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Novel Combination Shows Early Efficacy in Ovarian Cancer

Brandon Scalea
Published: Thursday, Aug 16, 2018

David O' Malley, MD

David O'Malley, MD
Recent data suggested that the antibody-drug conjugate mirvetuximab soravtansine is efficacious and well tolerated in patients with folate receptor alpha (FRα)-positive ovarian cancer. Now, maturing safety and activity profiles from the FORWARD II trial presented at the 2018 ASCO Annual Meeting indicate the agent pairs well with bevacizumab (Avastin).

In an interview with OncLive, O’Malley, a professor in the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, The Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Center, discussed the emerging combination of mirvetuximab soravtansine plus bevacizumab and the evolving treatment landscape in ovarian cancer.

OncLive: Please provide an overview of this abstract.

O’Malley: This is a combination of mirvetuximab soravtansine and bevacizumab. This is part of a larger phase Ia/Ib trial looking at 3 separate combinations [with] mirvetuximab soravtansine.

What activity did you see in terms of efficacy?

We reported on patients with mature data on efficacy. Of those we saw—depending on how we break down the populations—out of the overall population, we saw about a 40% ORR with PFS of about 9 months. Now, because we have both the escalation and the expansion cohorts, we broke those down into subsets [of patients who received] 1 to 3 prior therapies and medium to high FRα  expression. Also, we took another subgroup that would be consistent with 1 to 2 prior therapies and medium to high FRα expression.

Could FRα potentially be a solid biomarker?

FRα has started to pan out and clearly show that it is a biomarker for mirvetuximab. When we originally looked at this, we included both low expression at 25% to 50%, medium expression at 50% to 75%, and high expression at >75%. As we've been able to garner greater experience with this agent, we are clearly showing that patients with medium and high expression tend to do better both in the overall and progression-free response rates. That is why we're concentrating on patients with medium and high expression as we move forward. Interestingly, we still see some marked responses in those with low expression.

What is it about mirvetuximab soravtansine that makes it such an intriguing agent in the field of ovarian cancer?

With FRα being so highly expressed in the majority of ovarian cancer cells, we are able to target those cells and get that drug directly into the cancer cells, limiting our toxicity. With its microtubule mechanism, we see this as a taxane-like agent without alopecia and neuropathy.

Can you discuss some of the safety data from the trial?

Interestingly, with the combination, we didn't see any safety signals beyond what you would expect to see with bevacizumab or mirvetuximab [alone]. We were able to combine these 2 drugs without any added toxicity. We saw some hypertension like you would in a patient who takes bevacizumab alone and we saw similar levels of gastrointestinal toxicity that you'd see with single-agent mirvetuximab soravtansine. Those did not seem to increase when we combined those agents. Is there synergy between bevacizumab and mirvetuximab soravtansine? I'm not sure we can say there's synergy between the 2 agents quite yet. This is one of the things we're trying to figure out. We're definitely seeing that we can increase our PFS, and it also appears we can increase ORR, similar with what we've seen with standard cytotoxic chemotherapies. Mirvetuximab soravtansine, on its own, is such an active drug in the FRα expressers that we really see the impact on PFS. We're seeing this now approach 10 months in patients with platinum-resistant, heavily pretreated ovarian cancer. These are some pretty exciting results here.

What are some next steps to this study?

Currently, FORWARD I has completed enrollment in a randomized phase III trial of single-agent mirvetuximab soravtansine in platinum-resistant patients. We are looking forward to seeing those results in the next year or so. However, what we're looking at is utilizing mirvetuximab soravtansine—anywhere that we've used it has also included paclitaxel. We're hoping to see the opportunities potentially go into the platinum-sensitive setting and maybe one day go into upfront treatment. We're not quite there yet.

What other tumor types could mirvetuximab soravtansine be used in?

Right now, we're looking at other tissues that express folate receptors. For example, we're looking at non–small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) and certain uterine cancers. As we gather some more information on those diseases and we can get more into clinical trials, this is a good opportunity to use this agent well beyond ovarian cancer, uterine cancer, and NSCLC.
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