Breelyn Wilky, MD, an associate professor of Medicine, Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Care, University of Miami Health System, discusses the design of a phase II trial investigating concurrent axitinib (Inlyta) and pembrolizumab (Keytruda) in patients with advanced alveolar soft part sarcoma and other soft tissue sarcomas.
Immunotherapy has dramatic responses for patients with sarcoma but it doesn’t work for everyone, states Wilky. One of the reasons oncologists believe immunotherapy may not be as successful is the potential problem of getting the immune cells into the tumor. The immune cells must be in the right location for them to be activated by the checkpoint inhibitors.
Research has been done to demonstrate that VEGF also has direct effects in shutting down the immune system in tumors. The concept of this phase II trial was to use a VEGF blocker to allow immune cells into the tumor and then use the checkpoint inhibitor.