5 years ago

Baseline lymphopenia should not be used as exclusion criteria in early clinical trials investigating immune checkpoint blockers (PD-1/PD-L1 inhibitors)

A number of phase I immunotherapy trials for cancer patients incorporate the absolute lymphocyte count (ALC) as an inclusion criteria. This study aims to assess whether ALC is associated with a lack of response to anti-PD-1/PD-L1 in early clinical trials. Methods All consecutive patients treated with anti-PD-1/PD-L1 monotherapy in phase I trials in our institution between December 2011 and January 2014 were reviewed. Baseline ALC, neutrophil-to-lymphocyte ratio (NLR), Royal-Marsden Hospital (RMH) prognostic score, objective response rate (ORR) and disease control rate (DCR = SD + PR + CR, stable disease (SD), partial response (PR), complete response (CR)) defined by Response Evaluation Criteria In Solid Tumours (RECIST) version 1.1 were retrieved. Results Out of a total of 167 patients, 48 (28.7%) and 8 patients (4.8%) had baseline ALCs of <1 G/l and <0.5 G/l, respectively. The RECIST change (%) was not correlated with ALC (G/l) (Spearman's rho = −0.06, P = 0.43). We did not observe any difference in terms of ORR (8.3% versus 15.1%, P = 0.32) or of DCR (58.3% versus 61.3%, P = 0.73) between patients with ALC <1 G/l versus >1 G/l. When using 0.5 G/l as ALC threshold, we did not find any difference either in ORR or in DCR. In a multivariate Cox regression analysis, baseline ALC was not associated with overall survival, whereas the RMH and the number of previous lines of treatment remained independent prognostic factors. Conclusions Baseline ALC was not associated with response to anti-PD-1/PD-L1 in cancer patients enrolled in phase I trials. Patients should not be excluded from early phase clinical trials testing immune checkpoints blockers because of ALC.

Publisher URL: www.sciencedirect.com/science

DOI: S095980491731153X

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