April 7, 2017

Avelumab Provides Durable Responses in Patients With Distant Metastatic Merkel Cell Carcinoma

By Denise Baez

WASHINGTON, DC -- April 7, 2017 -- Avelumab provided durable responses in patients with distant metastatic Merkel cell carcinoma who had progressed after chemotherapy, according to a study presented here at the 2017 Annual Meeting of the American Association for Cancer Research (AACR).

Six-month data from the phase 2 study was presented last year and showed an objective response rate (ORR) of 31.8% among 88 patients with metastatic Merkel cell carcinoma who were treated with avelumab. A complete response (CR) was observed in 9.1% and the 6-month progression-free survival (PFS) rate was 40%.

Howard L. Kaufman, MD, Rutgers Cancer Institute of New Jersey, New Brunswick, New Jersey, presented updated data with ≥1 year of follow-up in all patients.

All patients in the study had disease progression after chemotherapy. Patients received intravenous avelumab 10 mg/kg every 2 weeks until confirmed progression, unacceptable toxicity, or withdrawal. Tumours were assessed every 6 weeks (RECIST v1.1 by independent review).

As of data cut-off, median follow-up was 16.4 months (range, 12.0-25.3 months), and treatment was ongoing in 19 (22%) patients 22%. Reasons for discontinuations were disease progression in 50% (n = 44) of patients, death (8%), adverse events (8%), or withdrawal (5%).

Long-term follow-up showed an ORR of 33%, with 10 CRs and 19 partial responses, including 1 new CR and 1 patient improving from PR to CR since the 6-month analysis.

Estimated 1-year PFS was 30% and the 1-year overall survival rate was 52%; median overall survival was 12.9 months.

“In longer-term follow-up from this study of avelumab in patients with distant metastatic Merkel cell carcinoma who progressed after chemotherapy, the majority of responses were durable beyond 1 year and 2,” the authors wrote in their presentation. “Maturing PFS and overall survival data suggest long-term benefit in a proportion of patients.”

Funding for this study was provided by EMD Serono Inc.

[Presentation title: Durable Responses to Avelumab (Anti-PD-L1) in Patients With Merkel Cell Carcinoma Progressed After Chemotherapy: 1-Year Efficacy Update. Abstract CT079]

Log in or register to post comments

DG News saves you time by delivering a short list of medical stories worthy of your time and attention. Our advanced algorithms rank clinical content based on hundreds of data points to surface the most important medical advances impacting your practice each week.