October 13, 2021:

Muhammad Furqan, MD, a medical oncologist and researcher at the University of Iowa Holden Comprehensive Cancer Center, presented a featured poster highlighting the Big Ten Cancer Research Consortium study BTCRC-LUN15-017 during the IASLC 2021 World Conference on Lung Cancer, held virtually Sept. 8-14.

Investigators of the single arm phase Ib/II study of pembrolizumab and Imprime PGG for patients with metastatic non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) after progression on first line therapy, found the combination to be safe in patients with locally advanced or metastatic NSCLC.

Imprime PGG is a beta-glucan that enhances immune cell killing, activation of antigen-presenting cells, and T cell crosstalk, and may increase the efficacy of immune checkpoint inhibitors.

The study enrolled 35 adults, 9 in phase Ib and 26 in phase II. Tolerability was the objective of the phase-1b study and determination of the progression-free survival (PFS) was the primary endpoint for the phase II study. Subjects enrolled in the phase-Ib portion were immune checkpoint inhibitor (ICI) naïve. Dose-limiting toxicity was not observed, and Imprime PGG dose at 4 mg/kg was selected for the phase II study. In the phase II portion, 23 of 26 patients were evaluable for PFS and overall survival (OS). Fourteen (53%) of subjects received ICI as their previous line of therapy. Median PFS for the phase II portion was 2.14 months.

See abstract for more information.

Lawrence E. Feldman, MD, professor of medicine at The University of Illinois College of Medicine and a medical oncologist at University of Illinois Cancer Center, served as the study’s sponsor-investigator.

“This phase Ib/II study showed that in previously treated patients with non-small cell lung cancer, the combination of Imprime PGG plus pembrolizumab was well tolerated and showed a 24.2-month median overall survival for patients in phase Ib who were IO therapy naïve and 9.8 months in the phase II patients that had received prior IO therapy,” Dr. Feldman said.

Correlative studies are ongoing and include testing for immune biomarkers including PD-L1 expression in serum and archived tumor tissue, serum anti-beta-glucan antibody levels, and analysis of cell free DNA for methylation of genes associated with lung cancer.

Study authors include: Muhammad Furqan1, Jyoti Malhotra2, Li Liu3, H. Huang4, Mary Pasquinelli5, Emily Sisel6, Kathleen Kennedy6, Ardaman Shergill7, Lawrence Feldman5; 1Internal Medicine, University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics – Holden Comprehensive Cancer Center, 2Rutgers Cancer Institute of New Jersey, 3University of Illinois at Chicago School of Public Health, 4University of Illinois at Chicago, 5University of Illinois Hospital and Health System, 6University of Illinois, 7University of Chicago Medicine and Biological Sciences, Comprehensive Cancer Center.


About the Big Ten Cancer Research Consortium: The Big Ten Cancer Research Consortium was created in 2013 to transform the conduct of cancer research through collaborative, hypothesis-driven, highly translational oncology trials that leverage the scientific and clinical expertise of Big Ten universities. The goal of the Big Ten Cancer Research Consortium is to create a unique team-research culture to drive science rapidly from ideas to new approaches to cancer treatment. Within this innovative environment, today’s research leaders collaborate with and mentor the research leaders of tomorrow with the unified goal of improving the lives of all patients with cancer.

About the Big Ten Conference: The Big Ten Conference is an association of world-class universities whose member institutions share a common mission of research, graduate, professional and undergraduate teaching and public service. Founded in 1896, the Big Ten has sustained a comprehensive set of shared practices and policies that enforce the priority of academics in the lives of students competing in intercollegiate athletics and emphasize the values of integrity, fairness and competitiveness. The broad-based programs of the 14 Big Ten institutions will provide over $200 million in direct financial support to more than 9,800 students for more than 11,000 participation opportunities on 350 teams in 42 different sports. The Big Ten sponsors 28 official conference sports, 14 for men and 14 for women, including the addition of men’s ice hockey and men’s and women’s lacrosse since 2013. For more information, visit www.bigten.org