First-in-human phase I/Ib study of NIZ985, a recombinant heterodimer of IL-15 and IL-15Rα, as a single agent and in combination with spartalizumab in patients with advanced and metastatic solid tumors.

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J Immunother Cancer


oregon; chiles; Humans; Middle Aged; Antibodies, Monoclonal; Antibodies, Monoclonal, Humanized; Antineoplastic Agents; Immune Checkpoint Inhibitors; Interleukin-15; Melanoma; Neoplasms, Second Primary; Adult; Aged; Aged, 80 and over


BACKGROUND: Preclinically, interleukin-15 (IL-15) monotherapy promotes antitumor immune responses, which are enhanced when IL-15 is used in combination with immune checkpoint inhibitors (ICIs). This first-in-human study investigated NIZ985, a recombinant heterodimer comprising physiologically active IL-15 and IL-15 receptor α, as monotherapy and in combination with spartalizumab, an anti-programmed cell death protein-1 (anti-PD-1) monoclonal antibody, in patients with advanced solid tumors.

METHODS: This phase I/Ib study had two dose-escalation arms: single-agent NIZ985 administered subcutaneously thrice weekly (TIW, 2 weeks on/2 weeks off) or once weekly (QW, 3 weeks on/1 week off), and NIZ985 TIW or QW administered subcutaneously plus spartalizumab (400 mg intravenously every 4 weeks (Q4W)). The dose-expansion phase investigated NIZ985 1 µg/kg TIW/spartalizumab 400 mg Q4W in patients with anti-PD-1-sensitive or anti-PD-1-resistant tumor types stratified according to approved indications. The primary objectives were the safety, tolerability, and the maximum tolerated doses (MTDs) and/or recommended dose for expansion (RDE) of NIZ985 for the dose-expansion phase.

RESULTS: As of February 17, 2020, 83 patients (median age: 63 years; range: 28-85) were treated in dose escalation (N=47; single-agent NIZ985: n=27; NIZ985/spartalizumab n=20) and dose expansion (N=36). No dose-limiting toxicities occurred nor was the MTD identified. The most common treatment-related adverse event (TRAE) was injection site reaction (primarily grades 1-2; single-agent NIZ985: 85% (23/27)); NIZ985/spartalizumab: 89% [50/56]). The most common grade 3-4 TRAE was decreased lymphocyte count (single-agent NIZ985: 7% [2/27]; NIZ985/spartalizumab: 5% [3/56]). The best overall response was stable disease in the single-agent arm (30% (8/27)) and partial response in the NIZ985/spartalizumab arm (5% [3/56]; melanoma, pancreatic cancer, gastric cancer). In dose expansion, the disease control rate was 45% (5/11) in the anti-PD-1-sensitive and 20% (5/25) in the anti-PD-1-resistant tumor type cohorts. Pharmacokinetic parameters were similar across arms. The transient increase in CD8+ T cell and natural killer cell proliferation and induction of several cytokines occurred in response to the single-agent and combination treatments.

CONCLUSIONS: NIZ985 was well tolerated in the single-agent and NIZ985/spartalizumab regimens. The RDE was established at 1 µg/kg TIW. Antitumor activity of the combination was observed against tumor types known to have a poor response to ICIs.


Clinical Institute