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Docetaxel, Ramucirumab, and Pembrolizumab for the Treatment of Metastatic or Recurrent Non-small Cell Lung Cancer in Patients who have Progressed on Platinum-Doublet and PD-1 / PD-L1 Blockade Therapy

Trial Status: Active

This phase II trial studies how well docetaxel, ramucirumab, and pembrolizumab works for the treatment of non-small cell lung cancer that has spread to other places in the body (metastatic) or has come back (recurrent) in patients who have progressed on platinum-doublet and PD-1 / PD-L1 blockade therapy. Drugs used in chemotherapy, such as docetaxel, work in different ways to stop the growth of tumor cells, either by killing the cells, by stopping them from dividing, or by stopping them from spreading. Ramucirumab may block new blood vessel growth to reduce tumor growth. Immunotherapy with pembrolizumab, may help the body’s immune system attack the cancer, and may interfere with the ability of tumor cells to grow and spread. Giving docetaxel, ramucirumab, and pembrolizumab may work better in shrinking lung cancer.

Inclusion Criteria

  • Histologically confirmed diagnosis of non-small cell lung cancer will be enrolled in this study
  • Patients must have progressed on a platinum-based chemotherapy and any of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA)-approved PD-1 or PD-L1 immune checkpoint inhibitors, either given sequentially or in combination
  • A male participant must agree to use a contraception during the treatment period plus an additional 120 days after the last dose of study treatment and refrain from donating sperm during this period
  • A female participant is eligible to participate if she is not pregnant, not breastfeeding, and at least one of the following conditions applies: * Not a woman of childbearing potential (WOCBP) OR * A WOCBP who agrees to follow the contraceptive guidance during the treatment period and for at least 120 days plus 30 days (a menstruation cycle) after the last dose of study treatment
  • The participant (or legally acceptable representative if applicable) provides written informed consent for the trial
  • Have measurable disease based on Response Evaluation Criteria in Solid Tumors (RECIST) 1.1. Lesions situated in a previously irradiated area are considered measurable if progression has been demonstrated in such lesions
  • Have an Eastern Cooperative Oncology Group (ECOG) performance status of 0 to 1
  • Life expectancy > 12 weeks as determined by the investigator
  • Absolute neutrophil count (ANC) >= 1500/uL (collected within 10 days prior to the start of study treatment)
  • Platelets >= 100 000/uL (collected within 10 days prior to the start of study treatment)
  • Hemoglobin >= 9.0 g/dL or >= 5.6 mmol/L (collected within 10 days prior to the start of study treatment) * Criteria must be met without erythropoietin dependency and without packed red blood cell (pRBC) transfusion within last 2 weeks
  • Creatinine =< 1.5 x upper limit of normal (ULN) OR measured or calculated creatinine clearance (glomerular filtration rate [GFR] can also be used in place of creatinine or creatinine clearance [CrCl]) >= 30 mL/min for participant with creatinine levels > 1.5 x institutional ULN (collected within 10 days prior to the start of study treatment) * Creatinine clearance (CrCl) should be calculated per institutional standard
  • Total bilirubin =< 1.5 x ULN OR direct bilirubin =< ULN for participants with total bilirubin levels > 1.5 x ULN (collected within 10 days prior to the start of study treatment)
  • Aspartate aminotransferase (AST) (serum glutamic-oxaloacetic transaminase [SGOT]) and alanine aminotransferase (ALT) (serum glutamate pyruvate transaminase [SGPT]) =< 2.5 x ULN (=< 5 x ULN for participants with liver metastases) (collected within 10 days prior to the start of study treatment
  • Palliative radiotherapy (to bone or soft tissue lesions) must be completed > 1 week prior to start of study drug (exception: palliative radiotherapy for pain may be used any time prior to first dose)
  • Clinically significant toxic effect(s) of the most recent prior anti-cancer therapy must be grade 1 or resolved (except alopecia and sensory neuropathy); patients with grade 2 adrenal insufficiency related to prior anti-cancer therapy (defined as requiring medical intervention, such as concomitant steroids) or grade 2 hypothyroidism (defined as requiring hormone replacement therapy) may be enrolled provided that clinical symptoms are adequately controlled and the daily dose is 10 mg or less of prednisone or equivalent. If the patient received major surgery or radiation therapy of > 30 Gy, they must have recovered from the toxicity and/or complications from the intervention
  • Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infected patients on effective anti-retroviral therapy with undetectable viral load within 6 months are eligible for this trial
  • For patients with evidence of chronic hepatitis B virus (HBV) infection, the HBV viral load must be undetectable on suppressive therapy, if indicated. Patients with a history of hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection must have been treated, cured and have an undetectable HCV viral load
  • Patients with a prior or concurrent malignancy whose natural history or treatment does not have the potential to interfere with the safety or efficacy assessment of the investigational regimen are eligible for this trial
  • Patients with known history or current symptoms of cardiac disease, or history of treatment with cardiotoxic agents, should have a clinical risk assessment of cardiac function using the New York Heart Association Functional Classification. To be eligible for this trial, patients should be class 2B or better

Exclusion Criteria

  • A WOCBP with a positive urine pregnancy test within 72 hours prior of the planned treatment on day 1 of each cycle. If the urine test is positive or cannot be confirmed as negative, a serum pregnancy test will be required
  • Patients have prior exposure to docetaxel or ramucirumab
  • Patients with proteinuria of >= 2+ on dipsticks or urine protein/creatinine ratio of > 1 g/24-hour
  • Has received prior systemic anti-cancer therapy including investigational agents within 4 weeks or 5 times the half-life time, whichever is shorter [could consider shorter interval for kinase inhibitors or other short half-life drugs] prior to allocation * Note: Participants must have recovered from all adverse events (AEs) due to previous therapies to grade =< 1 or baseline. Participants with grade =< 2 neuropathy may be eligible *Note: If participant received major surgery, they must have recovered adequately from the toxicity and/or complications from the intervention prior to starting study treatment
  • Has received prior radiotherapy within 1 week of start of study treatment. Participants must have recovered from all radiation-related toxicities, not require corticosteroids, and not have had radiation pneumonitis. A 1-week washout is permitted for palliative radiation (=< 2 weeks of radiotherapy) to non-central nervous system (CNS) disease
  • Has received a live vaccine within 30 days prior to the first dose of study drug. Examples of live vaccines include, but are not limited to, the following: measles, mumps, rubella, varicella/zoster (chicken pox), yellow fever, rabies, bacillus Calmette–Guerin (BCG), and typhoid vaccine. Seasonal influenza vaccines for injection are generally killed virus vaccines and are allowed; however, intranasal influenza vaccines (eg, FluMist) are live attenuated vaccines and are not allowed
  • Is currently participating in or has participated in a study of an investigational agent or has used an investigational device within 4 weeks prior to the first dose of study treatment
  • Has a diagnosis of immunodeficiency or is receiving chronic systemic steroid therapy (in dosing exceeding 10 mg daily of prednisone equivalent) or any other form of immunosuppressive therapy within 7 days prior to the first dose of study drug
  • Patients with symptomatic brain metastasis (patients with treated brain metastasis without symptoms and not requiring steroid are allowed to participate)
  • Has severe hypersensitivity (grade >= 3) to pembrolizumab and/or any of its excipients
  • Patients with uncontrolled intercurrent illness including, but not limited to, ongoing or active infection, symptomatic congestive heart failure, unstable angina pectoris, significant cardiac arrhythmia, or psychiatric illness/social situations that would limit compliance with study requirements
  • Patients with significant cardiovascular disease (e.g., myocardial infarction, arterial thromboembolism, cerebrovascular thromboembolism) within 6 months prior to start of study therapy; angina requiring therapy; symptomatic peripheral vascular disease; New York Heart Association class 3 or 4 congestive heart failure; or uncontrolled grade >= 3 hypertension (diastolic blood pressure >= 100 mmHg or systolic blood pressure >= 160 mmHg) despite antihypertensive therapy
  • Patients with any major hemorrhage or thromboembolic events within 3 months prior to start on this study
  • Has active autoimmune disease that has required systemic treatment in the past 2 years (i.e. with use of disease modifying agents, corticosteroids or immunosuppressive drugs). Replacement therapy (eg., thyroxine, insulin, or physiologic corticosteroid replacement therapy for adrenal or pituitary insufficiency, etc.) is not considered a form of systemic treatment
  • Has a history of (non-infectious) pneumonitis that required steroids or has current pneumonitis or established interstitial lung disease
  • Patients who had prior history of immune-related adverse event (irAE) that required treatment with steroids and permanent immune checkpoint inhibitor (ICI) discontinuation per National Comprehensive Cancer Network (NCCN) guidelines
  • Has an active infection requiring systemic therapy
  • Has a known history of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)
  • Has a known history of hepatitis B (defined as hepatitis B surface antigen [HBsAg] reactive) or known active hepatitis C virus (defined as HCV RNA is detected) infection
  • Has known psychiatric or substance abuse disorders that would interfere with cooperation with the requirements of the trial
  • Is pregnant or breastfeeding, or expecting to conceive or father children within the projected duration of the study, starting with the screening visit through 120 days after the last dose of trial treatment


Emory University Hospital / Winship Cancer Institute
Status: ACTIVE
Contact: Badi El Osta
Phone: 404-778-1900
Atlanta VA Medical Center
Contact: Badi El Osta
Phone: 404-728-7680


I. To determine the anti-tumor efficacy of the combination treatment using the 6-month progression free survival rate (6-month progression free survival [PFS] rate) by Response Evaluation Criteria in Solid Tumors (RECIST 1.1).


I. To determine the safety profile and tolerability of docetaxel and ramucirumab in combination with pembrolizumab in patients who progressed on platinum-based chemotherapy and PD-1 or PD-L1 checkpoint inhibitor given sequentially or in combination.

II. To determine immune related adverse events of the combination docetaxel, ramucirumab, and pembrolizumab.

III. To assess the overall response rate (ORR) of the combination docetaxel, ramucirumab, and pembrolizumab.

IV. To assess the overall survival (OS) of the combination docetaxel, ramucirumab, and pembrolizumab.


I. To correlate treatment response with PD-L1 22C3 expression, STK11 and KRAS mutation status.

II. To correlate treatment response with the doublet tumor mutation burden (TMB) and PD-L1 22C3 expression.

III. To perform an immunophenotypic analysis of circulating immune cells by mass cytometry before and after treatment and end of treatment (EOT).

IV. To analyze the tumor infiltrating immune cells by single cell ribonucleic acid (RNA) sequencing coupled to mass cytometry, in paired biopsies before and after treatment.


Patients receive docetaxel intravenously (IV) over 60 minutes, ramucirumab IV over 60 minutes, and pembrolizumab IV over 30 minutes on day 1. Cycles repeat every 21 days in the absence of disease progression or unacceptable toxicity.

After completion of study treatment, patients are followed up at 30 days, 12 weeks for 2 years, every 6 months for 3 years, and then annually for up to 10 years.

Trial Phase Phase II

Trial Type Treatment

Lead Organization
Emory University Hospital / Winship Cancer Institute

Principal Investigator
Badi El Osta

  • Primary ID WINSHIP4950-20
  • Secondary IDs NCI-2020-01134
  • ID NCT04340882