Introduction: While combined immunotherapeutic activation of B and T cells is predicted to synergistically enhance both humoral and cell-mediated immunity, this has not been previously tested in human cancer patients. To assess this, we conducted the FIH trial combining B cell-activating IO (CIMAvax-EGF (C)) with T cell-activating IO (PD-1 blockade with nivolumab (N)). C activates B cells to produce endogenous anti-epidermal growth factor (EGF) antibodies (Abs) that deplete EGF from circulation. As a single agent maintenance therapy in aNSCLC, C prolonged overall survival (OS) in a randomized phase III trial. We now present immune correlates of improved OS with this novel combination. Methods: We reported safety and preliminary efficacy data from 13 pts from the phase I study of C+N (AACR 2019). Serial blood samples were analyzed by Luminex for dynamic changes in circulating cytokines and proteins implicated in EGF signaling, and by flow cytometry for peripheral blood mononuclear cell immunophenotype. Cox regression analysis was used to analyze association with OS. Results: 71% of pts achieved anti-EGF Ab titers of >1:4000 after 3 doses of C, compared to historical controls of 39% with C alone. Baseline increase in CD8+ naive T cells, memory B cells, and decrease in MDSC and Th17 T cells all significantly correlated with better OS. Baseline increase of inflammatory cytokines/markers (IL7, IL15, IFNα, IL8, sCD40L and CRP) significantly correlated with worse OS. Despite enrichment for pts with tumor proportion score (TPS) PD-L1 0%, median OS (mOS) of the intent-to-treat population (pts who received at least 1 dose of C+N, n=13) was 13.7 months (mo) vs. 9.9 mo in Checkmate 057 aNSCLC pts with tumor proportion score (TPS) PD-L1 <10%. mOS of per-protocol pts (all 4 loading doses of C+N given over 8 weeks, n=11) was 18.5 mo. In contrast to Checkmate 057 results, where OS benefit of N favored aNSCLC with KRAS mutation (KRASm), C+N showed better mOS of 22.4 mo in EGFR/ALK/KRAS wildtype (wt) pts versus 12.3 mo in KRASm/STKwt pts. Conclusion: This study provides evidence for synergistic effects of combining B and T cell activating IO in aNSCLC pts. C+N generated higher anti-EGF titers in more pts at an earlier time point vs. C alone, which is the first demonstration in pts of enhancement of Ab responses by immune checkpoint blockade. Immune analysis identified new specific immune cell populations and inflammatory markers that significantly correlate with OS with C+N that have not been previously identified with C or N as single agents. C+N improved OS compared to historical controls of aNSCLC pts receiving N in phase III trials. Of particular note, C+N showed better OS in pts with EGFR/ALK/KRAS wt aNSCLC versus KRASm/STKwt pts. The Phase II portion of the study is ongoing.
Citation Format: Tania Crombet, Jason Muhitch, Circe Mesa, Rachel Evans, Danay S. Hernandez, Patricia L. Luaces, Zaima Mazorra, Orestes Morales, Carlos Cedeno, Aileen Cinquino, Daniel T. Fisher, Kelvin Lee, Mary Reid, Grace Dy. Evidence for synergistic immune responses in the first-in-human (FIH) combination of B cell-activating immunotherapy (IO) with anti-PD1 immune checkpoint inhibitor nivolumab (N) as 2nd-line therapy in patients (pts) with advanced non-small cell lung cancer (aNSCLC) [abstract]. In: Proceedings of the Annual Meeting of the American Association for Cancer Research 2020; 2020 Apr 27-28 and Jun 22-24. Philadelphia (PA): AACR; Cancer Res 2020;80(16 Suppl):Abstract nr CT130.