A retrospective analysis of the efficacy of immunotherapy in metastatic soft-tissue sarcomas

Varun Monga, Keith M. Skubitz, Seth Maliske, Sarah L. Mott, Hilary Dietz, Angela C. Hirbe, Brian A. Van Tine, Peter Oppelt, Scott Okuno, Steven Robinson, Madeline O’connor, Mahesh Seetharam, Steven Attia, John Charlson, Mark Agulnik, Mohammed Milhem

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35 Scopus citations


Although checkpoint inhibitors have been approved in multiple cancers, they are still under investigation in soft tissue sarcoma (STS). We conducted a retrospective review to report the safety, efficacy, and prognostic factors related to checkpoint inhibitors in STS. A sequential cohort of metastatic STS patients from four institutions treated with checkpoint inhibitors was assembled. Logistic and Cox regression models were applied to determine the effect of patient characteristics, prior treatment, and baseline factors on achieving the best overall response of complete response (CR), partial response (PR), or stable disease (SD) as determined by the treating physician. Eighty-eight patients with two median prior therapies received checkpoint inhibitors. Treatments included pembrolizumab in 47, nivolumab in 6, ipilimumab in 1, combination ipilimumab/nivolumab in 27, and other combination immunotherapies in 7 patients. Immunotherapy was discontinued in 54 patients—72.2% for progression, 16.7% for toxicity, and 11.1% for other reasons. Median progression-free survival (PFS) was 4.1 months and median overall survival was 19.1 months. One patient with undifferentiated pleomorphic sarcoma (UPS) achieved a CR, while 20 patients had a PR, including 7 UPS, 9 leiomyosarcoma (LMS), and 1 each with alveolar soft part sarcoma, fibroblastic sarcoma, sclerosing epithelioid fibrosarcoma, and myxofibrosarcoma. Forty-five percent (9 of 20) of LMS patients achieved a PR. Twenty-eight patients had SD. Our results confirm the activity and safety of anti-PD-1 therapy in metastatic STS. A notable response rate was observed in UPS and LMS.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1873
Pages (from-to)1-10
Number of pages10
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jul 2020


  • Anti CTLA-4
  • Anti-PD1
  • Efficacy
  • Immunotherapy
  • Sarcoma


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