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Clinical Trial Summary

The purpose of the AveNEC trial is to investigate the clinical activity and safety of avelumab in patients with NEC G3 (WHO 2010), including "NET G3" who are progressive after first line chemotherapy.

Clinical Trial Description

According to the WHO classification of 2010, Neuroendocrine neoplasms (NEN) are divided into well to moderately differentiated neuroendocrine tumors (NET), which are graded depending on their proliferation status into NET G1 (Ki67 index < 2%) and NET G2 (Ki67 2-20%), and into the poorly differentiated high grade neuroendocrine Carcinomas (NEC G3, ki67 > 20%), which - depending on their morphology - are subdivided into small cell as well as large cell NECs. The vast majority (60-90%) of patients with high grade NEC are metastasized at the time of diagnosis with distant metastases present in approximately two third of the patients.

G3 neuroendocrine neoplasia according to the WHO classification of 2010 are not a homogenous entity. Based on clinical and morphological criteria a differentiated subgroup with a Ki67 in the lower proliferative range (usually between 20-55%) which is unofficially termed "NET G3", can be subdivided from the more aggressive and undifferentiated "classical" NEC G3.

The prognosis of patients with metastatic NEC G3 is poor, and median overall survival has been reported to be 5 months with a 2-year survival rate of 11 % in the SEER data base for gastrointestinal NEC. In two large series of GEP-NEC, median survival was 12-19 months for patients with best available therapy (mainly platinum based chemotherapy) and as short as 1 month for those receiving only best supportive therapy. In contrast to the "classical" NEC G3 with a poorly differentiated morphology and a Ki 67 > 55%, NET G3 typically do not respond as well to a platinum based chemotherapy but a have a somewhat better prognosis with a 4-months longer median survival as compared to classical NEC G3. Therefore, according to current guidelines other treatment options like temozolomide based chemotherapy may be considered as a first line therapy in patients with differentiated "NET G3" .

There is a strong and unmet medical need for a novel and effective second line treatment option for these highly aggressive and rapidly progressing tumors. Considering the lack of any other established therapeutic option and the very limited efficacy of alternative second or third line chemotherapy in patients with NEC G3 (WHO 2010) who are progressive after a first-line chemotherapy, the availability of a novel therapeutic option with a significant clinical benefit (SD; PR; CR) in at least 30 % of the patients and with tolerable side effects would represent an important and clinical highly relevant break through in the treatment of these aggressive tumors.

There is a strong rationale for investigating PD-1/PD-L1 blockade in NEC G3 (WHO 2010). High grade NEC as well as LCNEC of the lung show a high mutational load, what is associated with a strong immunogenicity and a better response to an anti-PDL1/PD1 immunotherapy, and increased PDL1 expression has been demonstrated in high grade NEC. In intermediate NET the degree of T-cell tumor infiltration was associated with recurrence and survival and in a study with 80 patients with bronchopulmonary NEN including high grade NEC the expression of PD-L1 and PD-1 was associated with a worse prognosis. Evidence from phase 2 to 3 trials shows antiproliferative efficacy of an anti-PDL1/PD1 immunotherapy in high grade NECs. Furthermore, Merkel cell carcinomas, which are classified as high grade neuroendocrine tumors, are sucessfully treated with Avelumab.

Avelumab is a fully human antibody that binds PD-L1 and blocks the interaction between PD-L1 and PD-1. This removes the suppressive effect of PD-L1 on anti-tumor CD8+ T cells, resulting in restoration of cytotoxic T cell response.

Given the important role of PD-L1 in the suppression of T-cell responses, and the mode of action of avelumab which blocks the interaction between PD-L1 and its receptors, avelumab is being developed as a potential therapy for subjects with various tumors.

It is assumed that at least 20-30 % of patients with progressive disease after at least one first line chemotherapy will show a significant and clinically highly relevant benefit which is defined as an objective tumor response with complete remission (CR), partial remission (PR) or stable disease (SD) according to RECIST1.1. ;

Study Design

Related Conditions & MeSH terms

NCT number NCT03352934
Study type Interventional
Source Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz
Contact Matthias M Weber, MD
Phone 00496131
Status Recruiting
Phase Phase 2
Start date December 7, 2017
Completion date January 2024

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