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Novel Immunotherapy Shows Promise in Metastatic Cervical Cancer

Laura Panjwani
Published: Thursday, Sep 17, 2015

Tom Herzog, MD

Tom Herzog, MD

The vaccine ADXS11-001 (axalimogene filolisbac) had a 12-month overall survival (OS) rate of 38.5% (n = 10) in 26 patients with persistent or recurrent metastatic cervical cancer who had progressed on at least one prior line of systemic therapy, according to phase II study data recently released by the Gynecologic Oncology Group (GOG) and Advaxis, Inc, the company manufacturing ADXS11-001.

spoke to Tom Herzog, MD, clinical director, University of Cincinnati Cancer Institute, who recently presented the phase II ADXS11-001 data at the American Gynecological & Obstetrical Society Annual Meeting. Herzog explained the impact ADXS11-001 may have on patients with recurrent metastatic cervical cancer who currently have limited effective treatment options.

OncLive: What were the most significant findings from this trial?

Herzog: In persistent or recurrent metastatic cervical cancer, there are not a lot of options after frontline therapy. If patients do not have a durable response to frontline therapy, they are probably going to live, on average, between 4 and 7 months. There is an unmet medical need. Immunotherapy offers a possible solution to that need.

There were 26 patients in the first phase and, after a preliminary analysis, it was determined that 38.5% of patients had met the bar of 12-month OS. Based on that, the median survival was 7.7 months, which is pretty good. A large number of these patients are still alive so median survival should increase, as well.

What impact could these findings have on patient outcomes?

To say anything more than “this is a good signal” would be overstating the data because, at this point, we are just looking at stage 1 of a phase II study. However, this data does show great potential. The fact that 38.5% of patients had 12-month OS is encouraging. The bottom line is: this is an interesting agent with a good safety profile, but this is still preliminary data.

Were there any concerning toxicities with this drug?

None of the patients discontinued for treatment-related adverse events. Two patients withdrew by choice and four withdrew due to disease-progression. Most of these patients did experience grade 1 or 2 toxicities, including flu-like symptoms, such as fever and chills, and sometimes hypertension. There were only a few grade 3/4 adverse events, which were hypertension and cytokine-release syndrome.

What are the next steps in this research?

It is important to mention that there was an amendment to this protocol. It was amended to allow continuation of the vaccine every 28 days until disease progression or discontinuation due to toxicity. It is possible that giving more of the drug will produce a greater effect.
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