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A Phase 1B Study of Canakinumab, Spartalizumab, Nab-paclitaxel, and Gemcitabine in Metastatic PC Patients

Trial Status: Active

This study combines canakinumab (ACZ885), a high-affinity human anti-interleukin-1β (IL-1β) monoclonal antibody (mAb), and spartalizumab (PDR001), a mAb directed against human Programmed Death-1 (PD-1), with the chemotherapy combination of gemcitabine and nab-paclitaxel. This study will confirm for this 4-drug combination the tolerable doses, the acceptable safety profile, and the dose to be used for a Phase II combination treatment regimen.

Inclusion Criteria

  • Age > 18 years at the time of informed consent
  • Histologically or cytologically confirmed pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC) (determined by a local laboratory) with metastatic spread of disease (adenosquamous is also allowed).
  • Patients must have not received previous anti-cancer therapy for the treatment of metastatic pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma.
  • Patients who received previous neo-/adjuvant systemic therapy for non-metastatic PDAC ≥12 months from the last treatment to study enrollment date are allowed unless this therapy included immunotherapy and/or IL-1 inhibitors.
  • Radiographically measurable disease of at least one site by computed tomography (CT) scan (or magnetic resonance imaging, if allergic to CT contrast media) as defined by Response Evaluation Criteria In Solid Tumors (RECIST 1.1). Primary lesion is allowed as long as it is measurable (per RECIST 1.1) and has not been previously irradiated. Imaging results must be obtained within the 28-day screening window.
  • Eastern Cooperative Oncology Group (ECOG) performance status of 0-1.
  • Adequate organ function (laboratory results must be obtained within the 28-day screening window)
  • Absolute neutrophil count > 1500/mm3
  • Hemoglobin > 9 g/dL
  • Platelets > 100,000/mm3
  • Serum creatinine < 1.5 x upper limit normal (ULN), or calculated creatinine clearance > 60 mL/min (Cockcroft Gault)
  • Albumin > 3.0 g/dL
  • Aspartate aminotransferase (AST) serum glutamic oxaloacetic transaminase (SGOT) and/or alanine aminotransferase (ALT) serum glutamic pyruvic transaminase (SGPT) < 3.0 x ULN (< 5 x ULN in presence of liver metastasis). In patients with elevated ALT or AST, the values must be stable for at least 2 weeks and with no evidence of biliary obstruction on imaging
  • Total bilirubin ≤ 1.5 X ULN
  • INR ≤ 1.5 x ULN
  • Consent to provide protocol-mandated tissue and blood samples for diagnostic, PK, and research purposes
  • Able to adhere to study visit schedule and other protocol requirements

Exclusion Criteria

  • Diagnosis of pancreatic neuroendocrine carcinoma or pancreatic acinar cell carcinoma
  • Previous immunotherapy (e.g. 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 immune checkpoint pathways).
  • Known microsatellite instability-high (MSI-H) or mismatch repair-deficient pancreatic cancer
  • Prior treatment with canakinumab or drugs of a similar mechanism of action (IL-1 inhibitor).
  • History of known hypersensitivity to any of the drugs used in this study or any of their excipients, or patient has contraindication to any of the study drugs as outlined in the local prescribing information (e.g. United States Prescribing Information [USPI])
  • Active autoimmune disease that has required systemic treatment in the past 2 years prior to enrollment i.e. with use of disease modifying agents, corticosteroids or immunosuppressive drugs. Control of the disorder with replacement therapy (e.g., thyroxine, insulin, or physiologic corticosteroid replacement therapy for adrenal or pituitary insufficiency, etc.) is permitted.
  • Patient with suspected or proven immunocompromised state or infections, including:
  • Evidence of active or latent tuberculosis (TB) as determined by locally approved screening methods. If the results of the screening per local treatment guidelines or clinical practice require treatment, then the patient is not eligible.
  • Chronic or active hepatitis B or C
  • Known history of testing positive for Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) infections.
  • Any other medical condition (such as active infection, treated or untreated), which in the opinion of the investigator places the patient at an unacceptable risk for participation in immunomodulatory therapy. Note: Patients with localized condition unlikely to lead to a systemic infection e.g. chronic nail fungal infection are eligible.
  • Allogeneic bone marrow or solid organ transplant
  • Treatment with any immune modulating agent in doses with systemic effects e.g.:
  • Systemic treatment with prednisone > 10 mg (or equivalent) for >14 days within 4 weeks prior to the first dose of study treatment.
  • Equivalent dose of methotrexate > 15 mg weekly
  • Patient receiving any biologic drugs targeting the immune system (for example, TNF blockers, anakinra, rituximab, abatacept, or tocilizumab).
  • Note: Daily glucocorticoid-replacement for conditions such as adrenal or pituitary insufficiency is allowed.
  • Note: Topical, inhaled, or local steroid use in doses that are not considered to cause systemic effects are permitted (based on investigator's discretion and consultation with the Medical Monitor if needed).
  • Patient has concurrent malignancy other than the disease under investigation, with exception of malignancy that was treated curatively and has not recurred within 2 years prior to the date of screening. Fully resected basal or squamous cell skin cancers, and any carcinoma in situ are eligible.
  • Uncontrolled or severe cardiac disease (history of unstable angina, myocardial infarction, coronary stenting, or bypass surgery within the prior 6 months), symptomatic congestive heart failure, serious uncontrolled cardiac arrhythmia [including atrial flutter/fibrillation], requirement for inotropic support or use of devices for cardiac conditions [pacemakers/defibrillators]), uncontrolled hypertension defined by a systolic blood pressure =>160 mg and/or diastolic blood pressure =>100 mg Hg
  • Pre-existing peripheral neuropathy > Grade 1 (CTCAE V 5.0)
  • Receipt of live vaccines within 3 months prior to the first dose of study treatment or while on active treatment within the trial (examples of live vaccines include, but are not limited to, the following: measles, mumps, rubella, chicken pox, yellow fever, rabies, BCG, and typhoid (oral vaccine). Seasonal influenza vaccines for injection are generally killed virus vaccines and are permitted. However, intranasal influenza vaccines (e.g. Flu-mist) are live attenuated vaccines and are not permitted.
  • Patient has had major surgery within 14 days prior to enrollment
  • Patient has symptomatic brain metastases, or brain metastases that require directed therapy (such as focal radiotherapy or surgery). Patients with treated brain metastases have to be neurologically stable and not using systemic steroids for at least 4 weeks prior to the study drug administration.
  • Women of child-bearing potential, defined as all women physiologically capable of becoming pregnant, unless they are willing to use highly effective methods of contraception during treatment with study drugs (canakinumab, spartalizumab, gemcitabine and nab-paclitaxel).
  • Highly effective contraception methods are required while on treatment and for 150 days after stopping spartalizumab. No contraception is required after treatment with canakinumab is stopped. Contraception use after chemotherapy is stopped should be followed per the local drug label requirements. Highly effective contraception methods include:
  • Total abstinence (when this is in line with the preferred and usual lifestyle of the patient. Periodic abstinence (i.e., calendar, ovulation, symptothermal, postovulation methods) and withdrawal are not acceptable methods of contraception
  • Female sterilization (have had bilateral surgical oophorectomy (with or without hysterectomy), total hysterectomy or bilateral tubal ligation at least six weeks before taking study treatment. In case of oophorectomy alone, only when the reproductive status of the woman has been confirmed by follow up hormone level assessment.
  • Male sterilization (at least 6 months prior to screening). The vasectomized male partner should be the sole partner for that patient.
  • Use of oral, injected or implanted hormonal methods of contraception or placement of an intrauterine device (IUD) or intrauterine system (IUS) or other forms of hormonal contraception that have comparable efficacy (failure rate <1%), for example hormone vaginal ring or transdermal hormone contraception In case of use of oral contraception women should have been stable on the same pill for a minimum of 3 months before taking study treatment. Note: Women of non-childbearing potential is defined as women who are physiologically and/or anatomically incapable of becoming pregnant, as now further described:
  • They are post-menopausal as evidenced by 12 months of natural (spontaneous) amenorrhea with an appropriate clinical profile (i.e., age appropriate history of vasomotor symptoms).
  • They have had bilateral surgical oophorectomy (with or without hysterectomy), total hysterectomy or bilateral tubal ligation at least six weeks prior. In the case of oophorectomy alone, only when the reproductive status of the woman has been confirmed by follow up hormone level assessment is she considered not of childbearing potential. Note: Sexually active male patients and their partners who are women of childbearing potential should follow the contraception recommendations and any other precautionary measures as required by the local prescribing information for the SOC anti-cancer.
  • Any significant medical condition, laboratory abnormality or psychiatric condition that would constitute unacceptable safety risks to the patients, contraindicate patient participation in the clinical study, limit the patient's ability to comply with study requirements, or compromise patient's compliance with the protocol and all requirements of the study as stated in the Informed Consent Form. Significant medical conditions include but are not limited to known history or current interstitial lung disease or non-infectious pneumonitis, medical history or current diagnosis of myocarditis, chronic active hepatitis, liver cirrhosis or any other significant liver disease with moderate to severe hepatic impairment (Child-Pugh B or C), serious non-healing wound/ulcer/bone fracture, uncompensated/symptomatic hypothyroidism, or requirement for hemodialysis or peritoneal dialysis.
  • Unwillingness or unable to comply with all requirement of the study as stated in the Informed Consent Form


Brigham and Women's Hospital
Status: ACTIVE
Dana-Farber Cancer Institute
Status: ACTIVE

New York

New York
Laura and Isaac Perlmutter Cancer Center at NYU Langone

This is an open-label multi-center phase Ib study to confirm the recommended phase II/III

dose of canakinumab and spartalizumab in combination with nab-paclitaxel and gemcitabine.

The study will recruit patients with metastatic pancreatic adenocarcinoma treated in the

first line setting. The starting dose level of canakinumab explored will be 250 mg Q4W

("starting dose level"). In case of unacceptable toxicity of the starting dose devel of

canakinumab, the dose of canakinumab will be de-escalated to the "-1 dose level" administered

as 250 mg Q8W, while other components of the combination stay at the same dose as the

starting dose level.

Patients will be observed for DLTs for a minimum duration of 56 days (8 weeks). To achieve

study objectives and to ensure the adequate number of DLT evaluable patients, the study will

recruit approximately ten patients to have at least 6 evaluable patients per dose level of

canakinumab. Additional approximately ten patients (to have at least 6 additional evaluable

patients) may be enrolled at lower dose level in case a dose de-escalation is necessary.

Dose confirmation will be guided by an adaptive Bayesian logistic regression model (BLRM)

based on any DLTs observed for two cycles of treatment (i.e. 56 days, or 8 weeks). The

adaptive BLRM will be guided by the Escalation with Overdose Control (EWOC) principle to

control the probability of DLT in future patients on the study. BLRM is a well-established

and widely used method to estimate the recommended dose for expansion (RDE) or maximal

tolerable dose (MTD) in clinical trials in patients with cancer with small sample size. The

use of Bayesian response adaptive models for small datasets has been endorsed by academic

publications (Babb et al. 1998, Neuenschwander et al. 2008, Neuenschwander et al. 2010,

Natanegara et al. 2014), by the European Medicines Agency (Guideline on Clinical Trials in

Small Populations, 2007) and it constitutes an important aspect of the FDA's Critical Path

Initiative (Clinical Path White Paper, FDA, 2004). The Bayesian analysis incorporates prior

toxicity data of single agent and drugs combinations together with the currently available

data to predict the probability of DLT and excessive toxicity of a dose level of interest.

The Bayesian method is be based on a Meta-Analytical-Combined (MAC) approach (Spiegelhalter

2004, Neuenschwander 2016) to combine all historical and concurrent data. Prior toxicity

information included in the BLRM model was obtained from three studies with canakinumab as a

single agent and combination of canakinumab and spartalizumab (PDR001X2101, ACZ885I2202,

PRD001X2103) and from a phase I/II study of nab-paclitaxel + gemcitabine (Von Hoff D,,

2011). Simulation was used to illustrate the recommendation from BLRM under a set of

hypothetical scenarios with assumed number of evaulable patients and DLTs.

The decisions on a recommended dose will be made by the Investigators and the Sponsor in a

Safety Review meeting when at least 6 DLT evaluable patients per dose level will be observed

for DLTs for a minimum duration of 56 days (8 weeks). Safety review will be based upon the

review of all relevant data available including treatment tolerability and safety information

together with the BLRM summaries of DLT probability, PK, PD, and preliminary activity

information (if available) at the time of the meeting.

Patients will be treated until disease progression per RECIST 1.1, unacceptable toxicity, or

until the patient or treating physician decides to stop treatment.

Pharmacokinetic (PK) and immunogenicity (IG) samples will be collected at specific time

points throughout treatment. Each treatment cycle is 4 weeks. All patients must be followed

for safety up to 150 days after the last dose of spartalizumab or canakinumab, or 30 days

after the last dose of the combination chemotherapy, whichever the later. After the end of

safety follow-up, patients will be followed for disease progression if discontinuation of

treatment is due to reason other than progression, and for survival (via telephone call or

onsite visit if a patient happens to be visiting the site) until the end of study The study

completion is defined as when the last patient has completed the study treatment, safety

follow up, and completed survival follow up period up to 1 year from first treatment,

whichever is later or in the event of an early study termination decision, the date of that


Trial Phase Phase I

Trial Type Treatment

Lead Organization
Pancreatic Cancer Action Network

  • Primary ID PanCAN-SR1
  • Secondary IDs NCI-2020-09869
  • ID NCT04581343