Meeting Abstract | 2021 ASCO Annual Meeting I


Background: Merkel cell carcinoma (MCC) is a rare and aggressive skin cancer. Although MCC is considered chemosensitive, patients typically have limited survival benefit with chemotherapy. Before the approval of immune checkpoint inhibitors, patients with metastatic MCC (mMCC) had a poor prognosis, with a historical 5-year overall survival (OS) rate of approximately 14%. Avelumab (anti–PD-L1) became the first approved treatment for patients with mMCC, based on efficacy and safety data observed in the phase 2 JAVELIN Merkel 200 trial (NCT02155647), in which patients with mMCC received avelumab monotherapy. We report the long-term OS data from the cohort of patients with mMCC whose disease had progressed after ≥1 prior line of chemotherapy. Methods: Eligible patients had histologically confirmed, measurable (per RECIST 1.1) stage IV MCC. Patients received avelumab 10 mg/kg by intravenous infusion every 2 weeks until confirmed disease progression, unacceptable toxicity, or withdrawal. Long-term OS was analyzed; updated data for other efficacy endpoints, including response and progression-free survival, were not obtained. Results: A total of 88 patients were enrolled and received avelumab treatment. As of September 25, 2020 (data cutoff), median follow-up was 65.1 months (range, 60.8-74.1 months). Median OS was 12.6 months (95% CI, 7.5-17.1 months); the 48- and 60-month OS rates were 30% (95% CI, 20%-40%) and 26% (95% CI, 17%-36%), respectively. At data cutoff, treatment was ongoing in 1 patient (1.1%) and an additional patient (1.1%) had reinitiated avelumab after previously discontinuing treatment. Reasons for treatment discontinuation were disease progression (n = 45 [51.1%]), adverse event (AE; n = 11 [12.5%]), death (n = 10 [11.4%]), withdrawal of consent (n = 9 [10.2%]), loss to follow-up (n = 1 [1.1%]), protocol noncompliance (n = 1 [1.1%]), and other reason (n = 10 [11.4%]). At data cutoff, 19 patients (21.6%) had discontinued treatment but remained in follow-up, and 63 patients (71.6%) had died; causes of death were disease progression (n = 49 [55.7%]), unknown reason (n = 9 [10.2%]), AE not related to study treatment (n = 3 [3.4%]), and other reason (n = 2 [2.3%]). In total, 26 patients (29.5%) received subsequent anticancer therapy; the most common subsequent therapies after trial discontinuation were avelumab (n = 4 [4.5%]), carboplatin and etoposide (n = 4 [4.5%]), and pembrolizumab (n = 4 [4.5%]). Conclusions: Avelumab monotherapy led to meaningful long-term OS in a subset of patients with mMCC whose disease had progressed after chemotherapy. These results further support the role of avelumab as a standard-of-care treatment for patients with mMCC. Clinical trial information: NCT02155647.

© 2021 by American Society of Clinical Oncology

Research Sponsor:

Funded by Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany as part of an alliance between Merck KGaA and Pfizer


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DOI: 10.1200/JCO.2021.39.15_suppl.9517 Journal of Clinical Oncology 39, no. 15_suppl (May 20, 2021) 9517-9517.

Published online May 28, 2021.

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