Entinostat plus Pembrolizumab in Patients with Metastatic NSCLC Previously Treated with Anti–PD-(L)1 Therapy

Matthew D. Hellmann, Pasi A. Janne, Mateusz Opyrchal, Navid Hafez, Luis E. Raez, Dmitry I. Gabrilovich, Fang Wang, Jane B. Trepel, Min Jung Lee, Akira Yuno, Sunmin Lee, Susan Brouwer, Serap Sankoh, Lei Wang, David Tamang, Emmett V. Schmidt, Michael L. Meyers, Suresh S. Ramalingam, Elaine Shum, Peter Ordentlich

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

60 Scopus citations


Purpose: New therapies are needed to treat immune checkpoint inhibitor–resistant non–small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) and identify biomarkers to personalize treatment. Epigenetic therapies, including histone deacetylase inhibitors, may synergize with programmed cell death-1 (PD-1) blockade to overcome resistance. We report outcomes in patients with anti-programmed cell death ligand-1 [PD-(L)1]–resistant/refractory NSCLC treated with pembrolizumab plus entinostat in ENCORE 601. Patients and Methods: The expansion cohort of ENCORE 601 included patients with NSCLC who previously experienced disease progression with immune checkpoint inhibitors. The primary endpoint for the phase II expansion cohort is overall response rate (ORR); safety, tolerability, and exploratory endpoints are described. Results: Of 76 treated patients, 71 were evaluable for efficacy. immune-regulated RECIST–assessed ORR was 9.2% [95% confidence interval (CI): 3.8–18.1], which did not meet the prespecified threshold for positivity. Median duration of response was 10.1 months (95% CI: 3.9–not estimable), progression-free survival (PFS) at 6 months was 22%, median PFS was 2.8 months (95% CI: 1.5–4.1), and median overall survival was 11.7 months (95% CI: 7.6–13.4). Benefit was enriched among patients with high levels of circulating classical monocytes at baseline. Baseline tumor PD-L1 expression and IFNg gene expression were not associated with benefit. Treatment-related grade ≥3 adverse events occurred in 41% of patients. Conclusions: In anti–PD-(L)1–experienced patients with NSCLC, entinostat plus pembrolizumab did not achieve the primary response rate endpoint but provided a clinically meaningful benefit, with objective response in 9% of patients. No new toxicities, including immune-related adverse events, were seen for either drug. Future studies will continue to evaluate the association of monocyte levels and response.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1019-1028
Number of pages10
JournalClinical Cancer Research
Issue number4
StatePublished - Feb 15 2021


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