Head and Neck Cancers Coverage from Every Angle

ESMO 2019: Monalizumab Monotherapy for Resistant Head/Neck Cancer

By: Cordi Craig
Posted: Tuesday, October 22, 2019

The results of a substudy of the UPSTREAM trial, presented at the European Society for Medical Oncology (ESMO) Congress 2019 in Barcelona (Abstract 1109O), revealed that monalizumab monotherapy does not appear to be an effective treatment of patients with recurrent or metastatic squamous cell carcinoma of the head and neck. Thus far, nivolumab and pembrolizumab are the only immunotherapies that have shown meaningful responses in this patient population. However, Jean-Pascal Machiels, MD, PhD, of Cliniques Universitaires Saint-Luc, Brussels, and colleagues suggest that monalizumab has a favorable safety profile and is being investigated as a treatment option in combination with durvalumab.

The efficacy of monalizumab monotherapy was evaluated as part of a phase II, single-arm, proof-of-concept substudy of the UPSTREAM trial. The investigators treated 27 patients with recurrent or metastatic squamous cell carcinoma of the head and neck with monalizumab. All patients had stage I cancer of the oral cavity (26%), oropharynx (41%), hypopharynx (28%), or larynx (7%). Of those patients, 16 were pretreated with anti–PD-L1 compounds.

No objective responses were recorded. The authors observed disease progression in all but one patient. The median progression-free survival was 7.4 weeks. Based on the 16 deaths that occurred, the median overall survival was 27.7 weeks (13–53.9 weeks).

Monalizumab was associated with a favorable safety profile, according to the study authors. Overall, 59% of the patient population reported grade 3 or higher adverse events, although none were related to treatment.

Disclosure: The study authors’ disclosure information may be found at cslide.ctimeetingtech.com.


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