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Bempegaldesleukin (NKTR-214) With Radiation and Anti-PD-1 Immunotherapy for Head and Neck Squamous Cell Carcinoma

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. Identifier: NCT04936841
Recruitment Status : Terminated (study closed by the sponsor)
First Posted : June 23, 2021
Last Update Posted : May 15, 2023
Nektar Therapeutics
Information provided by (Responsible Party):
University of Wisconsin, Madison

Brief Summary:
This trial will evaluate safety and efficacy of the combination of anti-PD1, NKTR-214, and palliative radiation therapy in patients with recurrent or metastatic squamous cell carcinoma of the head and neck. Twenty-four participants will be enrolled to evaluate the efficacy of this combination.

Condition or disease Intervention/treatment Phase
Head and Neck Cancer Drug: NKTR-214 Drug: anti-PD-1 therapy Radiation: Palliative Radiation Phase 2

Detailed Description:

Following an informed consent process, participants will receive anti-PD-1 therapy with 200 mg of pembrolizumab and NKTR-214 at 0.006 mg/kg. Palliative radiation therapy will then be delivered to tumor sites causing or felt by the treating physician to have a high potential for causing symptoms with either 8 Gy X 3 or 4 Gy X 5 completed 3 to 7 days prior to cycle 2 of anti-PD1 and NKTR-214. Combined anti-PD-1 and NKTR-214 will then be delivered each subsequent cycle.

Efficacy will be measured by overall response rate (ORR), progression free survival (PFS), overall survival (OS), clinical benefit (CB), and duration of response with ORR the primary outcome being compared to historical control data. Toxicity will be evaluated prior to administration of each 21-day cycle, while receiving NKTR-214 followed by every four months after the participant is off trial. Health related quality of life questionnaires will be completed with cycle 1 and 2 and then every 4 cycles thereafter.

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Study Type : Interventional  (Clinical Trial)
Actual Enrollment : 5 participants
Allocation: N/A
Intervention Model: Single Group Assignment
Masking: None (Open Label)
Primary Purpose: Treatment
Official Title: Phase II Study of Bempegaldesleukin (NKTR-214) Together With Palliative Radiation and Anti-PD-1 Checkpoint Blockade in Patients With Recurrent or Metastatic Head and Neck Squamous Cell Carcinoma (HNSCC)
Actual Study Start Date : August 5, 2021
Actual Primary Completion Date : October 4, 2022
Actual Study Completion Date : October 4, 2022

Resource links provided by the National Library of Medicine

MedlinePlus related topics: Palliative Care

Arm Intervention/treatment
Experimental: NKTR-214, anti-PD therapy plus Palliative Radiation

Cycle 1 consists of anti-PD-1 therapy (200mg) and NKTR-214 (0.006 mg/kg3 administered intravenously), followed by palliative radiation (8 Gy x 3 or 4 Gy x 5 fractions) combined with anti-PD-1 therapy and NKTR-214 in cycle 2.

In subsequent cycles participants will receive NKTR-214 and anti-PD-1.

Drug: NKTR-214
Bempegaldesleukin (NKTR-214) is an immunotherapeutic protein prodrug specifically designed to activate the patient's immune system for the treatment of cancer by providing a controlled, sustained signal to the interleukin-2 (IL-2) receptor pathway (pharmacological classification: immunostimulatory interleukin cytokine)
Other Name: bempegaldesleukin

Drug: anti-PD-1 therapy
immunotherapy drug, monoclonal antibody
Other Name: Pembrolizumab

Radiation: Palliative Radiation
radiation to relieve symptoms

Primary Outcome Measures :
  1. Objective Response Rate (ORR) [ Time Frame: up to 7 months (at Standard-of-care imaging 3 to 6 months after Cycle 1) ]
    ORR is the percentage of participants whose cancer shrinks or disappears after treatment. ORR will include confirmed complete response (CR) + confirmed partial response (PR) and will be determined as per RECIST1.1, by investigator assessment.

Secondary Outcome Measures :
  1. Adverse Events Greater than or equal to Grade 3 [ Time Frame: up to 5 years ]
    Toxicities ≥ Grade 3 is defined by the NCI Common Terminology Criteria for Adverse Events (CTCAE) version 5.0. Toxicities not "unrelated" to treatment, will be considered treatment-related.

  2. Progression Free Survival (PFS) [ Time Frame: up to 5 years ]
    PFS is the average length of time after the start of treatment in which a person is alive, and their cancer does not grow or spread. PFS is defined as the time from day 1 of treatment until the criteria for disease progression is met as defined by RECIST1.1 or death as a result of any cause.

  3. Overall Survival (OS) [ Time Frame: up to 5 years ]
    OS is defined as time from day 1 of treatment until death as a result of any cause.

  4. Clinical Benefit (CB) [ Time Frame: up to 5 years ]
    CB will include confirmed complete response (CR) + confirmed partial response (PR) + stable disease at ≥ 6 months (SD) and will be determined as per RECIST1.1.

  5. Duration of Response [ Time Frame: up to 5 years ]
    Duration of response is the period measured from the time that measurement criteria are met for complete or partial response (whichever status is recorded first) until the date that recurrent or progressive disease is objectively documented.

  6. Health Related Quality of Life as measured by EORTC QLQ-C30 Score [ Time Frame: up to 5 years ]
    European Organization for Research and Treatment of Cancer Core Quality of Life Questionnaire (EORTC QLQ-C30) is a 30 item instrument with a total possible range of scores 30 - 126, where lower scores indicate improved quality of life.

  7. Health Related Quality of Life as measured by EORTC QLQ-H&N35 Score [ Time Frame: up to 5 years ]
    European Organization for Research and Treatment of Cancer Core Quality of Life Questionnaire - Head and Neck (EORTC QLQ-H&N35) is a 35 item instrument where 30 items are scored 1 (not at all) 2 (a little) 3 (quite a bit) and 4 (very much), and 5 items are scored 1 (no) and 2 (yes), for a total possible range of scores between 35 - 130 where lower scores indicate better health related quality of life.

  8. Health Related Quality of Life as measured by EQ-5D Score [ Time Frame: up to 5 years ]
    The EQ-5D is a 5 question measure of mobility, self-care, usual activities, pain/discomfort, and anxiety/depression plus an overall measure of health reported on a visual analog scale. Scores are normalized between 1 (full health) and 0 (dead).

Other Outcome Measures:
  1. Expression of PD-L1 by histology [ Time Frame: up to 3 months ]
    PD-L1 expression has been shown to predict response to immunotherapy regimens. If PD-L1 expression correlates with outcome, it could be used in the future to select patients who have greatest benefit from this regimen.

  2. Levels of IFN-γ expressing and CD122+ T cells in Peripheral Blood Mononuclear Cells (PBMC) [ Time Frame: up to 5 years ]
    Evaluation of the in vivo immune response will help better define the mechanism of action of this combination therapy.

  3. Diversity and clonality of the T cell receptor repertoire by deep sequencing of PBMC [ Time Frame: up to 5 years ]
    Evaluation of the in vivo immune response will help better define the mechanism of action of this combination therapy.

  4. Levels of tumor infiltrating lymphocytes by histology [ Time Frame: up to 3 months ]
    Evaluation of the in vivo immune response will help better define the mechanism of action of this combination therapy.

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:

  • Written informed consent and HIPAA authorization for release of personal health information. NOTE: HIPAA authorization may be included in the informed consent or obtained separately
  • Qualify for anti-PD-1 therapy based on current guidelines at the time of registration. This includes the standard requirement for the participant's tumor to have been previously determined to express PD-L1 with a combined positive score ≥ 1, as determined by an FDA-approved test.
  • Eastern Cooperative Oncology Group (ECOG) Performance Status of 0-2 within 30 days prior to enrollment
  • Histologically proven diagnosis of head and neck squamous cell carcinoma that is metastatic or recurrent disease that is surgically incurable
  • Prior cancer treatment other than anti-PD-1 therapy must be completed at least 30 days prior to registration and the participant must have recovered from all reversible acute toxic effects of the regimen (other than alopecia) to ≤ Grade 1 or baseline. Participants may not undergo concurrent anti-cancer treatment during treatment with protocol therapies. This includes no treatment with growth factors, tyrosine kinase inhibitors, tumor-specific antibodies, or cytotoxic chemotherapies such as cisplatin. Participants who have previously or are currently taking an anti-PD-1 therapy are eligible for this study if they meet eligibility criteria 2. Participants who have previously taken any other immune checkpoint inhibitor are eligible as long as they have completed that treatment at least 30 days prior to registration and meet all other eligibility criteria.
  • Participants with central nervous system (CNS) metastases are eligible if the CNS lesions are stable for at least 2 months and if tapered off treatment doses of systemic corticosteroids for at least 2 weeks prior to enrollment on the trial. Management with maintenance physiologic doses of corticosteroids (equivalent doses of prednisone ≤ 10 mg daily) is acceptable.
  • Participants must have an "index" tumor that: 1) is deemed by the treating radiation oncologist to potentially benefit from palliative radiation 2) is amenable to biopsy, 3) is ≥ 1 cm in longest dimension.
  • Demonstrate adequate organ function as defined in the table below; all screening labs to be obtained within 30 days prior to enrollment

    • White blood cell (WBC) ≥ 3,000/mm3
    • Absolute Neutrophil Count (ANC) ≥ 1,500/mm3
    • Hemoglobin (Hgb) ≥ 9 g/dL
    • Platelets ≥ 100,000/mm3
    • Serum creatinine ≤ 2.0 mg/dL
    • Total Bilirubin ≤ 2.0 × upper limit of normal (ULN) (< 3.0 for subjects with Gilbert's Syndrome)
    • Aspartate aminotransferase (AST) ≤ 3 × ULN
    • Alanine aminotransferase (ALT) ≤ 3 × ULN
  • Females of childbearing potential must have a negative serum pregnancy test within 14 days prior to enrollment and must agree to use effective contraception during active treatment and for 5 months after last dose of pembrolizumab and/or NKTR-214. NOTE: Females are considered of childbearing potential unless they are surgically sterile (have undergone a hysterectomy, bilateral tubal ligation, or bilateral oophorectomy) or they are naturally postmenopausal for ≥ 12 consecutive months.
  • As determined by the enrolling physician or protocol designee, ability of the participant to understand and comply with study procedures for the entire length of the study

Exclusion Criteria:

  • Subjects with significant intercurrent illnesses per physician discretion
  • Subjects with active or acute infections or active peptic ulcers, unless these conditions are adequately corrected or controlled, in the opinion of the treating physician
  • Subjects with a diagnosed auto-immune disease (exceptions: subjects with controlled diabetes mellitus type I, thyroid disease, rheumatoid arthritis, vitiligo and alopecia areata not requiring treatment with immunosuppressants are eligible)

    • Subjects with a history of diabetes mellitus requiring systemic therapy within the past 3 months (i.e. either oral hypoglycemic agents or insulin) must have a documented Hemoglobin A1c < 8.0 % within 90 days of registration.
  • Subjects with known genetic conditions causing pre-disposition to radiotherapy (RT) toxicity (i.e.: Li-Fraumeni, ATM deficiency, active scleroderma, etc.)
  • Participants with a prior diagnosis of cerebrovascular accident (CVA) or transient ischemic attack (TIA)
  • Pregnant or breastfeeding (NOTE: breast milk cannot be stored for future use while the mother is being treated on study)
  • Known additional malignancy that is active and/or progressive requiring treatment; exceptions include basal cell or squamous cell skin cancer, in situ cervical or bladder cancer, or other cancer for which the subject has been disease-free for at least three years prior to enrollment
  • Prolonged Fridericia's corrected QT interval (QTcF) > 450 ms for men and > 470 ms for women at time of enrollment
  • Subjects with symptoms of ischemic cardiac disease, congestive heart failure, or myocardial infarction within 6 months of registration and/or uncontrolled cardiac rhythm disturbance
  • Subjects with a pulmonary embolism, deep vein thrombosis, or prior clinically significant venous or non-CVA/TIA arterial thromboembolic event (e.g., internal jugular vein thrombosis) within 3 months prior to enrollment

    • Patients with a history of a venous or arterial thromboembolic event must be asymptomatic prior to enrollment and must be receiving a stable regimen of therapeutic anticoagulation (low molecular weight heparin (LMWH) or direct oral anticoagulation (DOAC)). Use of coumadin is permitted; however, therapeutic dosing should target a specific international normalized ratio (INR) stable for at least 4 weeks prior to enrollment. NKTR-214 has the potential to down-regulate metabolizing enzymes for coumadin for approximately 1 week after administration of each dose of NKTR-214. Due to the possibility of drug-drug interactions between coumadin and NKTR-214, frequent monitoring of INR and ongoing consideration of dose adjustments are warranted throughout the patient's participation on study.
  • Subjects with significant psychiatric disabilities or seizure disorders if considered unsafe in the opinion of the treating physician
  • Subjects with symptomatic pleural effusions or ascites
  • Subjects with organ allografts
  • Subjects who require, or are likely to require, systemic treatment doses of corticosteroids, or other immunosuppressive drugs, or have used them within 2 weeks of registration (clarification: subjects receiving physiologic maintenance or replacement doses of systemic steroids or inhaled steroids are eligible)
  • Subjects with known human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection, active or chronic hepatitis B or hepatitis C infection, or with clinical evidence of hepatitis 15. Subjects with known hypersensitivity to IL2 or those who experienced significant immune-related AEs requiring treatment with steroids or other immunosuppressant therapy during prior treatment with ipilimumab, or anti- PD-1/PD-L1 checkpoint blockade therapy 16. Subjects who cannot provide independent, legal, informed consent

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 identifier (NCT number): NCT04936841

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United States, Wisconsin
University of Wisconsin
Madison, Wisconsin, United States, 53792
Sponsors and Collaborators
University of Wisconsin, Madison
Nektar Therapeutics
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Study Chair: Zachary Morris, MD, PhD University of Wisconsin, Madison
Study Chair: Paul Harari, MD University of Wisconsin, Madison
Principal Investigator: Adam Burr, MD, PhD University of Wisconsin, Madison
Principal Investigator: Justine Bruce, MD University of Wisconsin, Madison
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Responsible Party: University of Wisconsin, Madison Identifier: NCT04936841    
Other Study ID Numbers: UW20092
A533300 ( Other Identifier: UW Madison )
SMPH/HUMAN ONCOLOGY ( Other Identifier: UW Madison )
Protocol Version 4/19/2021 ( Other Identifier: UW Madison )
2021-0141 ( Other Identifier: Health Science IRB )
First Posted: June 23, 2021    Key Record Dates
Last Update Posted: May 15, 2023
Last Verified: May 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
Additional relevant MeSH terms:
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Carcinoma, Squamous Cell
Squamous Cell Carcinoma of Head and Neck
Neoplasms, Glandular and Epithelial
Neoplasms by Histologic Type
Neoplasms, Squamous Cell
Head and Neck Neoplasms
Neoplasms by Site
Antineoplastic Agents, Immunological
Antineoplastic Agents
Immune Checkpoint Inhibitors
Molecular Mechanisms of Pharmacological Action