Journal: Journal for immunotherapy of cancer
Increasing knowledge concerning the biology of hematologic malignancies as well as the role of the immune system in the control of these diseases has led to the development and approval of immunotherapies that are resulting in impressive clinical responses. Therefore, the Society for Immunotherapy of Cancer (SITC) convened a hematologic malignancy Cancer Immunotherapy Guidelines panel consisting of physicians, nurses, patient advocates, and patients to develop consensus recommendations for the clinical application of immunotherapy for patients with multiple myeloma, lymphoma, and acute leukemia. These recommendations were developed following the previously established process based on the Institute of Medicine’s clinical practice guidelines. In doing so, a systematic literature search was performed for high-impact studies from 2004 to 2014 and was supplemented with further literature as identified by the panel. The consensus panel met in December of 2014 with the goal to generate consensus recommendations for the clinical use of immunotherapy in patients with hematologic malignancies. During this meeting, consensus panel voting along with discussion were used to rate and review the strength of the supporting evidence from the literature search. These consensus recommendations focus on issues related to patient selection, toxicity management, clinical endpoints, and the sequencing or combination of therapies. Overall, immunotherapy is rapidly emerging as an effective therapeutic strategy for the management of hematologic malignances. Evidence-based consensus recommendations for its clinical application are provided and will be updated as the field evolves.
Cancer immunotherapy has transformed the treatment of cancer. However, increasing use of immune-based therapies, including the widely used class of agents known as immune checkpoint inhibitors, has exposed a discrete group of immune-related adverse events (irAEs). Many of these are driven by the same immunologic mechanisms responsible for the drugs' therapeutic effects, namely blockade of inhibitory mechanisms that suppress the immune system and protect body tissues from an unconstrained acute or chronic immune response. Skin, gut, endocrine, lung and musculoskeletal irAEs are relatively common, whereas cardiovascular, hematologic, renal, neurologic and ophthalmologic irAEs occur much less frequently. The majority of irAEs are mild to moderate in severity; however, serious and occasionally life-threatening irAEs are reported in the literature, and treatment-related deaths occur in up to 2% of patients, varying by ICI. Immunotherapy-related irAEs typically have a delayed onset and prolonged duration compared to adverse events from chemotherapy, and effective management depends on early recognition and prompt intervention with immune suppression and/or immunomodulatory strategies. There is an urgent need for multidisciplinary guidance reflecting broad-based perspectives on how to recognize, report and manage organ-specific toxicities until evidence-based data are available to inform clinical decision-making. The Society for Immunotherapy of Cancer (SITC) established a multidisciplinary Toxicity Management Working Group, which met for a full-day workshop to develop recommendations to standardize management of irAEs. Here we present their consensus recommendations on managing toxicities associated with immune checkpoint inhibitor therapy.
With the recent regulatory approval of Talimogene laherparepvec (T-VEC) for the treatment of advanced of melanoma in the United States, Europe and Australia, oncolytic virus immunotherapy has earned its place in the clinic. However, the adoption of T-VEC by the U.S. oncology community has been slow, and so far has been largely limited to specialized cancer centers. Limiting factors include the intratumoral route of administration, which is unfamiliar to medical oncologists, biosafety concerns related to the use of a live virus in the clinic, and the explosion of other therapeutic strategies now available for the treatment of advanced melanoma. Herein, we review the development of T-VEC, and suggest how it fits into the in the current clinical treatment paradigm, and provide pearls for drug preparation, administration, and monitoring of response to therapy.
Immunotherapy has produced durable clinical benefit in patients with metastatic renal cell cancer (RCC). In the past, patients treated with interferon-alpha (IFN) and interleukin-2 (IL-2) have achieved complete responses, many of which have lasted for multiple decades. More recently, a large number of new agents have been approved for RCC, several of which attack tumor angiogenesis by inhibiting vascular endothelial growth factors (VEGF) and VEGF receptors (VEGFR), as well as tumor metabolism, inhibiting the mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR). Additionally, a new class of immunotherapy agents, immune checkpoint inhibitors, is emerging and will play a significant role in the treatment of patients with RCC. Therefore, the Society for Immunotherapy of Cancer (SITC) convened a Task Force, which met to consider the current role of approved immunotherapy agents in RCC, to provide guidance to practicing clinicians by developing consensus recommendations and to set the stage for future immunotherapeutic developments in RCC.
The Common Rule is a set of ethical principles that provide guidance on the management of human subjects taking part in biomedical and behavioral research in the United States. The elements of the Common Rule were initially developed in 1981 following a revision of the Declaration of Helsinki in 1975. Most academic facilities follow the Common Rule in the regulation of clinical trials research. Recently, the government has suggested a revision of the Common Rule to include more contemporary and streamlined oversight of clinical research. In this commentary, the leadership of the Society for Immunotherapy of Cancer (SITC) provides their opinion on this plan. While the Society recognizes the considerable contribution of clinical research in supporting progress in tumor immunotherapy and supports the need for revisions to the Common Rule, there is also some concern over certain elements which may restrict access to biospecimens and clinical data at a time when high throughput technologies, computational biology and assay standardization is allowing major advances in understanding cancer biology and providing potential predictive biomarkers of immunotherapy response. The Society values its professional commitment to patients for improving clinical outcomes with tumor immunotherapy and supports continued discussion with all stakeholders before implementing changes to the Common Rule in order to ensure maximal patient protections while promoting continued clinical research at this historic time in cancer research.
Traditional response criteria may be insufficient to characterize full clinical benefits of anticancer immunotherapies. Consequently, endpoints such as durable response rate (DRR; a continuous response [complete or partial objective response] beginning within 12 months of treatment and lasting ≥6 months) have been employed. There has not, however, been validation that DRR correlates with other more traditional endpoints of clinical benefit such as overall survival.
Prostate cancer is the most commonly diagnosed malignancy and second leading cause of cancer death among men in the United States. In recent years, several new agents, including cancer immunotherapies, have been approved or are currently being investigated in late-stage clinical trials for the management of advanced prostate cancer. Therefore, the Society for Immunotherapy of Cancer (SITC) convened a multidisciplinary panel, including physicians, nurses, and patient advocates, to develop consensus recommendations for the clinical application of immunotherapy for prostate cancer patients. To do so, a systematic literature search was performed to identify high-impact papers from 2006 until 2014 and was further supplemented with literature provided by the panel. Results from the consensus panel voting and discussion as well as the literature review were used to rate supporting evidence and generate recommendations for the use of immunotherapy in prostate cancer patients. Sipuleucel-T, an autologous dendritic cell vaccine, is the first and currently only immunotherapeutic agent approved for the clinical management of metastatic castrate resistant prostate cancer (mCRPC). The consensus panel utilized this model to discuss immunotherapy in the treatment of prostate cancer, issues related to patient selection, monitoring of patients during and post treatment, and sequence/combination with other anti-cancer treatments. Potential immunotherapies emerging from late-stage clinical trials are also discussed. As immunotherapy evolves as a therapeutic option for the treatment of prostate cancer, these recommendations will be updated accordingly.
We previously reported that talimogene laherparepvec, an oncolytic herpes virus encoding granulocyte-macrophage colony-stimulating factor (GM-CSF), resulted in an objective response rate of 26 % in patients with advanced melanoma in a phase II clinical trial. The response of individual lesions, however, was not reported. Since talimogene laherparepvec is thought to mediate anti-tumor activity through both direct tumor cytolysis and induction of systemic tumor-specific immunity, we sought to determine the independent response rate in virus-injected and non-injected lesions.
The currently-used modes of administration of immunotherapeutic agents result in their limited delivery to the lymph nodes and/or require repetitive ultrasound-guided nodal injections or microsurgical lymphatic injections, limiting their feasibility. Here, we report on the feasibility and safety of a new method of long-term repetitive intralymphatic (IL) infusion of immune cells, using implantable delivery ports.
The efficacy of PD-1/PD-L1 targeted therapies in addition to anti-CTLA-4 solidifies immunotherapy as a modality to add to the anticancer arsenal. Despite raising the bar of clinical efficacy, immunologically targeted agents raise new challenges to conventional drug development paradigms by highlighting the limited relevance of assessing standard pharmacokinetics (PK) and pharmacodynamics (PD). Specifically, systemic and intratumoral immune effects have not consistently correlated with standard relationships between systemic dose, toxicity, and efficacy for cytotoxic therapies. Hence, PK and PD paradigms remain inadequate to guide the selection of doses and schedules, both starting and recommended Phase 2 for immunotherapies. The promise of harnessing the immune response against cancer must also be considered in light of unique and potentially serious toxicities. Refining immune endpoints to better inform clinical trial design represents a high priority challenge. The Cancer Immunotherapy Trials Network investigators review the immunodynamic effects of specific classes of immunotherapeutic agents to focus immune assessment modalities and sites, both systemic and importantly intratumoral, which are critical to the success of the rapidly growing field of immuno-oncology.