Pembrolizumab shows clinical activity in advanced sarcoma

2017-12-01

Previously, advanced sarcoma treatment has been confined to surgery, radiation therapy and chemotherapy, creating a need for additional treatment options. Though immunotherapy has been approved for various cancer types, the number of studies that investigate the impact of immunotherapy in advanced sarcoma remains low. To assess whether immunotherapy is suitable for advanced sarcoma, researchers conducted a single-arm, phase 2 SARC028 study comprised of two cohorts of 86 patients. The two cohorts recruited two subtypes of advanced sarcoma, including soft tissue sarcoma and bone sarcoma patients, who have accepted at least two prior treatments to assess the clinical activity of pembrolizumab. The results in soft tissue sarcoma cohort showed that overall response rate is 18 %. Among responders, there was one complete response (3%) in undifferentiated pleomorphic sarcoma and six partial responses (15%) in three undifferentiated pleomorphic sarcoma, two liposarcoma and one synovial sarcoma patients. Furthermore, four of ten patients (40%) with undifferentiated pleomorphic sarcoma and two of ten patients (20%) with liposarcoma had objective response, respectively. On the other hand, the results in the bone sarcoma cohort showed that that partial response rate is only 5%, where the cohorts include one chondrosarcoma and one osteosarcoma patients. These findings suggest that pembrolizumab may be effective in some types of advanced sarcoma (undifferentiated pleomorphic sarcoma and dedifferentiated liposarcoma) and need further larger studies to reconfirm the clinical utility of immunotherapy.


  1. CancerNetwork: http://www.cancernetwork.com/news/pembrolizumab-shows-promise-two-soft-tissue-sarcoma-subtypes
  2. Publication: Lancet Oncol. 2017 Oct 4. pii: S1470-2045(17)30624-1.
    doi: 10.1016/S1470-2045(17)30624-1.


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