Regorafenib and Nivolumab or Pembrolizumab Combination and Circulating Tumor DNA Response Assessment in Refractory Microsatellite Stable Colorectal Cancer

Colorectal Cancer

Wang C, et al. Oncologist 2020.


BACKGROUND: Metastatic colorectal cancers (MCRCs) with microsatellite stability (MSS) are resistant to immunotherapy with programmed cell death protein 1 (PD-1) and programmed death-ligand 1 inhibitors. However, the addition of regorafenib to nivolumab was recently associated with a high response rate and a protracted progression-free survival in a small cohort of MSS Japanese patients with metastatic colorectal cancer.

MATERIALS AND METHODS: We evaluated the outcome of patients with MSS metastatic colorectal cancer who were treated on a compassionate basis with PD-1 inhibitors in combination with regorafenib in a single U.S. center.

RESULTS: A total of 18 patients were treated with a combination of regorafenib and PD-1 inhibitors. No treatment-related grade 3 or above toxicities were noted. Thirteen patients (69%) had progressive disease, and five patients (31%) experienced stable disease as best response. Four out of five stable diseases occurred in patients without liver metastases, whereas only 1 of 14 patients with history of liver metastases had a short disease stabilization. A rise in circulating tumor DNA (ctDNA) at the 4-week time point universally predicted tumor progression at 2 months, whereas a decline was associated with radiographic disease stabilization.

CONCLUSIONS: Regorafenib and nivolumab combination was associated with modest clinical activity in patients with MSS chemotherapy-resistant metastatic colorectal cancer. Selection for patients without history of liver metastases may identify a cohort of patients with MSS colorectal cancer with a higher likelihood of benefit from this combination. ctDNA may represent a powerful tool for predicting early therapeutic efficacy of immunotherapy in the MSS colorectal cancer population.

IMPLICATIONS FOR PRACTICE: This study showed that the combination of regorafenib and nivolumab was associated with a modest clinical activity in patients with advanced microsatellite stability (MSS) metastatic colorectal cancer. This combination should be avoided in clinical practice, especially in patients with MSS colorectal cancer with liver metastases. Further investigation of regorafenib plus PD-1 inhibitors should be considered in MSS colorectal cancer without liver metastases.