Efficacy of pembrolizumab and biomarker analysis in patients with WGS-based intermediate to high tumor mutational load: results from the Drug Rediscovery Protocol.



To evaluate efficacy of pembrolizumab across multiple cancer types harboring different levels of Whole-Genome Sequencing (WGS)-based tumor mutational load (TML; total of non-synonymous mutations across the genome) in patients included in the Drug Rediscovery Protocol (NCT02925234).


While in cohort A pembrolizumab lacked activity, cohort B and cohort C met the study's primary endpoint. Further research is warranted to refine selection of patients with tumors harboring lower TMLs and may benefit from a focus on innate immunity.


Seventy-two evaluable patients with 26 different histotypes were enrolled. CB rate was 13% in cohort A (3/24 with partial response (PR)), 21% in cohort B (3/24 with SD, 2/24 with PR), and 42% in cohort C (4/24 with SD, 6/24 with PR). In cohort C, neoantigen burden estimates and expression of inflammation and innate immune biomarkers were significantly associated with CB. Similar associations were not identified in cohort A and B. In cohort A, CB was significantly associated with mutations in the chromatin remodeling gene PBRM1, while in cohort B, CB was significantly associated with expression of MICA/MICB and butyrophilins. CB and clonal TML were not significantly associated.


Patients with solid, treatment-refractory, microsatellite-stable tumors were enrolled in cohort A: breast cancer TML 140-290, cohort B: tumor-agnostic cohort TML 140-290, and cohort C: tumor-agnostic cohort TML >290. Patients received pembrolizumab 200 mg every three weeks. Primary endpoint was clinical benefit (CB: objective response or stable disease (SD) ≥16 weeks). Pre-treatment tumor biopsies were obtained for WGS and RNA-sequencing.

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Clinical cancer research : an official journal of the American Association for Cancer Research
  • Publication date 17-04-2024

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