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Live Notes, Real Time Conference Coverage 2020 AACR Virtual Meeting April 27, 2020 Opening Remarks and Clinical Session 9 am

Reporter: Stephen J. Williams, PhD.

9:00 AM Opening Session

9:00 AM – 9:05 AM
– Opening Video

9:05 AM – 9:15 AM
– AACR President: Opening Remarks Elaine R. Mardis. Nationwide Children’s Hospital, Columbus, OH


Dr. Mardis is the Robert E. and Louise F. Dunn Distinguished Professor of Medicine @GenomeInstitute at Washington University of St. Louis School of Medicine.

Opening remarks:  Dr. Mardis gave her welcome from her office.  She expressed many thanks to healthcare workers and the hard work of scientists and researchers.  She also expressed some regret for the many scientists who had wonderful research to present and how hard it was to make the decision to go virtual however she feels there now more than ever still needs a venue to discuss scientific and clinical findings.  Some of the initiatives that she has had the opportunity to engage in the areas of groundbreaking discoveries and clinical trials.  606,000 lives will be lost in US this year from cancer.  AACR is being vigilant as also an advocacy platform and public policy platform in Congress and Washington.  The AACR has been at the front of public policy on electronic cigarettes.  Blood Cancer Discovery is their newest journal.  They are going to host joint conferences with engineers, mathematicians and physicists to discuss how they can help to transform oncology.  Cancer Health Disparity Annual Conference is one of the fastest growing conferences.  They will release a report later this year about the scope of the problem and policy steps needed to alleviate these disparities.  Lack of racial and ethnic minorities in cancer research had been identified an issue and the AACR is actively working to reduce the disparities within the ranks of cancer researchers.   Special thanks to Dr. Margaret Foti for making the AACR the amazing organization it is.


9:15 AM – 9:30 AM- AACR Annual Meeting Program Chair: Review of Program for AACR Virtual Annual Meeting Antoni Ribas. UCLA Medical Center, Los Angeles, CA

Antoni Ribas, MD PhD is Professor, Medicine, Surgery, Molecular and Medical Pharmacology; Director, Parker Institute for Cancer Immunotherapy Center at UCLA; Director, UCLA Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center Tumor Immunology Program aribas@mednet.ucla.edu

The AACR felt it was important to keep the discourse in the cancer research field as the Annual AACR meeting is the major way scientists and clinicians discuss the latest and most pertinent results.  A three day virtual meeting June 22-24 will focus more on the translational and basic research while this meeting is more focused on clinical trials.  There will be educational programs during the June virtual meeting.  The COVID in Cancer part of this virtual meeting was put in specially for this meeting and there will be a special meeting on this in July.  They have created an AACR COVID task force.  The AACR has just asked Congress and NIH to extend the grants due to the COVID induced shutdown of many labs.

9:30  Open Clinical Plenary Session (there are 17 sessions today but will only cover a few of these)

9:30 AM – 9:31 AM
– Chairperson Nilofer S. Azad. Johns Hopkins Sidney Kimmel Comp. Cancer Center, Baltimore, MD @noza512

9:30 AM – 9:31 AM
– Chairperson Manuel Hidalgo. Weill Cornell Medicine, New York, NY

9:30 AM – 9:35 AM
– Introduction Nilofer S. Azad. Johns Hopkins Sidney Kimmel Comp. Cancer Center, Baltimore, MD

9:35 AM – 9:45 AM
CT011 – Evaluation of durvalumab in combination with olaparib and paclitaxel in high-risk HER2 negative stage II/III breast cancer: Results from the I-SPY 2 TRIAL Lajos Pusztai, et al

see https://www.abstractsonline.com/pp8/#!/9045/presentation/10593

AbstractBackground: I-SPY2 is a multicenter, phase 2 trial using response-adaptive randomization within molecular subtypes defined by receptor status and MammaPrint risk to evaluate novel agents as neoadjuvant therapy for breast cancer. The primary endpoint is pathologic complete response (pCR, ypT0/is ypN0)). DNA repair deficiency in cancer cells can lead to immunogenic neoantigens, activation of the STING pathway, and PARP inhibition can also upregulate PD-L1 expression. Based on these rationales we tested the combination of durvalumab (anti-PDL1), olaparib (PARP inhibitor) and paclitaxel in I-SPY2.
Methods: Women with tumors ≥ 2.5 cm were eligible for screening. Only HER2 negative (HER2-) patients were eligible for this treatment, hormone receptor positive (HR+) patients had to have MammaPrint high molecular profile. Treatment included durvalumab 1500 mg every 4 weeks x 3, olaparib 100 mg twice daily through weeks 1-11 concurrent with paclitaxel 80 mg/m2 weekly x 12 (DOP) followed by doxorubicin/cyclophosphamide (AC) x 4. The control arm was weekly paclitaxel x 12 followed by AC x 4. All patients undergo serial MRI imaging and imaging response at 3 & 12 weeks combined with accumulating pCR data are used to estimate, and continuously update, predicted pCR rate for the trial arm. Regimens “graduation with success” when the Bayesian predictive probability of success in a 300-patient phase 3 neoadjuvant trial in the appropriate biomarker groups reaches > 85%.
Results: A total of 73 patients received DOP treatment including 21 HR- tumors (i.e. triple-negative breast cancer, TNBC) and 52 HR+ tumors between May 2018 – June 2019. The control group included 299 patients with HER2- tumors. The DOP arm graduated in June 2019, 13 months after enrollment had started, for all HER2- negative and the HR+/HER2- cohorts with > 0.85% predictive probabilities of success. 72 patient completed surgery and evaluable for pCR, the final predicted probabilities of success in a future phase III trial to demonstrate higher pCR rate with DOP compared to control are 81% for all HER2- cancers (estimated pCR rate 37%), 80% for TNBC (estimated pCR rate 47%) and 74.5% for HR+/HER2- patients (estimated pCR rate 28%). Association between pCR and germline BRCA status and immune gene expression including PDL1 will be presented at the meeting. No unexpected toxicities were seen, but 10 patients (14%) had possibly immune or olaparib related grade 2/3 AEs (3 pneumonitis, 2 adrenal insufficiency, 1 colitis, 1 pancreatitis, 2 elevated LFT, 1 skin toxicity, 2 hypothyroidism, 1 hyperthyroidism, 1 esophagitis).
Conclusion: I-SPY2 demonstrated a significant improvement in pCR with durvalumab and olaparib included with paclitaxel compared to chemotherapy alone in women with stage II/III high-risk, HER2-negative breast cancer, improvement was seen in both the HR+ and TNBC subsets.

  • This combination of durvalumab and olaparib is safe in triple negative breast cancer
  • expected synergy between PARP inhibitors and PDL1 inhibitors as olaparib inhibits DNA repair and would increase the mutational burden, which is in lung cancer shown to be a biomarker for efficacy of immune checkpoint inhibitors such as Opdivio
  • three subsets of breast cancers were studied: her2 negative, triple negative and ER+ tumors
  • MRI imaging tumor size was used as response
  • olaparib arm had elevation of liver enzymes and there was a pancreatitis
  • however paclitaxel was used within the combination as well as a chemo arm but the immuno arm alone may not be better than chemo alone but experimental arm with all combo definitely better than chemo alone
  • they did not look at BRCA1/2 status, followup talk showed that this is a select group that may see enhanced benefit; PARP inhibitors were seen to be effective only in BRCA1/2 mutant ovarian cancer previously


10:10 AM – 10:20 AM
CT012 – Evaluation of atezolizumab (A), cobimetinib (C), and vemurafenib (V) in previously untreated patients with BRAFV600 mutation-positive advanced melanoma: Primary results from the phase 3 IMspire150 trial Grant A. McArthur,

for abstract please see https://www.abstractsonline.com/pp8/#!/9045/presentation/10594

AbstractBackground: Approved systemic treatments for advanced melanoma include immune checkpoint inhibitor therapy (CIT) and targeted therapy with BRAF plus MEK inhibitors for BRAFV600E/K mutant melanoma. Response rates with CITs are typically lower than those observed with targeted therapy, but CIT responses are more durable. Preclinical and clinical data suggest a potential for synergy between CIT and BRAF plus MEK inhibitors. We therefore evaluated whether combining CIT with targeted therapy could improve efficacy vs targeted therapy alone. Methods: Treatment-naive patients with unresectable stage IIIc/IV melanoma (AJCC 7th ed), measurable disease by RECIST 1.1, and BRAFV600 mutations in their tumors were randomized to the anti­-programmed death-ligand 1 antibody A + C + V or placebo (Pbo) + C + V. A or Pbo were given on days 1 and 15 of each 28-day cycle. Treatment was continued until disease progression or unacceptable toxicity. The primary outcome was investigator-assessed progression-free survival (PFS). Results: 514 patients were enrolled (A + C + V = 256; Pbo + C + V = 258) and followed for a median of 18.9 months. Investigator-assessed PFS was significantly prolonged with A + C + V vs Pbo + C + V (15.1 vs 10.6 months, respectively; hazard ratio: 0.78; 95% confidence interval: 0.63-0.97; P=0.025), an effect seen in all prognostic subgroups. While objective response rates were similar in the A + C + V and Pbo + C + V groups, median duration of response was prolonged with A + C + V (21.0 months) vs Pbo + C + V (12.6 months). Overall survival data were not mature at the time of analysis. Common treatment-related adverse events (AEs; >30%) in the A + C + V and Pbo + C + V groups were blood creatinine phosphokinase (CPK) increase (51.3% vs 44.8%), diarrhea (42.2% vs 46.6%), rash (40.9% in both arms), arthralgia (39.1% vs 28.1%), pyrexia (38.7% vs 26.0%), alanine aminotransferase (ALT) increase (33.9% vs 22.8%), and lipase increase (32.2% vs 27.4%). Common treatment-related grade 3/4 AEs (>10%) that occurred in the A + C + V and Pbo + C + V groups were lipase increase (20.4% vs 20.6%), blood CPK increase (20.0% vs 14.9%), ALT increase (13.0% vs 8.9%), and maculopapular rash (12.6% vs 9.6%). The incidence of treatment-related serious AEs was similar between the A + C + V (33.5%) and Pbo + C + V (28.8%) groups. 12.6% of patients in the A + C + V group and 15.7% in the Pbo + C + V group stopped all treatment because of AEs. The safety profile of the A + C + V regimen was generally consistent with the known profiles of the individual components. Conclusion: Combination therapy with A + C + V was tolerable and manageable, produced durable responses, and significantly increased PFS vs Pbo + C + V. Thus, A + C + V represents a viable treatment option for BRAFV600 mutation-positive advanced melanoma. ClinicalTrials.gov ID: NCT02908672



10:25 AM – 10:35 AM
CT013 – SWOG S1320: Improved progression-free survival with continuous compared to intermittent dosing with dabrafenib and trametinib in patients with BRAF mutated melanoma Alain Algazi,

for abstract and more author information please see https://www.abstractsonline.com/pp8/#!/9045/presentation/10595

AbstractBackground: BRAF and MEK inhibitors yield objective responses in the majority of BRAFV600E/K mutant melanoma patients, but acquired resistance limits response durations. Preclinical data suggests that intermittent dosing of these agents may delay acquired resistance by deselecting tumor cells that grow optimally in the presence of these agents. S1320 is a randomized phase 2 clinical trial designed to determine whether intermittent versus continuous dosing of dabrafenib and trametinib improves progression-free survival (PFS) in patients with advanced BRAFV600E/K melanoma.
Methods: All patients received continuous dabrafenib and trametinib for 8-weeks after which non-progressing patients were randomized to receive either continuous treatment or intermittent dosing of both drugs on a 3-week-off, 5-week-on schedule. Unscheduled treatment interruptions of both drugs for > 14 days were not permitted. Responses were assessed using RECIST v1.1 at 8-week intervals scheduled to coincide with on-treatment periods for patients on the intermittent dosing arm. Adverse events were assessed using CTCAE v4 monthly. The design assumed exponential PFS with a median of 9.4 months using continuous dosing, 206 eligible patients and 156 PFS events. It had 90% power with a two-sided α = 0.2 to detect a change to a median with an a priori hypothesis that intermittent dosing would improve the median PFS to 14.1 months using a Cox model stratified by the randomization stratification factors.
Results: 242 patients were treated and 206 patients without disease progression after 8 weeks were randomized, 105 to continuous and 101 to intermittent treatment. 70% of patients had not previously received immune checkpoint inhibitors. There were no significant differences between groups in terms of baseline patient characteristics. The median PFS was statistically significantly longer, 9.0 months from randomization, with continuous dosing vs. 5.5 months from randomization with intermittent dosing (p = 0.064). There was no difference in overall survival between groups (median OS = 29.2 months in both arms p = 0.93) at a median follow up of 2 years. 77% of patient treated continuously discontinued treatment due to disease progression vs. 84% treated intermittently (p = 0.34).
Conclusions: Continuous dosing with the BRAF and MEK inhibitors dabrafenib and trametinib yields superior PFS compared with intermittent dosing.

  • combo of MEK and BRAF inhibitors can attract immune cells like TREGs so PDL1 inhibitor might help improve outcome
  • PFS was outcome endpoint
  • LDH was elevated in three patients (why are they seeing liver tox?  curious like previous study); are seeing these tox with the PDL1 inhibitors
  • there was marked survival over placebo group and PFS was statistically  with continuous dosing however intermittent dosing shows no improvement

Dr. Wafik el Diery gave a nice insight as follows

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