Maintenance Defactinib Versus Placebo After First-Line Chemotherapy in Patients With Merlin-Stratified Pleural Mesothelioma: COMMAND-A Double-Blind, Randomized, Phase II Study

Dean A. Fennell, Paul Baas, Paul Taylor, Anna K. Nowak, David Gilligan, Takashi Nakano, Jonathan A. Pachter, David T. Weaver, Arnaud Scherpereel, Nick Pavlakis, Jan P. van Meerbeeck, Susana Cedres, Luke Nolan, Hedy Kindler, Joachim G. J. V. Aerts

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PURPOSE- Inhibition of focal adhesion kinase has been shown to selectively kill mesothelioma cells that express low levels of moesin-ezrin-radixin-like protein (merlin). On this basis, we designed a randomized, phase II trial to investigate whether defactinib as maintenance therapy after standard first-line chemotherapy could improve progression-free survival (PFS) in patients with malignant pleural mesothelioma (MPM).

METHODS This global, double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled trial was conducted in patients with advanced M PM and disease control after at least four cycles of first-line chemotherapy. Patients were stratified for merlin and then randomly assigned (in a 1:1 fashion) to receive either oral defactinib or placebo until disease progression, unacceptable toxicity, or withdrawal occurred. The coprimary end points were PFS and overall survival (OS). Quality of life (QoL) was assessed using the Lung Cancer Symptom Scale for Mesothelioma tool.

RESULTS Three hundred forty-four patients were randomly assigned to receive either defactinib (n = 173) or placebo (n = 171). The median PFS was 4.1 months (95% CI, 2.9 to 5.6 months) for defactinib versus 4.0 months (95% CI, 2.9 to 4.2 months) for placebo. The median OS was 12.7 months (95% CI, 9.1 to 21 months) for defactinib versus 13.6 months (95% CI, 9.6 to 21.2 months) for placebo (hazard ratio, 1.0; 95% CI, 0.7 to 1.4). Although shorter survival for both defactinib- and placebo-treated patients was observed, in the patients who had merlin-low MPM compared with the patients who had merlin-high MPM, there were no statistical differences in response rate, PFS, OS, or QoL between the treatment groups. The most common grade 3 or worse adverse events were nausea, diarrhea, fatigue, dyspnea, and decreased appetite.

CONCLUSION Neither PFS nor OS was improved by defactinib after first-line chemotherapy in patients with merlin-low MPM. Defactinib cannot be recommended as maintenance therapy for advanced MPM. (C) 2019 by American Society of Clinical Oncology

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)790-798
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Clinical Oncology
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 2019

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