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BARCELONA-LUGANO, 29 June 2016 - Anti-PD-L1 immunotherapy may achieve a response in patients with microsatellite-stable metastatic colorectal cancer if combined with a MEK inhibitor, according to phase I data presented at the ESMO 18th World Congress of Gastrointestinal Cancer in Barcelona, Spain."So far, immunotherapy has only shown activity in patients with microsatellite instability-high colorectal cancer, which is only 5% of the population," says the study's (1) principal investigator Dr Johanna Bendell, from the Sarah Cannon Research Institute and Tennessee Oncology, in Nashville, Tennessee.Microsatellite instability-high colorectal cancers are associated with a greater number of mutations and are therefore more responsive to immunotherapy with PD-L1/PD-1 blockade.

Preclinical studies have suggested that a MEK inhibitor can make a tumor more responsive to immunotherapy by increasing the number of active immune cells - such as CD8+ cells - in the tumor, and increasing the expression of factors that cause the immune system to be more active.

In this phase 1b study, 23 previously-treated patients with metastatic colorectal cancer were treated with escalating doses of MEK inhibitor cobimetinib (20mg, 40mg, and 60mg daily, 21 days on, 7 days off), with an expansion of patients at the highest dose level, and a 800mg dose of intravenous PD-L1 inhibitor atezolizumab every two weeks.

Following treatment, researchers saw a decrease of at least 30% in tumor size in four patients (17%) and stable disease in five patients (22%).

The duration of responses ranged from 4 months to over 15 months, and were still ongoing in two of four patients who were partial responders at the time of the data cut.

About the ESMO World Congress on Gastrointestinal Cancer The ESMO World Congress on Gastrointestinal Cancer is the premier global event in the field, encompassing malignancies affecting every component of the gastrointestinal tract and aspects related to the care of patients with gastrointestinal cancer, including screening, diagnosis and the latest management options for common and uncommon tumours.

Last modified 20-Mar-2015 04:43