In the treatment-naive setting, PD-1 blockade is associated with greater response in T cell-inflamed vs non-T cell-inflamed tumors. CMP-001 is a CpG-A oligonucleotide TLR9 agonist in a virus-like particle that is hypothesized to activate tumor-associated plasmacytoid dendritic cells (pDCs) to secrete type I interferons. Through this activity, CMP-001 may convert the tumor microenvironment to a Th1-like chemokine milieu (eg, increased CXCL10) and induce an antitumor CD8+ T-cell response. We have recently reported that intratumoral injection of CMP-001 + IV pembrolizumab (pembro) had an acceptable safety profile and can reverse PD-1 blockade resistance in patients (pts) with melanoma (Milhem et al, SITC 2019). Regression was observed in injected and uninjected lesions. Herein we report pharmacodynamic and translational data.


This 2-part, open-label, multicenter, phase 1b study (NCT02680184) enrolled pts with metastatic/unresectable melanoma and stable disease (SD) or progressive disease (PD) on/after anti−PD-1 therapy. In part 1 (3+3 dose-escalation and dose-expansion), pts received CMP-001 + pembro. In part 2, pts received CMP-001 monotherapy. Determination of safety and clinical activity were the study's main objectives. Prespecified pharmacodynamic and translational studies evaluated serum chemokines and evaluated tumor biopsies using RNA and/or whole exome sequencing and immunohistochemistry for PD-L1 (reported as H-score), CD8, and CD303 (pDC marker).


As of September 30, 2020, 159 pts (part 1) and 40 pts (part 2) have been treated. A greater median fold increase of serum CXCL10 (a marker of innate immunity, n=40) was observed in responders (R) to CMP-001 + pembro (18.8x) vs nonresponders (NR) after treatment (9.9x in SD; 6.15x in PD; differences were not statistically significant). Preliminary analyses showed that interferon gene expression distinguished R vs NR. Tumor biopsy analyses (part 1, n=139; part 2, n=34) showed that pts with high PD-L1, high CD8+ T cells, or inflamed transcriptional signatures at baseline were less likely to respond to CMP-001 + pembro vs pts without inflammation markers at baseline. Baseline mean PD-L1 expression (H-score) was 8.1 in R (n=10) vs 21.8 in NR (n=49). Posttreatment biopsies generally showed increased PD-L1, CD8+ T cells, and inflamed transcriptional signatures in R vs NR. Neither tumor mutational burden nor baseline pDC density distinguished R vs NR.


In pts with anti-PD-1 refractory melanoma, intratumoral CMP-001 ± pembro appears to disproportionately induce antitumor responses in noninflamed tumors. Clinical response to CMP-001 ± pembro was associated with induction of markers of both innate and adaptive antitumor immunity.

Citation Format: Jason John Luke, Riyue Bao, John M. Kirkwood, Yousef Zakharia, Diwakar Davar, Elizabeth Buchbinder, Theresa Medina, Adil Daud, Antoni Ribas, Jiaxin Niu, Geoffrey Gibney, Kim Margolin, Anthony J. Olszanski, Inderjit Mehmi, Takami Sato, Montaser Shaheen, Aaron Morris, Dmitri Bobilev, Katie Campbell, George Weiner, James E. Wooldridge, Arthur M. Krieg, Mohammed Milhem. CMP-001 demonstrates improved response in noninflamed anti-PD-1 refractory melanoma and response is associated with serum CXCL10 [abstract]. In: Proceedings of the American Association for Cancer Research Annual Meeting 2021; 2021 Apr 10-15 and May 17-21. Philadelphia (PA): AACR; Cancer Res 2021;81(13_Suppl):Abstract nr CT032.