Therapeutic combinations targeting innate and adaptive immunity and predictive biomarkers of response in esophagogastric cancer (EGC) are needed. We assessed safety and clinical utility of DKN-01 (a novel DKK1-neutralizing IgG4 antibody) combined with pembrolizumab and retrospectively determined DKK1 tumoral expression as a biomarker. Patients with advanced EGC received intravenous DKN-01 (150 or 300 mg) on days 1 and 15 with pembrolizumab 200 mg on day 1 in 21-day cycles. Clinical response was assessed by RECIST v1.1. Association of tumoral DKK1 mRNA expression (H-score: high ≥ upper-tertile, low < upper-tertile) with response was assessed with PD-L1 levels as a covariate. Sixty-three patients received DKN-01 150 mg (n ¼ 2) or 300 mg (n ¼ 61) plus pembrolizumab. Common adverse events were fatigue, anemia, blood alkaline phosphatase elevation, aspartate aminotransferase elevation, and hyponatremia. Among evaluable anti-PD-1/PD-L1-naïve patients receiving DKN-01 300 mg and pembrolizumab, objective response rate (ORR) was 11.4% (5/44) and 18.5% (5/27) in patients with gastroesophageal junction or gastric cancer (GEJ/GC). Among response-evaluable anti-PD-1/PD-L1-naïve patients with GEJ/GC and known tumoral DKK1 expression, ORR was 50% in DKK1-high and 0% in DKK1-low patients, median PFS was 22.1 vs. 5.9 weeks (HR, 0.24; 95% CI, 0.08-0.67), respectively, and median OS was 31.6 weeks vs. 17.4 weeks (HR, 0.41; 95% CI, 0.16-1.07), respectively. Association of DKK1 expression with PFS was independent of PD-L1 expression (adjusted HR, 0.21; 95% CI, 0.06-0.69). DKN-01 combined with pembrolizumab was well tolerated with no new safety signals. Antitumor activity was enriched in anti-PD-1/PD-L1-naïve patients with GEJ/GC whose tumors expressed high DKK1.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cancer Research