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Immune Checkpoint Inhibitor Nivolumab in People With Recurrent Select Rare CNS Cancers

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. Know the risks and potential benefits of clinical studies and talk to your health care provider before participating. Read our disclaimer for details.
ClinicalTrials.gov Identifier: NCT03173950
Recruitment Status : Recruiting
First Posted : June 2, 2017
Last Update Posted : May 23, 2023
Information provided by (Responsible Party):
National Institutes of Health Clinical Center (CC) ( National Cancer Institute (NCI) )

Brief Summary:


More than 130 primary tumors of the central nervous system (CNS) have been identified. Most affect less than 1,000 people in the United States each year. Because these tumors are so rare, there are few proven therapies. This study will test whether the immunotherapy drug nivolumab is an effective treatment for people with rare CNS tumors.


To learn if stimulating the immune system using the drug nivolumab can shrink tumors in people with rare CNS (brain or spine) tumors or increase the time it takes for these tumors to grow or spread.


Adults whose rare CNS tumor has returned.


Participants will be screened:

  • Heart and blood tests
  • Physical and neurological exam
  • Hepatitis tests
  • Pregnancy test
  • MRI. They will lay in a machine that takes pictures.
  • Tumor tissue sample. This can be from a previous procedure.

At the start of the study, participants will have blood tests. They will answer questions about their symptoms and their quality of life.

Participants will get nivolumab in a vein every 2 weeks for up to 64 weeks.

Participants will have monthly blood tests. Every other month they will have an MRI and a neurologic function test. They will also answer questions about their quality of life.

Genetic tests will be done on participants' tumor tissue. Participants will be contacted if any clinically important results are found.

After treatment ends, participants will be monitored for up to 5 years. They will have a series of MRIs and neurological function tests. They will be asked to report any symptoms they experience....

Condition or disease Intervention/treatment Phase
Medulloblastoma Ependymoma Pineal Region Tumors Choroid Plexus Tumors Atypical/Malignant Meningioma Drug: Nivolumab Phase 2

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Study Type : Interventional  (Clinical Trial)
Estimated Enrollment : 180 participants
Allocation: Non-Randomized
Intervention Model: Parallel Assignment
Masking: None (Open Label)
Primary Purpose: Treatment
Official Title: Phase II Trial of the Immune Checkpoint Inhibitor Nivolumab in Patients With Recurrent Select Rare CNS Cancers
Actual Study Start Date : July 13, 2017
Estimated Primary Completion Date : April 21, 2026
Estimated Study Completion Date : April 21, 2027

Arm Intervention/treatment
Experimental: 1/Experimental Therapy
Patients will receive nivolumab at standard dose of 240 mg IV every 2 weeks for cycles 1 through 2, then doses of 480 mg every 4 weeks for a total of 14 additional doses
Drug: Nivolumab
Participants will receive nivolumab at standard dose of 240 mg IV every 2 weeks for cycles 1 through 2, then doses of 480 mg every 4 weeks for a total of 14 additional doses

Primary Outcome Measures :
  1. objective response [ Time Frame: end of treatment ]
    Rate of achieving a confirmed Complete Response/Partial Response (confirmed by imaging one month later)

  2. progression free survival rate [ Time Frame: 6 months after end of treatment ]
    Rate of durable Stable Disease lasting at least 6 months (PFS-6)

Information from the National Library of Medicine

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Ages Eligible for Study:   18 Years to 99 Years   (Adult, Older Adult)
Sexes Eligible for Study:   All
Accepts Healthy Volunteers:   No

    1. Histopathologically proven diagnosis of Ependymoma, Medulloblastoma, Parenchymal Pineal Region Tumors (Pineoblastoma, Pineocytoma, Pineal Tumor of Intermediate Differentiation, Papillary Tumor of the Pineal Region), Choroid Plexus Tumors (Carcinoma, Papilloma, Atypical Papilloma), Histone Mutated Gliomas, Gliomatosis Cerebri, ATRT, Malignant/Atypical Meningioma*, Gliosarcoma or Primary CNS Sarcoma, Pleomorphic Xanthoastrocytoma (PXA) and Anaplastic Pleomorphic Xanthoastrocytoma (APXA), and tumors formerly known as Primitive Neuro-Ectodermal Tumors (Embryonal Tumor with Multilayered Rosettes, Medulloepithelioma, CNS Neuroblastoma, CNS Ganglioneuroblastoma, CNS Embryonal Tumor NOS; and tumor entities emerging from methylation profiling of CNS-PNETs: CNS neuroblastoma with FOXR2 activation, CNS Ewing sarcoma family tumor with CIC alteration, CNS high-grade neuroepithelial tumor with MN1 alterations, and CNS high-grade neuroepithelial tumor with BCOR alteration) prior to registration.

      • Patient with extra CNS metastases from meningioma will be eligible even if pathology review fails to demonstrate high grade features on available tumor samples.
    2. The tumor tissue (e.g. block or 20 unstained slides) must be available to be sent for immunophenotyping.
    3. Participants must have progressive tumor growth after having received established standard of care and/or other experimental treatments for their newly diagnosed or recurrent disease. Participants will be enrolled into 2 different cohorts (cohort 1 or heavily pretreated; cohort 2 or not heavily pretreated
    4. Age greater than or equal to 18;
    5. Karnofsky performance status (Bullet) 70 within 14 days prior to Step 2 registration; Participants with severe paraparesis/paraplegia who need minimal assistance for selfcare due to their motor deficit but are otherwise functionally independent will be considered eligible.
    6. Adequate hematologic function based on CBC/differential within 14 days prior to Step 2 registration defined as follows:

      --Absolute neutrophil count greater than or equal to 1,500 cells/mm3;

      --Platelet count greater than or equal to 100,000 cells/mm3

      --Hemoglobin > 9.0 g/dl (may be transfused to achieve this level)

    7. Adequate renal function within 14 days prior to Step 2 registration defined as follows:

      • BUN less than or equal to 30 mg/dl and
      • Serum creatinine less than or equal to 1.7 mg/dl

      Note: If the serum creatinine is greater than 1.7 mg/dl, a 24-hour urine creatinine clearance will be obtained and if the result of this study is within normal limits*, the patient would be eligible to enroll onto study. (*Normal Creatinine Clearance Range: Male: 90 - 130 ml/min; Female: 80 - 125 ml/min)

    8. Adequate hepatic function within 14 days prior to Step 2 registration defined as follows:

      --Total bilirubin (except patients with Gilbert s Syndrome, who are eligible for the study but exempt from the total bilirubin eligibility criterion) less than or equal to 2.0 mg/dl and

      --ALT and AST less than or equal to 2.5x ULN

    9. No active or chronic hepatitis infection. HCV antibody (for Hepatitis C) and Hepatitis B Surface antigen and Hepatitis B core antibody must be negative. This has been routinely incorporated into immunotherapy trials with checkpoint inhibitors because of concerns that the risk of treatment-induced hepatic injury is increased in the setting of active viral hepatitis.

    1 The patient must not be on a corticosteroid dose greater than physiologic replacement dosing defined as 30 mg of cortisone per day or its equivalent. The patient must provide study-specific informed consent prior to study entry.

    2 No Durable Power of Attorney or Next of Kin can provide initial consent.

    10. Participants must meet the below requirements regarding COVID-19 Status:

    1. Participants must be fully vaccinated for coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) and if applicable, up to date, as defined by the Center for Disease Control guidance for patients who are moderately or severely immunocompromised-


      Participants must have received required vaccination(s) and boosters (if applicable) by the time of Step 2 registration and be considered fully immunized (typically 2 weeks after final vaccination or booster) by the time of the initiation of treatment.

      NOTE: Given the experimental nature of this treatment, participants on this trial will be considered moderately or severely immunocompromised for the purpose of COVID vaccination requirements.

    2. Participants must have a negative COVID-19 test within 72 hours of the first dose of study drug. Patients who had documented

      COVID-19 infection within 90 days of treatment but are more than 20 days from infection do not need to be tested and are eligible if

      they fulfill the eligibility requirement regarding adequate vaccination.

    3. Vaccinated participants must agree to follow current guidance to protect themselves from exposure to COVID-19, such as wearing masks, social distancing, and maintaining good hand hygiene even after vaccination.

    11. The effects of nivolumab on the developing human fetus are unknown. For this reason, women of childbearing potential (WOCBP) must use appropriate method(s) of contraception. WOCBP should use an adequate method to avoid pregnancy for 5 months (30 days plus the time required for nivolumab to undergo five half-lives) after the last dose of investigational drug.

NOTE: Based on the evidence cited in Nivolumab IB ver. 20, given that nivolumab is not a genotoxic agent, and that relevant systemic concentrations sufficient to produce a risk of fetal toxicity are not expected in WOCBP partners from exposure to a male participant s seminal fluid, male study participants will not be required to use contraceptive measures and/or a latex or other synthetic condom during sexual activity with a WOCBP partner.


  1. Patients who are receiving any other investigational agents.
  2. Prior use of an immunotherapy such as (but not limited to) a vaccine therapy, dendritic cell vaccine, other checkpoint inhibitors, or intracavitary or convectional enhanced delivery of chemotherapy.
  3. Prior or concurrent malignancy unless its natural history or treatment does not have the potential to interfere with the safety or efficacy assessment of the investigational regimen
  4. Severe, active co-morbidity defined as follows:

    Unstable angina within the last 6 months prior to Step 2 registration.

    Transmural myocardial infarction within the last 6 months prior to Step 2 registration

    Evidence of recent myocardial infarction or ischemia by the findings of S-T elevations of (Bullet) 2 mm using the analysis of an EKG performed within 14 days prior to Step 2 registration.

    New York Heart Association grade II or greater congestive heart failure requiring hospitalization within 12 months prior to Step 2 registration.

    History of stroke, cerebral vascular accident (CVA) or transient ischemic attack within 6 months prior to Step 2 registration, with the exception of pericavitary ischemia due to tumor resection.

    Serious and inadequately controlled cardiac arrhythmia.

    Significant vascular disease (e.g., aortic aneurysm, history of aortic dissection) or clinically significant peripheral vascular disease.

    Evidence of bleeding diathesis or coagulopathy.

    Serious or non-healing wound, ulcer, or bone fracture or history of abdominal fistula, gastrointestinal perforation, intra-abdominal abscess, major surgical procedure, open biopsy, or significant traumatic injury within 28 days prior to Step 2 registration, with the exception of the craniotomy for tumor resection.

    Acute bacterial or fungal infection requiring intravenous antibiotics at the time of registration.

    Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease exacerbation or other respiratory illness requiring hospitalization or precluding study therapy at the time of registration.

    Hepatic insufficiency resulting in clinical jaundice and/or coagulation defects.

    Known acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS) based upon current CDC definition; note, however, that HIV testing is not required for entry into this protocol. The need to exclude participants with AIDS is based on the lack of information regarding the safety of nivolumab in patients with active HIV infection.

    Active connective tissue disorders, such as lupus or scleroderma, which in the opinion of the treating physician may put the patient at high risk for immunologic toxicity.

  5. Participants with active autoimmune disease or history of autoimmune disease that might recur, which may affect vital organ function or require immune suppressive treatment including systemic corticosteroids, should be excluded. These include but are not limited to participants with a history of immune related neurologic disease, multiple sclerosis, autoimmune (demyelinating) neuropathy, Guillain-Barre syndrome or CIDP, myasthenia gravis; systemic autoimmune disease such as SLE, connective tissue diseases, scleroderma, inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), Crohn s, ulcerative colitis, hepatitis; and participants with a history of toxic epidermal necrolysis (TEN), Stevens-Johnson syndrome, or phospholipid syndrome should be excluded because of the risk of recurrence or exacerbation of disease.

    --Of note, participants with vitiligo, endocrine deficiencies including thyroiditis managed with replacement hormones including physiologic corticosteroids are eligible. Participants with rheumatoid arthritis and other arthropathies, Sj(SqrRoot)(Delta)gren s syndrome and

    psoriasis controlled with topical medication and patients with positive serology, such as antinuclear antibodies (ANA), anti-thyroid antibodies should be evaluated for the presence of target organ involvement and potential need for systemic treatment but should otherwise be eligible. However, patients with vitiligo, diabetes mellitus, and Hashimoto thyroiditis on appropriate replacement therapy may be enrolled.

  6. Any other major medical illnesses or psychiatric impairments that in the investigator's opinion will prevent administration or completion of protocol therapy.
  7. Allergies and Adverse Drug Reaction: History of allergy to study drug components
  8. Pregnancy or lactating females due to possible adverse effects on the developing fetus or infant due to study drug. Women of childbearing potential must have a negative serum pregnancy test (minimum sensitivity 25 IU/L or equivalent units of HCG) within 24 hours prior to Step 2 registration.
  9. History of severe hypersensitivity reaction to any monoclonal antibody.

10 Participants with contraindications to COVID-19 vaccination will not be eligible.

11 Participants unable to have MRIs.

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): NCT03173950

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Contact: NCI NOB Referral (240) 760-6010 ncinobreferral@mail.nih.gov
Contact: Marta Penas-Prado, M.D. (240) 858-3606 marta.penas-prado@nih.gov

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United States, California
UC San Diego Recruiting
La Jolla, California, United States, 92093-0603
Contact: David Piccioni    858-822-6346    dpiccioni@ucsd.edu   
UC Irvine Recruiting
Orange, California, United States, 92668
Contact: Daniela Bota    714-456-7214    dbota@uci.edu   
United States, Florida
Orlando Health Recruiting
Orlando, Florida, United States, 32806
Contact: Nicholas Avgeropoulos    407-303-2770    nicholas.avgeropoulos@orlandohealth.com   
United States, Illinois
Northwestern University Recruiting
Chicago, Illinois, United States, 60611
Contact: Priya Kumthekar    312-695-1300    priya.kumthekar@nm.org   
NorthShore University Medical Center Recruiting
Evanston, Illinois, United States, 60201
Contact: Janardan Khandekar    847-570-2507    jkhandekar@northshore.org   
United States, Maryland
National Institutes of Health Clinical Center Recruiting
Bethesda, Maryland, United States, 20892
Contact: NIH Clinical Center Office of Patient Recruitment (OPR)    800-411-1222 ext TTY dial 711    ccopr@nih.gov   
United States, Missouri
Washington University of St. Louis Recruiting
Saint Louis, Missouri, United States, 63110
Contact: Milan Chheda    314-362-2877    rgkatumba@wustl.edu   
United States, Ohio
Ohio State University Recruiting
Columbus, Ohio, United States, 43210-1240
Contact: Pierre Giglio    614-293-4448    Pierre.Giglio@osumc.edu   
United States, Pennsylvania
University of Pittsburgh Recruiting
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, United States, 15261
Contact: Megan Mantica    412-692-2600    manticam@upmc.edu   
United States, South Carolina
Medical University of South Carolina Recruiting
Charleston, South Carolina, United States, 29425
Contact: Scott Lindhorst    843-792-9563    lindhors@musc.edu   
United States, Texas
UT MD Anderson Cancer Center Recruiting
Houston, Texas, United States, 77030-4096
Contact: Carlos Kamiya-Matsouka    713-408-3538    ckamiya@mdanderson.org   
Sponsors and Collaborators
National Cancer Institute (NCI)
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Principal Investigator: Marta Penas-Prado, M.D. National Cancer Institute (NCI)
Additional Information:
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Responsible Party: National Cancer Institute (NCI)
ClinicalTrials.gov Identifier: NCT03173950    
Other Study ID Numbers: 170102
First Posted: June 2, 2017    Key Record Dates
Last Update Posted: May 23, 2023
Last Verified: May 18, 2023
Individual Participant Data (IPD) Sharing Statement:
Plan to Share IPD: Yes
Plan Description: .All IPD recorded in the medical record will be shared with intramural investigators upon request. In addition, all large scale genomic sequencing data will be shared with subscribers to dbGaP.
Supporting Materials: Study Protocol
Statistical Analysis Plan (SAP)
Informed Consent Form (ICF)
Time Frame: Clinical data available during the study and indefinitely. Genomic data are available once genomic data are uploaded per protocol GDS plan for as long as database is active.
Access Criteria: Clinical data will be made available via subscription to BTRIS and with the permission of the study PI. Genomic data are made available via dbGaP through requests to the data custodians.

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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 National Institutes of Health Clinical Center (CC) ( National Cancer Institute (NCI) ):
Anti-PD-1 Antibody
Brain Tumors
Spinal Cord Tumors
Additional relevant MeSH terms:
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Choroid Plexus Neoplasms
Neoplasms, Nerve Tissue
Neoplasms by Histologic Type
Neoplasms, Vascular Tissue
Meningeal Neoplasms
Central Nervous System Neoplasms
Nervous System Neoplasms
Neoplasms by Site
Nervous System Diseases
Neoplasms, Neuroepithelial
Neuroectodermal Tumors
Neoplasms, Germ Cell and Embryonal
Neoplasms, Glandular and Epithelial
Neuroectodermal Tumors, Primitive
Cerebral Ventricle Neoplasms
Brain Neoplasms
Brain Diseases
Central Nervous System Diseases
Antineoplastic Agents, Immunological
Antineoplastic Agents
Immune Checkpoint Inhibitors
Molecular Mechanisms of Pharmacological Action