Discover the most talked about and latest scientific content & concepts.

Concept: Monoclonal antibodies


Background Dupilumab, a human monoclonal antibody against interleukin-4 receptor alpha, inhibits signaling of interleukin-4 and interleukin-13, type 2 cytokines that may be important drivers of atopic or allergic diseases such as atopic dermatitis. Methods In two randomized, placebo-controlled, phase 3 trials of identical design (SOLO 1 and SOLO 2), we enrolled adults with moderate-to-severe atopic dermatitis whose disease was inadequately controlled by topical treatment. Patients were randomly assigned in a 1:1:1 ratio to receive, for 16 weeks, subcutaneous dupilumab (300 mg) or placebo weekly or the same dose of dupilumab every other week alternating with placebo. The primary outcome was the proportion of patients who had both a score of 0 or 1 (clear or almost clear) on the Investigator’s Global Assessment and a reduction of 2 points or more in that score from baseline at week 16. Results We enrolled 671 patients in SOLO 1 and 708 in SOLO 2. In SOLO 1, the primary outcome occurred in 85 patients (38%) who received dupilumab every other week and in 83 (37%) who received dupilumab weekly, as compared with 23 (10%) who received placebo (P<0.001 for both comparisons with placebo). The results were similar in SOLO 2, with the primary outcome occurring in 84 patients (36%) who received dupilumab every other week and in 87 (36%) who received dupilumab weekly, as compared with 20 (8%) who received placebo (P<0.001 for both comparisons). In addition, in the two trials, an improvement from baseline to week 16 of at least 75% on the Eczema Area and Severity Index was reported in significantly more patients who received each regimen of dupilumab than in patients who received placebo (P<0.001 for all comparisons). Dupilumab was also associated with improvement in other clinical end points, including reduction in pruritus and symptoms of anxiety or depression and improvement in quality of life. Injection-site reactions and conjunctivitis were more frequent in the dupilumab groups than in the placebo groups. Conclusions In two phase 3 trials of identical design involving patients with atopic dermatitis, dupilumab improved the signs and symptoms of atopic dermatitis, including pruritus, symptoms of anxiety and depression, and quality of life, as compared with placebo. Trials of longer duration are needed to assess the long-term effectiveness and safety of dupilumab. (Funded by Sanofi and Regeneron Pharmaceuticals; SOLO 1 number, NCT02277743 ; SOLO 2 number, NCT02277769 .).

Concepts: Clinical trial, Cytokine, Monoclonal antibodies,, Allergy, Placebo, Interleukin 4, Regeneron


Background An evolving understanding of the immunopathogenesis of multiple sclerosis suggests that depleting B cells could be useful for treatment. We studied ocrelizumab, a humanized monoclonal antibody that selectively depletes CD20-expressing B cells, in the primary progressive form of the disease. Methods In this phase 3 trial, we randomly assigned 732 patients with primary progressive multiple sclerosis in a 2:1 ratio to receive intravenous ocrelizumab (600 mg) or placebo every 24 weeks for at least 120 weeks and until a prespecified number of confirmed disability progression events had occurred. The primary end point was the percentage of patients with disability progression confirmed at 12 weeks in a time-to-event analysis. Results The percentage of patients with 12-week confirmed disability progression was 32.9% with ocrelizumab versus 39.3% with placebo (hazard ratio, 0.76; 95% confidence interval [CI], 0.59 to 0.98; P=0.03). The percentage of patients with 24-week confirmed disability progression was 29.6% with ocrelizumab versus 35.7% with placebo (hazard ratio, 0.75; 95% CI, 0.58 to 0.98; P=0.04). By week 120, performance on the timed 25-foot walk worsened by 38.9% with ocrelizumab versus 55.1% with placebo (P=0.04); the total volume of brain lesions on T2-weighted magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) decreased by 3.4% with ocrelizumab and increased by 7.4% with placebo (P<0.001); and the percentage of brain-volume loss was 0.90% with ocrelizumab versus 1.09% with placebo (P=0.02). There was no significant difference in the change in the Physical Component Summary score of the 36-Item Short-Form Health Survey. Infusion-related reactions, upper respiratory tract infections, and oral herpes infections were more frequent with ocrelizumab than with placebo. Neoplasms occurred in 2.3% of patients who received ocrelizumab and in 0.8% of patients who received placebo; there was no clinically significant difference between groups in the rates of serious adverse events and serious infections. Conclusions Among patients with primary progressive multiple sclerosis, ocrelizumab was associated with lower rates of clinical and MRI progression than placebo. Extended observation is required to determine the long-term safety and efficacy of ocrelizumab. (Funded by F. Hoffmann-La Roche; ORATORIO number, NCT01194570 .).

Concepts: Clinical trial, Monoclonal antibodies, Magnetic resonance imaging, Multiple sclerosis, Respiratory system, Upper respiratory tract, Upper respiratory tract infection, Hoffmann–La Roche


Background Pembrolizumab is a humanized monoclonal antibody against programmed death 1 (PD-1) that has antitumor activity in advanced non-small-cell lung cancer (NSCLC), with increased activity in tumors that express programmed death ligand 1 (PD-L1). Methods In this open-label, phase 3 trial, we randomly assigned 305 patients who had previously untreated advanced NSCLC with PD-L1 expression on at least 50% of tumor cells and no sensitizing mutation of the epidermal growth factor receptor gene or translocation of the anaplastic lymphoma kinase gene to receive either pembrolizumab (at a fixed dose of 200 mg every 3 weeks) or the investigator’s choice of platinum-based chemotherapy. Crossover from the chemotherapy group to the pembrolizumab group was permitted in the event of disease progression. The primary end point, progression-free survival, was assessed by means of blinded, independent, central radiologic review. Secondary end points were overall survival, objective response rate, and safety. Results Median progression-free survival was 10.3 months (95% confidence interval [CI], 6.7 to not reached) in the pembrolizumab group versus 6.0 months (95% CI, 4.2 to 6.2) in the chemotherapy group (hazard ratio for disease progression or death, 0.50; 95% CI, 0.37 to 0.68; P<0.001). The estimated rate of overall survival at 6 months was 80.2% in the pembrolizumab group versus 72.4% in the chemotherapy group (hazard ratio for death, 0.60; 95% CI, 0.41 to 0.89; P=0.005). The response rate was higher in the pembrolizumab group than in the chemotherapy group (44.8% vs. 27.8%), the median duration of response was longer (not reached [range, 1.9+ to 14.5+ months] vs. 6.3 months [range, 2.1+ to 12.6+]), and treatment-related adverse events of any grade were less frequent (occurring in 73.4% vs. 90.0% of patients), as were grade 3, 4, or 5 treatment-related adverse events (26.6% vs. 53.3%). Conclusions In patients with advanced NSCLC and PD-L1 expression on at least 50% of tumor cells, pembrolizumab was associated with significantly longer progression-free and overall survival and with fewer adverse events than was platinum-based chemotherapy. (Funded by Merck; KEYNOTE-024 number, NCT02142738 .).

Concepts: Immune system, Cancer, Oncology, Lung cancer, Non-small cell lung carcinoma, Epidermal growth factor receptor, Epidermal growth factor, Monoclonal antibodies


Gastrointestinal stromal tumor (GIST) is the most common sarcoma of the gastrointestinal tract and arises from the interstitial cells of Cajal. It is characterized by expression of the receptor tyrosine kinase CD117 (KIT). In 70-80% of GIST cases, oncogenic mutations in KIT are present, leading to constitutive activation of the receptor, which drives the proliferation of these tumors. Treatment of GIST with imatinib, a small-molecule tyrosine kinase inhibitor, inhibits KIT-mediated signaling and initially results in disease control in 70-85% of patients with KIT-positive GIST. However, the vast majority of patients eventually develop resistance to imatinib treatment, leading to disease progression and posing a significant challenge in the clinical management of these tumors. Here, we show that an anti-KIT monoclonal antibody (mAb), SR1, is able to slow the growth of three human GIST cell lines in vitro. Importantly, these reductions in cell growth were equivalent between imatinib-resistant and imatinib-sensitive GIST cell lines. Treatment of GIST cell lines with SR1 reduces cell-surface KIT expression, suggesting that mAb-induced KIT down-regulation may be a mechanism by which SR1 inhibits GIST growth. Furthermore, we also show that SR1 treatment enhances phagocytosis of GIST cells by macrophages, indicating that treatment with SR1 may enhance immune cell-mediated tumor clearance. Finally, using two xenotransplantation models of imatinib-sensitive and imatinib-resistant GIST, we demonstrate that SR1 is able to strongly inhibit tumor growth in vivo. These results suggest that treatment with mAbs targeting KIT may represent an alternative, or complementary, approach for treating GIST.

Concepts: Immune system, Protein, Cancer, Bacteria, Signal transduction, Monoclonal antibodies, Enzyme inhibitor, Gastrointestinal stromal tumor


Anti-drug antibodies (ADAs) against biologic agents may be clinically significant and potentially alter a biologic drug’s treatment efficacy. This systematic review aims to 1) determine the prevalence of ADAs against infliximab, etanercept, adalimumab, and ustekinumab in psoriasis patients; 2) ascertain whether ADAs are associated with changes in drug efficacy; and 3) explore the use of concomitant methotrexate to prevent ADA formation. Through a systematic search using MEDLINE and EMBASE from January 29, 1950 to March 29, 2013, we identified 25 studies that met the inclusion criteria. Of 7,969 psoriasis patients, 950 patients tested positive for ADAs. Antibodies against infliximab, etanercept, adalimumab, and ustekinumab were reported in 5.4%-43.6%, 0.0%-18.3%, 6.6%-44.8%, and 3.8%-5.5% of patients, respectively. Anti-infliximab antibodies were associated with lower serum infliximab concentrations in three studies and decreased treatment response in five studies. ADAs against etanercept were non-neutralizing and not associated with any apparent effects on clinical response. Anti-adalimumab antibodies were associated with lower serum adalimumab concentrations in three of five studies and reduced clinical efficacy in four studies. Two of six studies reported that anti-ustekinumab antibodies were associated with lower PASI responses, and three ustekinumab studies noted that most of these antibodies were neutralizing. Although the use of concomitant methotrexate with biologic agents to prevent ADA formation in other immune-mediated diseases is promising, their use in psoriasis is sparse. ADA development remains a challenge with biologic therapies and therefore should be considered in psoriasis patients who experience diminished treatment response. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.

Concepts: Monoclonal antibodies, Rheumatoid arthritis, Infliximab, Ankylosing spondylitis, Psoriatic arthritis, Psoriasis, Etanercept, Adalimumab


Alzheimer’s disease (AD) is characterized by deposition of amyloid-β (Aβ) plaques and neurofibrillary tangles in the brain, accompanied by synaptic dysfunction and neurodegeneration. Antibody-based immunotherapy against Aβ to trigger its clearance or mitigate its neurotoxicity has so far been unsuccessful. Here we report the generation of aducanumab, a human monoclonal antibody that selectively targets aggregated Aβ. In a transgenic mouse model of AD, aducanumab is shown to enter the brain, bind parenchymal Aβ, and reduce soluble and insoluble Aβ in a dose-dependent manner. In patients with prodromal or mild AD, one year of monthly intravenous infusions of aducanumab reduces brain Aβ in a dose- and time-dependent manner. This is accompanied by a slowing of clinical decline measured by Clinical Dementia Rating-Sum of Boxes and Mini Mental State Examination scores. The main safety and tolerability findings are amyloid-related imaging abnormalities. These results justify further development of aducanumab for the treatment of AD. Should the slowing of clinical decline be confirmed in ongoing phase 3 clinical trials, it would provide compelling support for the amyloid hypothesis.

Concepts: Alzheimer's disease, Neuron, Clinical trial, Monoclonal antibodies, Neurology, Dementia, Mental status examination, Neurofibrillary tangle


Food allergy has increased dramatically in prevalence over the past decade in westernized countries, and is now a major public health problem. Unfortunately for patients with food allergy, there is no effective therapy beyond food allergen avoidance, and rapid medical treatment for accidental exposures. Recently, oral immunotherapy (OIT) has been investigated as a treatment for this problem. In this review, we will discuss the progress in developing OIT for food allergy, including a novel approach utilizing Xolair (anti-IgE monoclonal antibody, omalizumab) in combination with OIT. This combination may enhance both the safety and efficacy of oral immunotherapy, and could lead to a widely available and safe therapy for food allergy.

Concepts: Immune system, Medicine, Asthma, Monoclonal antibodies, Immunology, Immunoglobulin E, Allergy, Food allergy


The efficacy of combined therapies of oxaliplatin-based chemotherapy and anti-epidermal growth factor receptor (anti-EGFR) monoclonal antibodies (MAbs) remains controversial in colorectal cancer (CRC). The aim of this study is to estimate the efficacy and safety of adding cetuximab or panitumumab to oxaliplatin-based chemotherapy in the first line treatment in KRAS wild type patients with metastatic colorectal cancer (mCRC) through meta-analysis.

Concepts: Immune system, Cancer, Epidermal growth factor receptor, Monoclonal antibodies, Colorectal cancer, Cetuximab, Growth factor receptor, Panitumumab


BackgroundOnly patients with wild-type (WT) KRAS tumors benefit from anti-epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) monoclonal antibodies (Mabs) in metastatic colorectal cancer (mCRC). Pyrosequencing is now widely used for the determination of KRAS mutation burden and a conservative cut-off point of 10% has been defined. Up until now, the impact of low-frequency KRAS mutations (<10%) on the response to anti-EGFR Mabs has yet to be evaluated.Patients and methodsTumors from patients receiving anti-EGFR Mabs based on a WT genotype for KRAS, as determined using direct sequencing, have been retrospectively analyzed by pyrosequencing. Patients were categorized as WT (no KRAS mutation) or low-frequency mutation when KRAS mutation was <10% (KRAS low MT).ResultsA total of 168 patients treated by anti-EGFR Mabs for mCRC were analyzed. According to pyrosequencing, 138 tumors remained KRAS WT, while 30 tumors were KRAS low MT. In the KRAS low MT and KRAS WT groups, the response rates were 6.7% and 37.0%, respectively, while stabilization amounted to 23.3% versus 32.6% and progression to 70% versus 29% (P < 0.01). Progression-free survival (PFS) was 2.7 ± 0.5 months for KRAS low MT and was 6.0 ± 0.3 months for KRAS WT (P < 0.01).ConclusionsThese results appear to validate consideration of low-frequency KRAS mutation tumors as positive, and justify a large-scale prospective study.

Concepts: Immune system, Cancer, Evolution, Epidermal growth factor receptor, Monoclonal antibodies, Biotechnology, Colorectal cancer, Cetuximab