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Cemiplimab for the Treatment of Advanced or Metastatic Cutaneous Squamous Cell Cancer in Selected Organ Transplant Recipients, CONTRAC study

Trial Status: Active

This phase I / II trial investigates the side effects of cemiplimab in treating patients with cutaneous squamous cell carcinoma that has spread to other parts in the body (advanced or metastatic) who have had prior allogeneic hematopoietic stem cell or kidney transplants. Cemiplimab is a type of drug called a monoclonal antibody. Antibodies are proteins naturally found in the blood that fight infections. A monoclonal antibody is a special kind of antibody that is manufactured as a medication to target specific proteins in the body that may be involved in cancer. Cemiplimab is a human monoclonal anti-PD-1 antibody that works by blocking the programmed death-1 (PD-1), a cell receptor on immune cells that is involved in preventing immune cells from destroying other cells. Blocking the receptor is expected to help immune cells attack cancer cells.

Inclusion Criteria

  • Patients must have histologically confirmed, advanced or metastatic cutaneous squamous cell carcinoma (cSCC) with 1 or more measurable lesions (greater than or equal to 1 cm)
  • A history of either (Cohort 1) allogeneic hematopoietic stem cell transplant (allo-HSCT) and >= 2 years or 730 days from day 0 of their HSCT with adequate bone marrow function and off of all systemic immunosuppression (topical agents permitted) for at least 3 months prior to enrollment; sequelae of chronic graft versus host disease (GVHD) is permitted (i.e. chronic dry eyes, sclerodermatous skin changes, etc.) if the patient is not on systemic immunosuppression, or (Cohort 2) a renal transplant with a functioning allograft (at least 6 months from allograft transplant) as determined by estimated glomerular filtration (GFR) rate (Chronic Kidney Disease Epidemiology Collaboration [CKD-EPI] equation) >= 30 mL/min, baseline proteinuria lower than 0.5 g/day (spot urine protein-creatinine ratio), and off antiproliferative immunosuppressive medications
  • Willing to provide blood and tissue from diagnostic biopsies
  • Eastern Cooperative Oncology Group (ECOG) performance status =< 2 (Karnofsky >= 60%)
  • Leukocytes >= 2,200/mcL
  • Absolute neutrophil count >= 1,000/mcL
  • Platelets >= 90,000/mcL
  • Total bilirubin within normal institutional limits (except in cases where Gilbert syndrome is known or suspected, where total bilirubin should be < 3 mg/dL)
  • Aspartate aminotransferase (AST) (serum glutamic oxaloacetic transaminase [SGOT]) / alanine aminotransferase (ALT) (serum glutamic pyruvic transaminase [SGPT]) =< 2.5 x institutional upper limit of normal
  • Creatinine =< 1.5 x institutional upper limit of normal OR estimated glomerular filtration rate (GFR) >= 30 mL/min/1.73 m^2 for participants with creatinine levels above institutional normal (CKD-EPI equation)
  • Urine protein/creatinine ratio < 0.5 (equal to less than 500 mg of proteinuria per day)
  • Ability to understand and the willingness to sign a written informed consent document
  • A prior history of acute GVHD that has resolved, or sequelae of chronic GVHD following allo-HSCT is permitted. Active acute GVHD patients are excluded
  • Women of childbearing potential (WOCBP) must agree to use at least 1 highly effective form of contraception. WOCBP should plan to use an adequate method to avoid pregnancy for up to 7 months (30 days plus the time required for cemiplimab to undergo five half-lives) after the last dose of investigational drug. “Women of childbearing potential (WOCBP)” is defined as any female who has experienced menarche, who has not undergone surgical sterilization (hysterectomy or bilateral oophorectomy), who is not postmenopausal, who is sexually active with a male partner. Menopause is defined clinically as 12 months of amenorrhea in a woman over 45 in the absence of other biological or physiological causes. In addition, women under the age of 55 must have a documented serum follicle stimulating hormone (FSH) level less than 40 mIU/mL
  • Women of childbearing potential, as defined above, must have a negative serum or urine pregnancy test (minimum sensitivity 25 IU/L or equivalent units of human chorionic gonadotropin [HCG]) within 24 hours prior to the start of cemiplimab
  • Men who are sexually active with WOCBP must agree to use any contraceptive method with a failure rate of less than 1% per year. Men who are sexually active with WOCBP will be instructed to adhere to contraception for a period of 7 months after the last dose of investigational product. Women who are not of childbearing potential as defined above, and azoospermic men) do not require contraception

Exclusion Criteria

  • Participants who have had chemotherapy or radiotherapy within 3 weeks (6 weeks for nitrosoureas or mitomycin C) prior to entering the study or those who have unresolved toxicities from prior anti-cancer therapy more than 4 weeks earlier, defined as not resolved to National Cancer Institute (NCI) Common Terminology Criteria for Adverse Events (CTCAE, version 5.0), grade 0 or 1
  • Participants who are receiving any other investigational agents
  • For Cohort 1 allo-HSCT patients enrolling to the study, corticosteroid doses > 10 mg of prednisone daily or equivalent within 4 weeks of the first dose of PD-1 inhibitor are prohibited. For Cohort 2 renal transplant patients enrolling to the study, corticosteroid use is permitted if used as part of their immunosuppressive regimen for graft protection prior to enrollment
  • Existing significant autoimmune conditions. Patients with a history of Hashimoto thyroiditis who are stable on replacement hormone therapy are not excluded
  • Known human immunodeficiency virus carrier or a diagnosis of immunodeficiency. Any positive test result for hepatitis B virus or hepatitis C virus indicating presence of virus, e.g., hepatitis B surface antigen (HBsAg, Australia antigen) positive, or hepatitis C antibody (anti-HCV) positive (except if HCV-ribonucleic acid [RNA] negative)
  • Kidney transplant recipients with active acute rejection
  • Allergy to cemiplimab or any of its components
  • Any prior exposure to the phosphoinositide 3-kinase inhibitor idelalisib
  • Subject who has been treated with immunotherapy. This includes prior treatment with anti-PD-1, anti-PD-L1, anti PD-L2, anti-CTLA-4 antibody, or any other antibody or drug specifically targeting T-cell co-stimulation or checkpoint pathways (including chimeric antigen receptor [CAR] T cell therapies). Prior topical or intralesional immunotherapies (e.g. imiquimod, talimogene laherparepvec) are allowed
  • Subject with known and untreated brain metastases should be excluded from this clinical trial because of their poor prognosis and because they often develop progressive neurologic dysfunction that would confound the evaluation of neurologic and other adverse events. However, baseline brain imaging is not required prior to enrollment in the study if patients are asymptomatic. Patients at least 4 weeks out from metastatic central nervous system (CNS) treatment are permitted to enroll, if they are asymptomatic, radiographically stable per the investigator, and on stable doses of anti-epileptic drugs (AEDs) and oral corticosteroids (for Cohort 1 only, the patient must be on 10 mg of prednisone daily equivalent dosing or less) at the time of enrollment
  • Participants receiving any medications or substances that are strong inhibitors or inducers of CYP3A4 are ineligible. Because the lists of these agents are constantly changing, it is important to regularly consult a frequently-updated list such as; medical reference texts such as the Physicians’ Desk Reference may also provide this information. As part of the enrollment/informed consent procedures, the patient will be counseled on the risk of interactions with other agents, and what to do if new medications need to be prescribed or if the patient is considering a new over-the-counter medicine or herbal product
  • Uncontrolled intercurrent illness including, but not limited to, ongoing or active infection, symptomatic congestive heart failure, unstable angina pectoris, or cardiac arrhythmia
  • Known non-infectious pneumonitis or any history of interstitial lung disease


Brigham and Women's Hospital
Status: ACTIVE
Contact: Glenn J. Hanna
Phone: 877-442-3324
Dana-Farber Cancer Institute
Status: ACTIVE
Contact: Glenn J. Hanna
Phone: 877-442-3324


I. To determine the safety and toxicity of immunotherapy in advanced cutaneous squamous cell carcinoma (cSCC) patients having undergone prior hematopoietic stem cell or renal transplant.


I. To evaluate the anti-tumor activity and survival benefit in advanced cSCC patients receiving immunotherapy despite a history of transplant:

Ia. To estimate progression-free survival (PFS) and overall survival (OS).

Ib. To estimate overall response rate (ORR).

Ic. To estimate duration of therapeutic response.

Id. To estimate the propensity for secondary infection on treatment.

OUTLINE: Patients are assigned to 1 of 2 cohorts.

COHORT I: Patients who have received an allogeneic hematopoietic stem cell transplant receive cemiplimab intravenously (IV) over 30 minutes on day 1. Cycles repeat every 21 days in the absence of disease progression or unacceptable toxicity.

COHORT II: Patients who have received a kidney transplant receive prednisone orally (PO) on day -1 and sirolimus PO once daily (QD) or everolimus PO twice daily (BID) for 7-10 days before treatment. Patients then receive cemiplimab IV over 30 minutes on day 1 and prednisone PO QD and sirolimus PO QD or everolimus PO BID on days 1-21. 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 and then every 3-4 months for up to 1 year.

Trial Phase Phase I/II

Trial Type Treatment

Lead Organization
Dana-Farber Harvard Cancer Center

Principal Investigator
Glenn J. Hanna

  • Primary ID 19-817
  • Secondary IDs NCI-2020-06642
  • ID NCT04339062