Robert L. Ferris, MD, PhD, discusses ongoing research with STING agonists and checkpoint inhibitors in head and neck cancer.
Robert L. Ferris, MD, PhD, director of University of Pittsburgh Medical Center (UPMC) Hillman Cancer Center, Hillman Professor of Oncology, associate vice chancellor for cancer research, professor of otolaryngology, immunology, and radiation oncology, co-director, Tumor Microenvironment Center, UPMC Hillman Cancer Center, discusses ongoing research with STING agonists and checkpoint inhibitors in head and neck cancer.
The ongoing phase 2 ADU-CL-20 trial (NCT03937141) is evaluating the efficacy and safety of intralesional ADU-S100/MIW815 in combination with pembrolizumab (Keytruda) in patients with PD-L1—positive recurrent or metastatic head and neck cancer.
In the trial, patients will receive pembrolizumab intravenously at a standard dose and schedule and ADU-S100/MIW815 intralesionally.
The goal of the trial is to determine whether lymphocyte infiltration and inflammatory biomarkers such as interferon gamma increase with the addition of the STING agonist injection, explains Ferris.
If the combination improves clinical outcomes for patients, the regimen may be investigated in earlier lines of treatment for patients with less heavily pretreated disease, says Ferris.
Additionally, further research is needed to determine whether it is possible to resensitize patients who develop acquired resistance to immunotherapy to this regimen, concludes Ferris.