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Intratumoral Cavrotolimod Combined With Pembrolizumab or Cemiplimab in Patients With Merkel Cell Carcinoma, Cutaneous Squamous Cell Carcinoma, or Other Advanced Solid Tumors

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ClinicalTrials.gov Identifier: NCT03684785
Recruitment Status : Recruiting
First Posted : September 26, 2018
Last Update Posted : October 18, 2021
Sponsor:
Information provided by (Responsible Party):
Exicure, Inc.

Brief Summary:

This is a phase 1b/2, open-label, two-part, multicenter trial designed to evaluate the safety, tolerability, pharmacokinetics, pharmacodynamics and preliminary efficacy of intratumoral cavrotolimod injections alone and in combination with intravenous pembrolizumab or cemiplimab in patients with Merkel Cell Carcinoma, cutaneous squamous cell carcinoma, and advanced solid tumors.

Phase 1b of this trial is a 3+3 dose escalation study evaluating escalating or intermediate dose levels of cavrotolimod given with a fixed dose of pembrolizumab.

The Phase 2 dose expansion part of the study will consist of two primary cohorts of patients: Merkel cell carcinoma and cutaneous squamous cell carcinoma. Patients in the Merkel Cell Carcinoma cohort will receive IT cavrotolimod combined with a fixed, standard dose of pembrolizumab while the Cutaneous Squamous Cell Carcinoma cohort will receive IT cavrotolimod combined with a fixed, standard dose of cemiplimab. The Phase 2 dose expansion is designed to provide a preliminary estimate of efficacy in patients that have progressed on an anti-PD-(L)1 CPI.


Condition or disease Intervention/treatment Phase
Advanced or Metastatic Merkel Cell Carcinoma Advanced or Metastatic Cutaneous Squamous Cell Carcinoma Advanced or Metastatic Melanoma Advanced or Metastatic Head and Neck Squamous Cell Carcinoma Advanced or Metastatic Solid Tumors Drug: Cavrotolimod Biological: Pembrolizumab Biological: Cemiplimab Phase 1 Phase 2

Detailed Description:

This study will be conducted in 2 phases. Phase 1 evaluates cavrotolimod given in combination with pembrolizumab in patients with advanced solid tumors in a classical 3+3 dose escalation design, with up to five ascending dose cohorts of cavrotolimod and enrollment of at least 3 patients per cohort to identify an RP2D. Patients will be dosed twice with cavrotolimod as a monotherapy before adding pembrolizumab, which will be added starting at the second cycle. Once the MTD or highest escalation cohort has been reached, or notable efficacy has been observed at a given dose level, and a decision as to a RP2D has been made, a two 2-stage expansion cohort design will be initiated.

Phase 2 will evaluate the RP2D of cavrotolimod given in combination with pembrolizumab or cemiplimab in two expansion cohorts following a modified Simon 2-stage optimal design comprised of patients with Merkel cell carcinoma or cutaneous squamous cell carcinoma. who previously received and have progressed on an anti-PD-(L)1 CPI. Patients in the Merkel Cell Carcinoma cohort will receive IT cavrotolimod combined with a fixed, standard dose of pembrolizumab while the Cutaneous Squamous Cell Carcinoma cohort will receive IT cavrotolimod combined with a fixed, standard dose of cemiplimab.

Phase 2 will include an exploratory expansion cohort to evaluate cavrotolimod in combination with pembrolizumab in patients with other advanced solid tumors, including melanoma, who have progressed on anti-PD-(L)1 therapy.

Exploratory expansion cohorts will evaluate patients with melanoma and additional patients with Merkel Cell Carcinoma who do not meet criteria for enrollment in the primary Merkel Cell Carcinoma cohort. In addition, two exploratory cohorts have been added to evaluate patients with advanced solid tumors and no superficial tumor accessible for IT injection using subcutaneously administered cavrotolimod or IT injection into liver metastases.

A cohort of up to 10 evaluable patients with locally advanced or metastatic solid tumors with no cutaneous, subcutaneous, or accessible nodal tumor lesions available for IT injection may be enrolled (inclusion criterion #4). The inclusion/exclusion criteria for this exploratory cohort will otherwise be the same as those used for the Phase 2 dose expansion cohorts except these patients will not be required to have a lesion accessible for biopsy (inclusion criterion #5). Patients will be dosed with cavrotolimod subcutaneously at a dose not to exceed the recommended Phase 2 dose, 32 mg, in combination with pembrolizumab.

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Study Type : Interventional  (Clinical Trial)
Estimated Enrollment : 130 participants
Allocation: Randomized
Intervention Model: Sequential Assignment
Masking: None (Open Label)
Primary Purpose: Treatment
Official Title: Merkel Cell Carcinoma, Cutaneous Squamous Cell Carcinoma, or Other Advanced Solid Tumors: A Phase 1b/2 Study of Cavrotolimod Combined With Pembrolizumab or Cemiplimab
Actual Study Start Date : December 13, 2018
Estimated Primary Completion Date : June 30, 2022
Estimated Study Completion Date : December 31, 2023


Arm Intervention/treatment
Experimental: Dose Escalation Phase 1b
Determine the recommended Phase 2 dose of cavrotolimod in combination with pembrolizumab.
Drug: Cavrotolimod
Intratumorally dosed cavrotolimod.

Biological: Pembrolizumab
Pembrolizumab dosing as per the US prescribing information.

Experimental: Dose Expansion Phase 2; Merkel cell carcinoma
Determine the safety and preliminary efficacy of cavrotolimod and pembrolizumab in patients with advanced Merkel cell carcinoma that have progressed on an anti-PD-1 / anti-PD-L1 therapy.
Drug: Cavrotolimod
Intratumorally dosed cavrotolimod.

Biological: Pembrolizumab
Pembrolizumab dosing as per the US prescribing information.

Experimental: Dose Expansion Phase 2, cutaneous squamous cell carcinoma
Determine the safety and preliminary efficacy of cavrotolimod and cemiplimab in patients with advanced cutaneous squamous cell carcinoma that have progressed on an anti-PD-1.
Drug: Cavrotolimod
Intratumorally dosed cavrotolimod.

Biological: Cemiplimab
Cemiplimab dosing as per the US prescribing information.

Experimental: Exploratory Phase 2, Merkel cell carinoma
Determine the safety and preliminary efficacy of cavrotolimod and pembrolizumab in patients with advanced Merkel cell carcinoma that have progressed on anti-PD-1 / anti-PD-L1 therapy.
Drug: Cavrotolimod
Intratumorally dosed cavrotolimod.

Biological: Pembrolizumab
Pembrolizumab dosing as per the US prescribing information.

Experimental: Exploratory Phase 2, Subcutaneous Dosing Cohort
Determine the safety and preliminary efficacy of cavrotolimod and pembrolizumab in patients with no cutaneous, subcutaneous, or accessible nodal tumor lesions amenable that have progressed on anti-PD-1 / anti-PD-L1 therapy.
Biological: Pembrolizumab
Pembrolizumab dosing as per the US prescribing information.

Drug: Cavrotolimod
Subcutaneously dosed cavrotolimod

Experimental: Exploratory Phase 2, Melanoma
Determine the safety and preliminary efficacy of cavrotolimod and pembrolizumab in patients with locally Advanced or Metastatic Melanoma that have progressed on anti-PD-1 / anti-PD-L1 therapy.
Drug: Cavrotolimod
Intratumorally dosed cavrotolimod.

Biological: Pembrolizumab
Pembrolizumab dosing as per the US prescribing information.

Experimental: Exploratory Phase 2, Liver Lesion
Determine the safety and preliminary efficacy of cavrotolimod and pembrolizumab in patients with metastatic solid tumors with liver metastases that have progressed on anti-PD-1 / anti-PD-L1 therapy.
Drug: Cavrotolimod
Intratumorally dosed cavrotolimod.

Biological: Pembrolizumab
Pembrolizumab dosing as per the US prescribing information.




Primary Outcome Measures :
  1. Adverse events of cavrotolimod alone and in combination with pembrolizumab or cemiplimab [ Time Frame: Study day 36 ]
    Number of participants with treatment-related adverse events as assessed by CTCAE v5.0


Secondary Outcome Measures :
  1. Recommended Phase 2 dose [ Time Frame: 12 months ]
    To recommend a dose of cavrotolimod and combination regimen for further development

  2. Objective response rate (ORR) per RECIST v1.1 [ Time Frame: 24 months ]
    ORR to be calculated overall and by cohort/subgroup using RECIST v1.1. Subgroups will be defined for the efficacy analyses based on prior exposure and response to immune checkpoint inhibitors.

  3. Measure changes in correlative biomarkers including tumor-infiltrating lymphocytes, PD-L1 and other checkpoint expression at baseline, after cavrotolimod monotherapy, and after combination therapy of both cavrotolimod and pembrolizumab or cemiplimab. [ Time Frame: Study day 36 ]
    IHC on FFPE biopsies will be used to assess markers.

  4. Measure changes in gene expression profiles at baseline, after cavrotolimod monotherapy, and after combination therapy of both cavrotolimod and pembrolizumab or cemiplimab. [ Time Frame: Study day 36 ]
    Selected gene-expression profiling on gene expression will be performed with nCounter (NanoString Technologies).



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
Criteria

Inclusion Criteria:

  1. Written informed consent.
  2. Male or female ≥18 years of age.
  3. Must have an advanced inoperable histologically diagnosed solid tumor.

    • Phase 2 Merkel Cell Carcinoma Dose Expansion Cohort: locally advanced or metastatic Merkel cell caricinoma
    • Phase 2 Cutaneous Squamous Cell Carcinoma Dose Expansion Cohort: locally advanced or metastatic cutaneous squamous cell carcinoma
    • Phase 2 Merkel Cell Carcinoma Exploratory Expansion Cohort: locally advanced or metastatic Merkel cell carcinoma
    • Phase 2 Melanoma Exploratory Expansion Cohort: Locally advanced or metastatic melanoma
    • Phase 2 Subcutaneous Dosing Exploratory Cohort: Locally advanced or metastatic solid tumors
    • Phase 2 Liver Lesion Exploratory Cohort: metastatic solid tumors with liver metastases
  4. Phase 1b, Phase 2 Merkel Cell Carcinoma Dose Expansion Cohort, Phase 2 Cutaneous Squamous Cell Carcinoma Dose Expansion Cohort, Phase 2 Merkel Cell Carcinoma Exploratory Expansion Cohort, Phase 2 Melanoma Exploratory Expansion Cohort:

    At least one tumor lesion amenable to repeated IT injection via palpation or ultrasound. Injection of deep visceral lesions is not permitted.

    Patients enrolled in subcutaneous dosing cohort do not need lesions amenable to subcutaneous dosing.

  5. Phase 1b and Phase 2 Melanoma Exploratory Expansion Cohort:

    Agrees to provide a newly obtained biopsy of one or two lesions, and agrees to repeat biopsies, if applicable.

  6. Phase 1b:

    In the investigator's opinion the patient may derive clinical benefit from the treatment or is ineligible for a particular form of standard therapy due to tolerability, or the patient failed one or more established standard medical anti-cancer therapies. Exposure to anti-PD-(L)1 or anti-CTLA-4 antibody CPIs is permitted but not required.

    Phase 2 Merkel Cell Carcinoma Dose Expansion Cohort:

    i. At least a minimum number of cycles of avelumab, nivolumab, or pembrolizumab. Prior anti-CTLA-4 antibody therapy, including as most recent preceding therapy in combination with avelumab or pembrolizumab, is permitted but not required.

    ii. Confirmed progressive disease during treatment with avelumab or pembrolizumab therapy,

    Phase 2 Cutaneous Squamous Cell Carcinoma Dose Expansion Cohort

    i. At least a minimum number of cycles of cemiplimab, nivolumab, or pembrolizumab. Prior ipilimumab therapy, including as most recent preceding therapy in combination with cemiplimab, nivolumab, or pembrolizumab, is permitted but not required.

    ii. Confirmed progressive disease on cemiplimab or pembrolizumab therapy

    Phase 2 MCC and Melanoma Exploratory Expansion Cohort and Phase 2 Subcutaneous Dosing Exploratory Expansion Cohort:

    i. Treatment duration with anti-PD-(L)1 antibody ≥8 weeks as the most recent preceding therapy prior to being enrolled in this study with confirmed progression. Anti-PD-(L)1 was administrated for metastatic or locally advanced Merkel Cell Carcinoma or melanoma. Prior ipilimumab therapy, including as most recent therapy in combination with anti-PD-(L)1 therapy, is permitted but not required.

    ii. Confirmed progressive disease on anti-PD-(L)1 antibody therapy

  7. Phase 1b and Phase 2 Melanoma Exploratory Expansion Cohort:

    Evaluable disease per RECIST 1.1 with at least two target lesions as defined by RECIST 1.1. Both injectable and non-injectable target lesions should be chosen for efficacy evaluation.

  8. For the Phase 2 expansion portions of the study, a maximum of 4 prior lines of systemic treatment for locally advanced or metastatic disease.

    • Phase 2 Merkel Cell Carcinoma and Melanoma Exploratory Expansion Cohorts and Phase 2 Subcutaneous Dosing Exploratory Cohort
  9. For female patients of childbearing potential, defined as females who 1) have not undergone a hysterectomy, bilateral tubal ligation, or bilateral oophorectomy or 2) have not been postmenopausal for at least 12 consecutive months [i.e., have had menses at any time during the preceding 12 consecutive months]):

    • Willing to use one of the following effective methods of contraception for at least 30 days before administration of cavrotolimod, during treatment with cavrotolimod, pembrolizumab, or cemiplimab, and for at least four months after the last dose of cavrotolimod, pembrolizumab, or cemiplimab:

    i. Total abstinence from sexual intercourse with a partner that may result in pregnancy

    ii. Hormonal contraception (oral, parenteral, or transdermal) used for at least 3 consecutive months prior to the first dose of cavrotolimod

    iii. Intrauterine contraceptive device

    iiii. Barrier contraception (i.e., condom, cap, diaphragm, or sponge with spermicide)

    For male patients who have not had a vasectomy:

    • Willing to use one of the following effective methods of contraception for at least 30 days before administration of cavrotolimod, during treatment with cavrotolimod, pembrolizumab, or cemiplimab, and for at least four months after the last dose of cavrotolimod, pembrolizumab, or cemiplimab:

    i. Total abstinence from sexual intercourse with a female partner of childbearing potential

    ii. Use by female partner of hormonal contraception (oral, parenteral, or transdermal) for at least 3 consecutive months prior to the first dose of cavrotolimod

    iii. Use by female partner of intrauterine contraceptive device

    iiii. Barrier contraception (i.e., condom, cap, diaphragm, or sponge with spermicide)

  10. Regarding history of CPI-related adverse events:

    i. Resolution of CPI-related AEs (including irAEs) to G0-1 and no corticosteroids for the amelioration of those irAEs for at least 4 weeks prior to the first dose of cavrotolimod. Controlled hypothyroidism and controlled adrenal insufficiency are exceptions to this criterion, provided doses do not exceed the threshold described in exclusion criterion #13.

    ii. No history of CTCAE G4 irAEs from CPI. iii. No history of CTCAE G3 irAEs from CPI. Patients with a history of CTCAE G3 irAEs from CPI requiring steroid treatment for no greater than 12 weeks may be considered at the discretion of the Investigator if supported by an assessment of risk-benefit and after discussion with the Medical Monitor.

  11. Adequate organ function.
  12. Able and willing to comply with the protocol and the restrictions and assessments therein.

Exclusion Criteria:

  1. Small molecule or tyrosine kinase inhibitor within 2 weeks or 5 half-lives (whichever is longer) prior to the first dose of cavrotolimod, chemotherapy or biological cancer therapy within 3 weeks prior to the first dose of cavrotolimod, nitrosourea, or radioisotope within 6 weeks prior to first dose of cavrotolimod, or non-recovery to CTCAE G1 or better from the AEs due to cancer therapeutics administered more than 4 weeks earlier.
  2. Known hypersensitivity to any phosphorothioate oligonucleotide, or previous exposure to a TLR9 agonist drug.
  3. Previous severe hypersensitivity reaction to treatment with pembrolizumab, cemiplimab or another anti-PD-(L)1 monoclonal antibody.
  4. Eastern Cooperative Oncology Group Performance Status (ECOG PS) >1.
  5. Symptomatic ascites or pleural effusion. A patient with these conditions who has received treatment such as therapeutic thoracentesis or paracentesis and is clinically stable, defined as not requiring repeat drainage procedure within 2 weeks, may be considered after discussion with the Medical Monitor.
  6. Known active CNS metastases and/or carcinomatous meningitis. Patients with previously treated brain metastases may participate provided they are clinically stable for at least 4 weeks prior to the first dose of cavrotolimod, have no evidence of new or enlarging brain metastases and are off steroids for at least 14 days prior to the first dose of cavrotolimod.
  7. Known history of a hematologic malignancy, malignant primary brain tumor or malignant sarcoma, or of another malignant primary solid tumor (other than that under study), with the following exceptions: 1) patients who have undergone potentially curative therapy with no evidence of that disease for 3 years prior to the first dose of cavrotolimod; 2) patients who underwent successful definitive resection of basal cell carcinoma of the skin, superficial bladder cancer, squamous cell carcinoma of the skin, in situ cervical cancer, or other in situ cancers; 3) stable chronic lymphocytic leukemia not requiring treatment within 3 years prior to the first dose of cavrotolimod.
  8. Significant autoimmune disease that requires or required systemic steroids or immunosuppressive agents within the last year. The following are not exclusionary: 1) vitiligo, resolved asthma/atopy, and limited eczema; 2) conidtions requiring intermittent use of bronchodilators or local steroid injections; 3) hypothyroidism or adrenal insufficiency that is stable on hormone replacement; or 4) irAEs related to checkpoint inhibitor therapy, provided inclusion criterion #10 and exclusion criterion #11 are met.
  9. Use of systemic corticosteroids to treat inflammatory or autoimmune symptoms within 15 days or other immunosuppressive drugs within 30 days prior to the first dose of cavrotolimod. Inhaled and topical corticosteroids are permitted. Up to 10 mg/day prednisone or equivalent is permitted for hypothyroidism or adrenal insufficiency.
  10. Received an investigational product or been treated with an investigational device within 30 days prior to the first dose of cavrotolimod or will start any other investigational product or device study within 30 days after last study drug administration.
  11. History or clinical evidence of any surgical or medical condition which the Investigator judges as likely to interfere with the results of the study or pose an additional risk in participating e.g., rapidly progressive or uncontrolled disease involving a major organ system-vascular, cardiac, pulmonary, gastrointestinal, gynecologic, hematologic, neurologic, neoplastic, renal, endocrine or an immunodeficiency, or clinically significant active psychiatric or abuse disorders.
  12. Pregnant or breastfeeding or expecting to conceive or father children within the projected duration of the study through 4 months after the last dose of cavrotolimod, pembrolizumab, or cemiplimab.
  13. Allergy or intolerance preventing use of H1 blockers (e.g., diphenhydramine, cetirizine) and H2 blockers (e.g., famotidine) used as antihistamine premedication prior to cavrotolimod injection.

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): NCT03684785


Contacts
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Contact: Emil deGoma, MD 1-617-762-0601 edegoma@exicuretx.com

Locations
Show Show 26 study locations
Sponsors and Collaborators
Exicure, Inc.
Investigators
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Study Director: Exicure Inc. Exicure, Inc.
Additional Information:
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Responsible Party: Exicure, Inc.
ClinicalTrials.gov Identifier: NCT03684785    
Other Study ID Numbers: AST-008-102
First Posted: September 26, 2018    Key Record Dates
Last Update Posted: October 18, 2021
Last Verified: October 2021
Individual Participant Data (IPD) Sharing Statement:
Plan to Share IPD: Yes
Plan Description: Individual participant data that underlie the results reported in the article, after de-identification (text, tables, figures, and appendices) will be shared to researchers who provide a methodologically sound proposal and sign a data access agreement.
Supporting Materials: Study Protocol
Time Frame: Beginning 9 months and ending 36 months following article publication.
Access Criteria: Access will be considered to researchers who provide a methodologically sound proposal. Analysis must achieve the aims outlined in the approved proposal. Proposals should be directed to edegoma@exicuretx.com. To gain access, data requestors will need to sign a data access agreement. Data are available for 36 months following article publication.

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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 Exicure, Inc.:
Advanced or Metastatic Merkel Cell Carcinoma
Advanced or Metastatic Cutaneous Squamous Cell Carcinoma
Advanced or Metastatic Head and Neck Squamous Cell Carcinoma
Advanced or Metastatic Melanoma
Advanced or Metastatic Solid Tumors
Head and Neck
Squamous Cell Carinoma
Cutaneous Squamous Cell Carcinoma
Merkel Cell Carcinoma
Melanoma
Skin Cancer
Additional relevant MeSH terms:
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Carcinoma, Merkel Cell
Carcinoma
Melanoma
Carcinoma, Squamous Cell
Squamous Cell Carcinoma of Head and Neck
Neoplasms, Glandular and Epithelial
Neoplasms by Histologic Type
Neoplasms
Neuroendocrine Tumors
Neuroectodermal Tumors
Neoplasms, Germ Cell and Embryonal
Neoplasms, Nerve Tissue
Nevi and Melanomas
Neoplasms, Squamous Cell
Head and Neck Neoplasms
Neoplasms by Site
Polyomavirus Infections
DNA Virus Infections
Virus Diseases
Infections
Tumor Virus Infections
Carcinoma, Neuroendocrine
Adenocarcinoma
Pembrolizumab
Cemiplimab
Antineoplastic Agents, Immunological
Antineoplastic Agents