A phase Ib/II study of galunisertib in combination with nivolumab in solid tumors and non-small cell lung cancer

Ernest Nadal, Mansoor Saleh, Santiago Ponce Aix, Maria Ochoa-de-Olza, Sandip Pravin Patel, Scott Antonia, Yumin Zhao, Ivelina Gueorguieva, Michael Man, Shawn T. Estrem, Jiangang Liu, Emin Avsar, Wen Hong Lin, Karim A. Benhadji, Leena Gandhi, Susan C. Guba, Inmaculada Ales Diaz

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4 Citations (Scopus)


Background: In this phase Ib/II open-label study, tumor immune suppression was targeted in patients with advanced refractory solid tumors and patients with recurrent/refractory non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) using galunisertib with nivolumab. Methods: Eligible patients were ≥ 18 years old, had an Eastern Cooperative Oncology Group performance status ≤ 1, and were treatment-naive for anti-programmed cell death-1, its ligand, or transforming growth factor β receptor 1 kinase inhibitors. Phase Ib was an open-label, dose-escalation assessment of the safety and tolerability of galunisertib with nivolumab in patients with advanced refractory solid tumors. Phase II evaluated the safety of galunisertib with nivolumab in NSCLC patients who had received prior platinum-based treatment but were immuno-oncology agent-naive. Results: This trial was conducted between October 2015 and August 2020. No dose-limiting toxicities were observed in phase I. In the phase II NSCLC cohort (n = 25), patients received 150 mg twice daily galunisertib (14 days on/14 days off dosing schedule for all phases) plus nivolumab at 3 mg/kg (intravenously every 2 weeks). In this phase, the most frequent treatment-related adverse events (AEs) were pruritus (n = 9, 36%), fatigue (n = 8, 32%), and decreased appetite (n = 7, 28%). No grade 4 or 5 treatment-related AEs were observed. Six (24%) patients had confirmed partial response (PR) and 4 (16%) had stable disease; 1 additional patient had confirmed PR after initial pseudo-progression. The median duration of response was 7.43 months (95% confidence interval [CI]: 3.75, NR). Among the 7 responders, including the delayed responder, 1 had high PD-L1 expression (≥ 50%). The median progression-free survival was 5.26 months (95% CI: 1.77, 9.20) and the median overall survival was 11.99 months (95% CI: 8.15, NR). Interferon gamma response genes were induced post-treatment and cell adhesion genes were repressed, although the association of these observations with tumor response and clinical outcomes was not statistically powered due to limited samples available. Conclusions: The study met its primary endpoint as galunisertib combined with nivolumab was well tolerated. Preliminary efficacy was observed in a subset of patients in the Phase 2 NSCLC cohort. Trial registration: Trial registered with ClinicalTrials.gov (NCT02423343; 22.04.2015).

Original languageEnglish
Article number708
JournalBMC Cancer
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2023
Externally publishedYes


  • Galunisertib
  • Immune checkpoint inhibitor
  • Nivolumab
  • TGF-β


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