Background: De-escalating strategies seem promising in HER2-positive early breast cancer (EBC) and chemo-free regimens are thus of key interest. Recent data have underlined the role of tumor immunogenicity in response to de-escalated neoadjuvant anti-HER2 therapy. Therefore, the prospective single arm hypothesis-generating phase II KEYRICHED-1 trial (NCT03988036) investigates the pCR-rate in patients with HER2-enriched EBC receiving four cycles of the dual anti-HER2 blockade in combination with the checkpoint inhibitor pembrolizumab. Initial studies with dual antibody-based HER2 blockade alone were able to achieve pCR-rates of 20-40%, which did not quite match the pCR-rates obtained with concurrent chemotherapy. KEYRICHED-1 aims at achieving pCR-rates comparable to standard chemotherapy-containing regimens by incorporating appropriate molecular selection and immune oncology.. Methods: A total of 48 pre- and postmenopausal patients with newly diagnosed HER2 2+ or 3+ EBC (stage I-III) and HER2-enriched (HER2-E) subtype by PAM50 were enrolled in this single-arm study. All patients received four cycles of study treatment with pembrolizumab (200mg), trastuzumab biosimilar (Trazimera®, loading dose 8mg/kg bodyweight (BW), maintenance dose 6mg/kg BW), and pertuzumab (loading dose 840mg/kg BW, maintenance dose 420mg/kg BW) q21d. Primary endpoint was centrally confirmed pCR (ypT0/is, ypN0). The trial was planned as a Simon's two-stage design (null and alternative pCR were 40% and 60%); interim analysis after 16 patients had to show a pCR rate of at least 50% to continue recruitment.. Results: Between 05/2020 and 03/2021, 98 patients were screened. N=52 (55%) had HER2-E subtype, of whom 48 patients entered the treatment phase. Median patient age was 57 years (28-83). 65% had tumors > 2 cm and 30% positive lymph node status. Centrally confirmed pCR-rate in surgical specimens was 46% (95% CI 0.31-0.62) in the 43 patients of the per-protocol-population, and 52% (95%CI 0.37-0.67) in all 46 evaluable patients (local assessment; two pCRs verified only by core biopsy) (p=0.22 and p=0.06 for null hypothesis, respectively). Despite HER2-E subtype, no pCR was observed in the four patients with immunohistochemical (IHC) HER2 2+/ISH-positive status in contrast to 20/39 (51.2%) pCR in IHC HER2 3+ tumors. Centrally confirmed pCR-rate in HR+/HER2+ tumors was 38.5% compared to 58.5% in HR-/HER2+ tumors. No new safety signals were observed.. Conclusions: These are the first results of a neoadjuvant chemotherapy-free 12-week de-escalation anti-HER2-regimen with trastuzumab and pertuzumab in combination with the PD-1 inhibitor pembrolizumab in patients with a HER2-E EBC. In the context of the WSG ADAPT HER2+ de-escalation trials the observed pCR-rates compare favorably in HR+ as well as HR- HER2+ EBC. Moreover, KEYRICHED-1 demonstrates that with appropriate molecular patient selection clinically meaningful pCR-rates in the range of those obtained with longer, more toxic chemotherapy-containing regimens can be achieved.
Citation Format: Sherko Kuemmel, Oleg Gluz, Mattea Reinisch, Athina Kostara, Iris Scheffen, Monika Graeser, Rachel Wuerstlein, Ulrike Nitz, Kerstin Luedtke-Heckenkamp, Andreas Hartkopf, Felix Hilpert, Angela Kentsch, Carsten Ziske, Reinhard Depenbusch, Michael Braun, Jens Blohmer, Christine zu Eulenburg, Matthias Christgen, Stephan Bartels, Hans Kreipe, Enrico Pelz, Peter Schmid, Nadia Harbeck. Keyriched-1- A prospective, multicenter, open label, neoadjuvant phase ii single arm study with pembrolizumab in combination with dual anti-HER2 blockade with trastuzumab and pertuzumab in early breast cancer patients with molecular HER2-enriched intrinsic subtype [abstract]. In: Proceedings of the 2021 San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium; 2021 Dec 7-10; San Antonio, TX. Philadelphia (PA): AACR; Cancer Res 2022;82(4 Suppl):Abstract nr PD10-11.