.
  • Radiation therapy within 2 weeks of study treatment
  • Is currently participating and receiving study therapy or has participated in a study of an investigational agent and received study therapy or used an investigational device within 4 weeks of the first dose of treatment.
  • Has a known history of active tuberculosis
  • Has known psychiatric or substance abuse disorders that would interfere with cooperation with the requirements of the trial.
  • Has an active infection requiring systemic therapy.
  • Has active autoimmune disease that has required systemic treatment in the past 2 years (i.e., with the use of disease modifying agents, corticosteroids, or immunosuppressive drugs). Replacement therapy (e.g., thyroxine, insulin, or physiologic corticosteroid replacement therapy for adrenal her pituitary insufficiency, etc.) is not considered a form of systemic treatment.
  • Has a diagnosis of immunodeficiency or is receiving any form of immunosuppressive therapy within 7 days prior to the first dose of trial treatment or is taking chronic systemic steroids (in doses exceeding 10 mg daily of prednisone equivalent) within 7 days prior to the first dose of trial treatment. Note: Subjects with asthma or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease that require intermittent use of bronchodilators, inhaled steroids, or local steroid injections are not excluded from the study.
  • Has a history of non-infectious pneumonitis that required systemic corticosteroid treatment or has active pneumonitis.
  • Known active central nervous system involvement and/or carcinomatous meningitis. Subjects with previously treated brain metastases may participate provided they are stable (without evidence of progression by imaging for at least 4 weeks prior to the first dose of trial treatment and any neurologic symptoms have returned to baseline), have no evidence of new or enlarging brain metastases, and are not using steroids for at least 7 days prior to trial treatment. This exception does not include carcinomatous meningitis which is excluded regardless of clinical stability.
  • Known additional malignancy that is progressing or requires active treatment. Exceptions include basal cell carcinoma of the skin or squamous cell carcinoma of the skin that has undergone potentially curative therapy or in situ cervical cancer
  • Active hepatitis B (e.g., hepatitis B surface antigen reactive) or hepatitis C (e.g., hepatitis C virus RNA detectable).
  • Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV 1/2).
  • Is pregnant or breast-feeding, or expecting to conceive or father children within the projected duration of the trial, starting with the screening visit until 120 days after the last dose of trial treatment.
  • Has received a live vaccine within 30 days of planned start of study therapy. (Note: seasonal influenza vaccines for injection are allowed as they are inactivated; however, intranasal influenza vaccines are live attenuated vaccines and are NOT allowed)
  • History of allergic reactions attributed to compounds of similar chemical or biologic composition to pembrolizumab.
  • Baseline pulse oximetry <94% or requires oxygen supplementation of any kind
  • If subject underwent major surgery they must have recovered adequately from the toxicity and/or complications from the procedure prior to starting therapy.
  • Uncontrolled intercurrent illness including, but not limited to symptomatic congestive heart failure, unstable angina pectoris, or cardiac arrhythmia

Information from the National Library of Medicine

To learn more about this study, you or your doctor may contact the study research staff using the contact information provided by the sponsor.

Please refer to this study by its ClinicalTrials.gov identifier (NCT number): NCT03316573

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United States, Illinois
Northwestern University
Chicago, Illinois, United States, 60611
United States, Massachusetts
Massachusetts General Hospital
Boston, Massachusetts, United States, 02114
Dana Farber Cancer Institute
Boston, Massachusetts, United States, 02115
United States, Nebraska
University of Nebraska
Omaha, Nebraska, United States, 68198
Sponsors and Collaborators
Dana-Farber Cancer Institute
Merck Sharp & Dohme LLC
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Principal Investigator: Eric Jacobsen, MD Dana-Farber Cancer Institute
Publications automatically indexed to this study by ClinicalTrials.gov Identifier (NCT Number):
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Responsible Party: Eric Jacobsen, MD, Principal Investigator, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute
ClinicalTrials.gov Identifier: NCT03316573    
Other Study ID Numbers: 17-448
First Posted: October 20, 2017    Key Record Dates
Last Update Posted: January 31, 2023
Last Verified: January 2023
Individual Participant Data (IPD) Sharing Statement:
Plan to Share IPD: No

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Studies a U.S. FDA-regulated Drug Product: Yes
Studies a U.S. FDA-regulated Device Product: No
Keywords provided by Eric Jacobsen, MD, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute:
Histiocyte sarcoma
Follicular Dendritic Cell Saroma
Interdigitating dendritic cell sarcoma
Additional relevant MeSH terms:
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Histiocytic Sarcoma
Dendritic Cell Sarcoma, Interdigitating
Lymphoma, Non-Hodgkin
Dendritic Cell Sarcoma, Follicular
Neoplasms by Histologic Type
Lymphoproliferative Disorders
Lymphatic Diseases
Immunoproliferative Disorders
Immune System Diseases
Neoplasms, Connective and Soft Tissue
Histiocytic Disorders, Malignant
Antineoplastic Agents, Immunological
Antineoplastic Agents