NBTXR3 Activated by Radiotherapy in Combination With Nivolumab or Pembrolizumab in Patients With Advanced Cancers: A Phase I Trial

Shen C, Frakes JM, Niu J, Rosenberg AJ, Weiss J, Caudell JJ, et al.


Colette Shen1, Jessica Frakes2, Jiaxin Niu3, Jared Weiss1, Jimmy Caudell2, Katherine Jameson4, Patricia Said4, Tanguy Seiwert5

1 – University of North Carolina School of Medicine;
2 – Moffitt Cancer Center;
3 – Banner MD Anderson Cancer Center;
4 – Nanobiotix;
5 – Johns Hopkins Medicine


Purpose/Objective(s): Immune checkpoint inhibitors (ICIs) have led to improved treatment outcomes in a variety of cancers; however, the majority of patients exhibit resistance to ICIs. Overcoming this resistance is a major challenge in immune-oncology. Radiation therapy (RT) has emerged as a promising combination with ICIs since it may act synergistically with ICIs by producing an immunomodulatory effect. NBTXR3, composed of functionalized hafnium oxide nanoparticles, is injected intratumorally and activated by RT. NBTXR3 increases RT energy deposit inside tumor cells and subsequent tumor cell death, without adding toxicity to healthy tissues. Preclinical data demonstrate NBTXR3/RT can trigger a local and systemic anti-tumor immune response and overcome anti-PD-1 resistance. NBTXR3/RT combined with anti-PD-1 may prime the immune system to increase the proportion of ICI responders or convert ICI non-responders to responders.

Materials/Methods: This multicenter, open-label, phase I trial [NCT03589339] is evaluating NBTXR3/RT/anti-PD-1 in 3 cohorts: (1) Locoregional recurrent or recurrent and metastatic head and neck squamous cell carcinoma (HNSCC) amenable to HN re-irradiation and (2) lung or (3) liver metastases from any primary cancer eligible for anti-PD-1. Stereotactic body RT (SBRT) is delivered at tumor-site selective doses per standard practice. The primary objective is to determine the NBTXR3/RT/anti-PD-1 recommended phase 2 dose in each cohort. Secondary objectives are anti-tumor response (objective response rate), safety, and feasibility of NBTXR3 injection.

Results: Nine patients have been treated: 3 HNSCC, 4 lung, 2 liver. Overall tumor regression was observed in 8/9 patients of which 7 were anti-PD-1 non-responders. A complete response lasting over 1 year was observed in the injected lymph node in 1 anti-PD-1 naïve patient. 2 SAEs related to anti-PD-1 and possibly related to NBTXR3 (G5 pneumonitis, G4 hyperglycemia) were observed in 1 anti-PD-1 naïve HNSCC patient and considered DLTs. This patient also experienced 2 other G4 SAEs related to anti-PD-1 (diabetic ketoacidosis, acute kidney injury). SBRT-related safety profile was as expected. Updated safety and efficacy results with additional patients and longer follow-up will be presented.

Conclusion: Safety data from this first-in-human phase I trial evaluating NBTXR3/RT/anti-PD-1 in patients with advanced cancers, show NBTXR3 intratumoral injection is feasible and well-tolerated in HNSCC, lung, and liver. NBTXR3/RT/anti-PD-1 demonstrated promising signs of efficacy and led to tumor regression in patients having progressed on prior anti-PD-1. These data support further development of NBTXR3 in combination with anti-PD-1 as well as other ICIs.

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