Background: A previous neoadjuvant study in patients with triple negative breast cancer (TNBC) demonstrated that low tumor infiltrating lymphocytes (TILs) after neoadjuvant chemotherapy is associated with a poor outcome. Activation of RAS/MAPK pathway has been associated with reduced TILs. Preclinical studies showed that MEK inhibitor enhances immune responses and is synergistic with anti PD-1/PD-L1 therapy in TNBC.

Methods: The standard Phase I 3+3 study design was used. Patients with unresectable locally advanced or metastatic TNBC with ≤ 3 prior lines of therapy were enrolled. Patients received single agent binimetinib for 2 weeks prior to an addition of pembrolizumab. Dose level 0 was binimetinib at 45 mg oral twice daily continuously and dose level -1 was 30 mg twice daily. Pembrolizumab was given at a fixed dose of 200 mg every 3 weeks in both dose levels. The maximum tolerated dose (MTD) was defined as the dose level below the lowest dose that induces dose-limiting toxicity (DLT) during the first 2 cycles in at least one-third of patients.

Results: A total of 12 evaluable patients were enrolled in the phase I, 4 patients in dose level 0 and 8 patients in dose level -1. In dose level 0, among 3 out of 4 patients who were evaluable for DLT, 2 patients experienced DLTs, including grade (G) 3 nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain and G3 ALT elevation. Thus, the stopping rule was met and the dose level was adjusted to dose level -1. None of the first 3 patients in dose level -1 experienced a DLT. All three experienced other ≥ G3 AEs, including 1 G3 cardiac troponin T increased and 2 with G3 hypertension. 5 additional patients were accrued to dose level -1 and were evaluable for AEs. Three of these were evaluable for DLTs. One patient had G3 ALT/AST increase, deemed a DLT. However, this patient had liver metastasis and had G1 ALT/AST elevation at baseline. Her ALT/AST normalized in 3 weeks after treatment discontinuation and oral prednisone. Other ≥ G3 toxicities in the second group of 5 patients in dose level -1 include G3 hypertension (12.5%), nausea (12.5%), hypokalemia (12.5%), neutrophil count decrease (12.5%) dyspnea (12.5%), peripheral neuropathy (12.5%), and retinal detachment (12.5%). Since less than 1/3 of patients experienced DLT and there was no ≥ G4 AE at least possibly related to treatment over all cycles at any given dose level, the MTD was determined as dose level -1. Five patients are currently enrolled in the phase II section, and 10 more patients are needed. Objective response rate analysis will be performed once study enrollment is completed.

Conclusions: The recommended phase II doses for pembrolizumab in combination with binimetinib are 200 mg every 3 weeks and 30 mg twice daily, respectively. The combination appears to be safe with manageable toxicities. Long term durable response has been observed. The phase 2 portion of this trial is currently on going.

Citation Format: Saranya Chumsri, Jun He, David Hillman, Morgan Weidner, Morgan Weidner, Dana Haley, Aline Reis, Kathleen Tenner, Pooja Advani, Kostandinos Sideras, Alvaro Moreno-Aspitia, Edith Perez, Keith Knutson. Results of phase I study of pembrolizumab in combination with binimetinib in patients with unresectable locally advanced or metastatic triple negative breast cancer [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 CT133.