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PD-1 Blockade in Anaplastic Thyroid Carcinoma

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Published:9th Aug 2020
Author: Capdevila J, Wirth LJ, Ernst T, Ponce Aix S, Lin CC, Ramlau R et al.
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Ref.:J Clin Oncol. 2020 Aug 10;38(23):2620-2627.
PD-1 Blockade in Anaplastic Thyroid Carcinoma

Anaplastic thyroid carcinoma is an aggressive malignancy that is almost always fatal and lacks effective systemic treatment options for patients with BRAF-wild type disease. As part of a phase I/II study in patients with advanced/metastatic solid tumors, patients with anaplastic thyroid carcinoma were treated with spartalizumab, a humanized monoclonal antibody against the programmed death-1 (PD-1) receptor.

Methods: We enrolled patients with locally advanced and/or metastatic anaplastic thyroid carcinoma in a phase II cohort of the study. Patients received 400 mg spartalizumab intravenously, once every 4 weeks. The overall response rate was determined according to RECIST v1.1.

Results: Forty-two patients were enrolled. Adverse events were consistent with those previously observed with PD-1 blockade. Most common treatment-related adverse events were diarrhea (12%), pruritus (12%), fatigue (7%), and pyrexia (7%). The overall response rate was 19%, including three patients with a complete response and five with a partial response. Most patients had baseline tumor biopsies positive for PD-L1 expression (n = 28/40 evaluable), and response rates were higher in PD-L1-positive (8/28; 29%) versus PD-L1-negative (0/12; 0%) patients. The highest rate of response was observed in the subset of patients with PD-L1 ≥ 50% (6/17; 35%). Responses were seen in both BRAF-nonmutant and BRAF-mutant patients and were durable, with a 1-year survival of 52.1% in the PD-L1-positive population.

Conclusion: To our knowledge, this is the first clinical trial to show responsiveness of anaplastic thyroid carcinoma to PD-1 blockade.

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