Avelumab for platinum-ineligible/refractory recurrent and/or metastatic squamous cell carcinoma of the head and neck: Phase Ib results from the JAVELIN Solid Tumor trial

Joël Guigay, Keun Wook Lee, Manish R. Patel, Amaury Daste, Deborah J. Wong, Sanjay Goel, Michael S. Gordon, Martin Gutierrez, Ani Balmanoukian, Christophe Le Tourneau, Alain Mita, Damien Vansteene, Ulrich Keilholz, Patrick Schöffski, Hans Juergen Grote, Dongli Zhou, Marcis Bajars, Nicolas Penel

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14 Scopus citations


Background Recurrent and/or metastatic (R/M) disease develops in approximately 65% of patients with squamous cell carcinoma of the head and neck (SCCHN) and is associated with a poor prognosis. Immune checkpoint inhibitors have proven effective in multiple tumor types, including R/M SCCHN. We report the efficacy and safety of avelumab (antiprogrammed death ligand 1 antibody) in an expansion cohort of patients with platinum-refractory/ineligible R/M SCCHN enrolled in the phase I JAVELIN Solid Tumor trial (NCT01772004). Methods Eligible patients with R/M SCCHN were aged ≥18 years and had received ≥1 line of platinum-based chemotherapy with disease progression or recurrence within 6 months of the last dose or were ineligible for platinum-based chemotherapy. All patients received avelumab 10 mg/kg every 2 weeks. Tumor assessments were carried out by a blinded independent review committee (IRC) and investigators according to Response Evaluation Criteria in Solid Tumors V.1.1 (RECIST 1.1). Key endpoints included best overall response, duration of response (DOR) and progression-free survival (PFS) assessed by IRC and investigator per RECIST 1.1, overall survival (OS), and safety. Results Between April 24, 2015, and November 13, 2015, 153 patients were enrolled. Patients had a median of two prior lines of therapy for metastatic or locally advanced disease (range 0-6); 12 patients (7.8%) were not eligible for platinum-based chemotherapy. At data cut-off (December 31, 2017), the confirmed objective response rate was 9.2% (95% CI 5.1% to 14.9%) assessed by IRC and 13.1% (95% CI 8.2% to 19.5%) assessed by investigator. Median DOR was not reached (95% CI 4.2 to not estimable) based on IRC assessment. Median PFS was 1.4 months (95% CI 1.4 to 2.6) assessed by IRC and 1.8 months (95% CI 1.4 to 2.7) assessed by investigator; median OS was 8.0 months (95% CI 6.5 to 10.2). Any-grade treatment-related adverse events (TRAEs) occurred in 83 patients (54.2%) and were grade ≥3 in 10 patients (6.5%). The most common TRAEs were fatigue (n=19, 12.4%), fever (n=14, 9.2%), pruritus (n=12, 7.8%), and chills (n=11, 7.2%), and there were no treatment-related deaths. Conclusion Avelumab showed clinical activity and was associated with a low rate of grade ≥3 TRAEs in heavily pretreated patients with platinum-refractory/ineligible R/M SCCHN.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere002998
JournalJournal for ImmunoTherapy of Cancer
Issue number10
StatePublished - Oct 18 2021


  • head and neck neoplasms
  • immunotherapy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Immunology
  • Molecular Medicine
  • Oncology
  • Pharmacology
  • Cancer Research


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