Positive results from the HIMALAYA Phase III trial showed a single priming dose of tremelimumab added to IMFINZI® (durvalumab) demonstrated a statistically significant and clinically meaningful improvement in overall survival (OS) versus sorafenib as a 1st-line treatment for patients with unresectable hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) who had not received prior systemic therapy and were not eligible for localized treatment.
This novel dose and schedule of IMFINZI and tremelimumab, an anti-CTLA4 antibody, is called the STRIDE regimen (Single Tremelimumab Regular Interval Durvalumab). Results from the trial will be presented on January 21 at the 2022 American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) Gastrointestinal Cancers Symposium.
Liver cancer, of which HCC is the most common type, is the third-leading cause of cancer death and the sixth most commonly diagnosed cancer worldwide.1,2 Approximately 80,000 people in the US, Europe and Japan and 260,000 people in China present with advanced, unresectable HCC each year.3 Only 7% of patients with advanced disease survive five years.4
Ghassan Abou-Alfa, MD, MBA, Attending Physician at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center and principal investigator in the HIMALAYA Phase III trial, said: “Patients with unresectable liver cancer face a dismal prognosis, and new treatment options are critical to improving long-term survival. The three-year overall survival rate and favorable safety profile seen with the STRIDE regimen set a new benchmark in this setting and underscore the potential of this innovative treatment approach.”
Susan Galbraith, Executive Vice President, Oncology R&D, AstraZeneca, said: “The HIMALAYA trial reinforces our scientific approach for tremelimumab, tapping into the potential of CTLA-4 inhibition and a unique dosing regimen to prime the immune system to help patients live longer and with minimal side effects. We look forward to bringing potential new treatment options to patients with unresectable liver cancer, an area of high unmet need, as quickly as possible.”
Patients treated with the STRIDE regimen experienced a 22% reduction in the risk of death versus sorafenib (based on a hazard ratio [HR] of 0.78, 96.02% confidence interval [CI] 0.65-0.93; p=0.0035). Median OS was 16.4 months versus 13.8 for sorafenib. An estimated 31% of patients were still alive at three years versus 20% for sorafenib.
Results also showed an increase in objective response rate (ORR) with the STRIDE regimen versus sorafenib (20.1% vs. 5.1%). Median duration of response (DoR) was 22.3 months with the STRIDE regimen versus 18.4 with sorafenib. The addition of tremelimumab to IMFINZI did not increase severe liver toxicity, and no bleeding risk was observed.
HIMALAYA also tested IMFINZI monotherapy, which demonstrated non-inferior OS to sorafenib (HR 0.86; 95.67% CI 0.73-1.03; non-inferiority margin 1.08) with a median OS of 16.6 months versus 13.8, and an improved tolerability profile versus sorafenib.
Summary of efficacy resultsi:
Number of patients with event (%)
Median OS (95% CI) (in months)
Hazard ratio (96.02% CI)
0.78 (0.65, 0.93)
OS rate at 24 months (%)
OS rate at 36 months (%)
Median DoR (months)
- Analysis was done at 71% maturity
- Investigator assessed OS data cut-off date was 27 August 2021
- Median (range) follow-up durations at data cut-off: 33.18 (31.74-34.53), 32.56 (31.57-33.71) and 32.23 (30.42-33.71) months for STRIDE regimen, IMFINZI monotherapy and sorafenib, respectively.
The safety profiles of the STRIDE regimen and for IMFINZI alone were consistent with the known profiles of each medicine, and no new safety signals were identified. Grade 3 or 4 treatment-related adverse events (AEs) were experienced by 25.8% of patients treated with the STRIDE regimen and by 12.9% of patients treated with IMFINZI alone, versus 36.9% of patients on sorafenib.
Incidence of Grade 3 or 4 treatment-related hepatic events were low across treatment arms (5.9% for the STRIDE regimen and 5.2% for IMFINZI, versus 4.5% for sorafenib). Treatment-related AEs led to treatment discontinuation in 8.2% of patients treated with the STRIDE regimen and 4.1% of patients treated with IMFINZI alone, versus 11% for sorafenib.
An additional presentation featured during the ASCO Gastrointestinal Cancers Symposium will showcase IMFINZI data from the TOPAZ-1 Phase III trial, demonstrating the potential of this medicine in the treatment of advanced biliary tract cancer.
SELECT SAFETY INFORMATION FOR IMFINZI® (durvalumab)
IMPORTANT SAFETY INFORMATION
There are no contraindications for IMFINZI® (durvalumab).
Immune-Mediated Adverse Reactions
Important immune-mediated adverse reactions listed under Warnings and Precautions may not include all possible severe and fatal immune-mediated reactions. Immune-mediated adverse reactions, which may be severe or fatal, can occur in any organ system or tissue. Immune-mediated adverse reactions can occur at any time after starting treatment or after discontinuation. Monitor patients closely for symptoms and signs that may be clinical manifestations of underlying immune-mediated adverse reactions. Evaluate liver enzymes, creatinine, and thyroid function at baseline and periodically during treatment. In cases of suspected immune-mediated adverse reactions, initiate appropriate workup to exclude alternative etiologies, including infection. Institute medical management promptly, including specialty consultation as appropriate. Withhold or permanently discontinue IMFINZI depending on severity. See Dosing and Administration for specific details. In general, if IMFINZI requires interruption or discontinuation, administer systemic corticosteroid therapy (1 mg to 2 mg/kg/day prednisone or equivalent) until improvement to Grade 1 or less. Upon improvement to Grade 1 or less, initiate corticosteroid taper and continue to taper over at least 1 month. Consider administration of other systemic immunosuppressants in patients whose immune-mediated adverse reactions are not controlled with corticosteroid therapy.
IMFINZI can cause immune-mediated pneumonitis. The incidence of pneumonitis is higher in patients who have received prior thoracic radiation. In patients who did not receive recent prior radiation, the incidence of immune-mediated pneumonitis was 2.4% (34/1414), including fatal (<0.1%), and Grade 3-4 (0.4%) adverse reactions. In patients who received recent prior radiation, the incidence of pneumonitis (including radiation pneumonitis) in patients with unresectable Stage III NSCLC following definitive chemoradiation within 42 days prior to initiation of IMFINZI in PACIFIC was 18.3% (87/475) in patients receiving IMFINZI and 12.8% (30/234) in patients receiving placebo. Of the patients who received IMFINZI (475), 1.1% were fatal and 2.7% were Grade 3 adverse reactions. The frequency and severity of immune-mediated pneumonitis in patients who did not receive definitive chemoradiation prior to IMFINZI were similar in patients who received IMFINZI as a single agent or with ES-SCLC when in combination with chemotherapy.
IMFINZI can cause immune-mediated colitis that is frequently associated with diarrhea. Cytomegalovirus (CMV) infection/reactivation has been reported in patients with corticosteroid-refractory immune-mediated colitis. In cases of corticosteroid-refractory colitis, consider repeating infectious workup to exclude alternative etiologies. Immune-mediated colitis occurred in 2% (37/1889) of patients receiving IMFINZI, including Grade 4 (<0.1%) and Grade 3 (0.4%) adverse reactions.
IMFINZI can cause immune-mediated hepatitis. Immune-mediated hepatitis occurred in 2.8% (52/1889) of patients receiving IMFINZI, including fatal (0.2%), Grade 4 (0.3%) and Grade 3 (1.4%) adverse reactions.
- Adrenal Insufficiency: IMFINZI can cause primary or secondary adrenal insufficiency. For Grade 2 or higher adrenal insufficiency, initiate symptomatic treatment, including hormone replacement as clinically indicated. Immune-mediated adrenal insufficiency occurred in 0.5% (9/1889) of patients receiving IMFINZI, including Grade 3 (<0.1%) adverse reactions.
- Hypophysitis: IMFINZI can cause immune-mediated hypophysitis. Hypophysitis can present with acute symptoms associated with mass effect such as headache, photophobia, or visual field cuts. Hypophysitis can cause hypopituitarism. Initiate symptomatic treatment including hormone replacement as clinically indicated. Grade 3 hypophysitis/hypopituitarism occurred in <0.1% (1/1889) of patients who received IMFINZI.
- Thyroid Disorders: IMFINZI can cause immune-mediated thyroid disorders. Thyroiditis can present with or without endocrinopathy. Hypothyroidism can follow hyperthyroidism. Initiate hormone replacement therapy for hypothyroidism or institute medical management of hyperthyroidism as clinically indicated.
- Thyroiditis: Immune-mediated thyroiditis occurred in 0.5% (9/1889) of patients receiving IMFINZI, including Grade 3 (<0.1%) adverse reactions.
- Hyperthyroidism: Immune-mediated hyperthyroidism occurred in 2.1% (39/1889) of patients receiving IMFINZI.
- Hypothyroidism: Immune-mediated hypothyroidism occurred in 8.3% (156/1889) of patients receiving IMFINZI, including Grade 3 (<0.1%) adverse reactions.
- Type 1 Diabetes Mellitus, which can present with diabetic ketoacidosis: Monitor patients for hyperglycemia or other signs and symptoms of diabetes. Initiate treatment with insulin as clinically indicated. Grade 3 immune-mediated type 1 diabetes mellitus occurred in <0.1% (1/1889) of patients receiving IMFINZI.
Immune-Mediated Nephritis with Renal Dysfunction
IMFINZI can cause immune-mediated nephritis. Immune-mediated nephritis occurred in 0.5% (10/1889) of patients receiving IMFINZI, including Grade 3 (<0.1%) adverse reactions.
Immune-Mediated Dermatology Reactions
IMFINZI can cause immune-mediated rash or dermatitis. Exfoliative dermatitis, including Stevens-Johnson Syndrome (SJS), drug rash with eosinophilia and systemic symptoms (DRESS), and toxic epidermal necrolysis (TEN), have occurred with PD-1/L-1 blocking antibodies. Topical emollients and/or topical corticosteroids may be adequate to treat mild to moderate non-exfoliative rashes. Immune-mediated rash or dermatitis occurred in 1.8% (34/1889) of patients receiving IMFINZI, including Grade 3 (0.4%) adverse reactions.
Other Immune-Mediated Adverse Reactions
The following clinically significant, immune-mediated adverse reactions occurred at an incidence of less than 1% each in patients who received IMFINZI or were reported with the use of other PD-1/PD-L1 blocking antibodies.
- Cardiac/vascular: Myocarditis, pericarditis, vasculitis.
- Nervous system: Meningitis, encephalitis, myelitis and demyelination, myasthenic syndrome/myasthenia gravis (including exacerbation), Guillain-Barré syndrome, nerve paresis, autoimmune neuropathy.
- Ocular: Uveitis, iritis, and other ocular inflammatory toxicities can occur. Some cases can be associated with retinal detachment. Various grades of visual impairment to include blindness can occur. If uveitis occurs in combination with other immune-mediated adverse reactions, consider a Vogt-Koyanagi-Harada-like syndrome, as this may require treatment with systemic steroids to reduce the risk of permanent vision loss.
- Gastrointestinal: Pancreatitis including increases in serum amylase and lipase levels, gastritis, duodenitis.
- Musculoskeletal and connective tissue disorders: Myositis/polymyositis, rhabdomyolysis and associated sequelae including renal failure, arthritis, polymyalgia rheumatic.
- Endocrine: Hypoparathyroidism
- Other (hematologic/immune): Hemolytic anemia, aplastic anemia, hemophagocytic lymphohistiocytosis, systemic inflammatory response syndrome, histiocytic necrotizing lymphadenitis (Kikuchi lymphadenitis), sarcoidosis, immune thrombocytopenia, solid organ transplant rejection.
IMFINZI can cause severe or life-threatening infusion-related reactions. Monitor for signs and symptoms of infusion-related reactions. Interrupt, slow the rate of, or permanently discontinue IMFINZI based on the severity. See Dosing and Administration for specific details. For Grade 1 or 2 infusion-related reactions, consider using pre-medications with subsequent doses. Infusion-related reactions occurred in 2.2% (42/1889) of patients receiving IMFINZI, including Grade 3 (0.3%) adverse reactions.
Complications of Allogeneic HSCT after IMFINZI
Fatal and other serious complications can occur in patients who receive allogeneic hematopoietic stem cell transplantation (HSCT) before or after being treated with a PD-1/L-1 blocking antibody. Transplant-related complications include hyperacute graft-versus-host-disease (GVHD), acute GVHD, chronic GVHD, hepatic veno-occlusive disease (VOD) after reduced intensity conditioning, and steroid-requiring febrile syndrome (without an identified infectious cause). These complications may occur despite intervening therapy between PD-1/L-1 blockade and allogeneic HSCT. Follow patients closely for evidence of transplant-related complications and intervene promptly. Consider the benefit versus risks of treatment with a PD-1/L-1 blocking antibody prior to or after an allogeneic HSCT.
Based on its mechanism of action and data from animal studies, IMFINZI can cause fetal harm when administered to a pregnant woman. Advise pregnant women of the potential risk to a fetus. Advise females of reproductive potential to use effective contraception during treatment with IMFINZI and for at least 3 months after the last dose of IMFINZI.
There is no information regarding the presence of IMFINZI in human milk; however, because of the potential for adverse reactions in breastfed infants from IMFINZI, advise women not to breastfeed during treatment and for at least 3 months after the last dose.
- In patients with Stage III NSCLC in the PACIFIC study receiving IMFINZI (n=475), the most common adverse reactions (≥20%) were cough (40%), fatigue (34%), pneumonitis or radiation pneumonitis (34%), upper respiratory tract infections (26%), dyspnea (25%), and rash (23%). The most common Grade 3 or 4 adverse reactions (≥3%) were pneumonitis/radiation pneumonitis (3.4%) and pneumonia (7%)
- In patients with Stage III NSCLC in the PACIFIC study receiving IMFINZI (n=475), discontinuation due to adverse reactions occurred in 15% of patients in the IMFINZI arm. Serious adverse reactions occurred in 29% of patients receiving IMFINZI. The most frequent serious adverse reactions (≥2%) were pneumonitis or radiation pneumonitis (7%) and pneumonia (6%). Fatal pneumonitis or radiation pneumonitis and fatal pneumonia occurred in <2% of patients and were similar across arms
- In patients with extensive-stage SCLC in the CASPIAN study receiving IMFINZI plus chemotherapy (n=265), the most common adverse reactions (≥20%) were nausea (34%), fatigue/asthenia (32%), and alopecia (31%). The most common Grade 3 or 4 adverse reaction (≥3%) was fatigue/asthenia (3.4%)
- In patients with extensive-stage SCLC in the CASPIAN study receiving IMFINZI plus chemotherapy (n=265), IMFINZI was discontinued due to adverse reactions in 7% of the patients receiving IMFINZI plus chemotherapy. Serious adverse reactions occurred in 31% of patients receiving IMFINZI plus chemotherapy. The most frequent serious adverse reactions reported in at least 1% of patients were febrile neutropenia (4.5%), pneumonia (2.3%), anemia (1.9%), pancytopenia (1.5%), pneumonitis (1.1%), and COPD (1.1%). Fatal adverse reactions occurred in 4.9% of patients receiving IMFINZI plus chemotherapy
The safety and effectiveness of IMFINZI have not been established in pediatric patients.
IMFINZI is indicated for the treatment of adult patients with unresectable Stage III non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) whose disease has not progressed following concurrent platinum-based chemotherapy and radiation therapy.
IMFINZI, in combination with etoposide and either carboplatin or cisplatin, is indicated for the first-line treatment of adult patients with extensive-stage small cell lung cancer (ES-SCLC).
Please see complete Prescribing Information, including Medication Guide.
About Liver cancer
About 75% of all primary liver cancers are HCC.1 Between 80-90% of all patients with HCC also have cirrhosis, which is primarily caused by infection with the hepatitis B or C viruses.5 Chronic liver diseases are associated with inflammation that over time can lead to the development of HCC.5,6
More than half of HCC patients are diagnosed at advanced stages of the disease, often when symptoms first appear.7 A critical unmet need exists for patients with HCC who face limited treatment options.7 The unique immune environment of liver cancer provides clear rationale for investigating medications that harness the power of the immune system to treat HCC.7
HIMALAYA was a randomized, open-label, multicenter, global Phase III trial of IMFINZI monotherapy and the STRIDE regimen, comprising a single priming dose of tremelimumab 300mg added to IMFINZI 1500mg followed by IMFINZI every four weeks versus sorafenib, a standard-of-care multi-kinase inhibitor, in a total of 1,324 patients with unresectable, advanced HCC who had not been treated with prior systemic therapy and were not eligible for locoregional therapy (treatment localized to the liver and surrounding tissue).
The trial was conducted in 190 centers across 16 countries, including in the US, Canada, Europe, South America and Asia. The primary endpoint was OS for STRIDE versus sorafenib and key secondary endpoints included OS for IMFINZI versus sorafenib, objective response rate and progression-free survival (PFS) for STRIDE and for IMFINZI alone.
About IMFINZI® (durvalumab)
IMFINZI is a human monoclonal antibody that binds to the PD-L1 protein and blocks the interaction of PD-L1 with PD-1 and CD80, countering the tumor’s immune-evading tactics and releasing the inhibition of immune responses.
IMFINZI is the only approved immunotherapy in the curative-intent setting of unresectable, Stage III non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) in patients whose disease has not progressed after chemoradiation therapy and is the global standard of care in this setting based on the PACIFIC Phase III trial.
IMFINZI is also approved in the US, EU, Japan, China and many other countries around the world for the treatment of extensive-stage small cell lung cancer (ES-SCLC) based on the CASPIAN Phase III trial.
IMFINZI is also approved for previously treated patients with advanced bladder cancer in several countries. Since the first approval in May 2017, more than 100,000 patients have been treated with IMFINZI.
As part of a broad development program, IMFINZI is being tested as a single treatment and in combinations with other anti-cancer treatments for patients with NSCLC, SCLC, bladder cancer, HCC, biliary tract cancer (BTC), esophageal cancer, gastric and gastroesophageal cancer, cervical cancer, ovarian cancer, endometrial cancer, and other solid tumors.
Tremelimumab is a human monoclonal antibody and potential new medicine that targets the activity of cytotoxic T-lymphocyte-associated protein 4 (CTLA-4). Tremelimumab blocks the activity of CTLA-4, contributing to T-cell activation, priming the immune response to cancer and fostering cancer cell death.
Tremelimumab is being tested in a clinical trial program in combination with IMFINZI in NSCLC, SCLC, bladder cancer and liver cancer.
About AstraZeneca Support Programs
AstraZeneca strives to ensure that appropriate patients and their oncologists have access to IMFINZI and relevant support resources. These include educational resources, an Oncology Nurse Educator program and affordability and reimbursement programs, such as Access 360™.
Additionally, AstraZeneca has launched Lighthouse, a program that provides support to patients during any immune-mediated adverse events they may encounter during treatment, through medically trained Lighthouse Advocates. The program aims to make patients’ treatment experience as comfortable as possible. Find out more about Lighthouse at LighthouseProgram.com or call 1-855-LHOUSE1(1-855-546-8731).
About AstraZeneca in gastrointestinal cancers
AstraZeneca has a broad development program for the treatment of gastrointestinal (GI) cancers across several medicines spanning a variety of tumor types and stages of disease. In 2020, GI cancers collectively represented approximately 5.1 million new diagnoses leading to approximately 3.6 million deaths.8
Within this program, the Company is committed to improving outcomes in gastric, liver, biliary tract, esophageal, pancreatic, and colorectal cancers.
IMFINZI is being assessed in combinations including with tremelimumab in HCC, BTC, esophageal and gastric cancers in an extensive development program spanning early to late-stage disease across settings.
The Company aims to understand the potential of fam-trastuzumab deruxtecan-nxki, a HER2-directed antibody drug conjugate, in the two most common GI cancers, colorectal and gastric cancers.8 Fam-trastuzumab deruxtecan-nxki is jointly developed and commercialized by AstraZeneca and Daiichi Sankyo.
Olaparib is a first-in-class PARP inhibitor with a broad and advanced clinical trial program across multiple GI tumor types including pancreatic and colorectal cancers. Olaparib is developed and commercialized in collaboration with Merck & Co., Inc., Kenilworth, NJ, US (known as MSD outside the US and Canada).
About AstraZeneca in immunotherapy
Immunotherapy is a therapeutic approach designed to stimulate the body’s immune system to attack tumors. The Company’s Immuno-Oncology (IO) portfolio is anchored in immunotherapies that have been designed to overcome anti-tumor immune suppression.
AstraZeneca is invested in using IO approaches that deliver long-term survival for new groups of patients across tumor types.
The Company is pursuing a comprehensive clinical-trial program that includes IMFINZI as a single treatment and in combination with tremelimumab and other novel antibodies in multiple tumor types, stages of disease and lines of therapy, and where relevant using the PD-L1 biomarker as a decision-making tool to define the best potential treatment path for a patient.
In addition, the ability to combine the IO portfolio with radiation, chemotherapy, and small, targeted molecules from across AstraZeneca’s Oncology pipeline and from research partners, may provide new treatment options across a broad range of tumors.
About AstraZeneca in oncology
AstraZeneca is leading a revolution in oncology with the ambition to provide cures for cancer in every form, following the science to understand cancer and all its complexities to discover, develop and deliver life-changing medicines to patients.
The Company’s focus is on some of the most challenging cancers. It is through persistent innovation that AstraZeneca has built one of the most diverse portfolios and pipelines in the industry, with the potential to catalyze changes in the practice of medicine and transform the patient experience.
AstraZeneca has the vision to redefine cancer care and, one day, eliminate cancer as a cause of death.
AstraZeneca is a global, science-led biopharmaceutical company that focuses on the discovery, development and commercialization of prescription medicines in Oncology, Rare Diseases and BioPharmaceuticals, including Cardiovascular, Renal & Metabolism, and Respiratory & Immunology. Based in Cambridge, UK, AstraZeneca operates in over 100 countries, and its innovative medicines are used by millions of patients worldwide. For more information, please visit www.astrazeneca-us.com and follow us on Twitter @AstraZenecaUS.
1. ASCO. Liver Cancer: View All Pages. Available at: https://www.cancer.net/cancer-types/liver-cancer/view-all. Accessed January 2022.
2. WHO. Liver Cancer Fact Sheet. Available at: https://gco.iarc.fr/today/data/factsheets/cancers/11-Liver-fact-sheet.pdf. Accessed January 2022.
3. AstraZeneca data on file. Kantar Health. 2021.
4. Sayiner M, et al. Disease Burden of Hepatocellular Carcinoma: A Global Perspective. Digestive Diseases and Sciences. 2019; 64: 910-917.
5. Tarao K, et al. Real impact of liver cirrhosis on the development of hepatocellular carcinoma in various liver diseases—meta‐analytic assessment. Cancer Med. 2019; 8(3): 1054-1065.
6. Yu LX, et al. Role of nonresolving inflammation in hepatocellular carcinoma development and progression. Precision Oncology. 2018: 2(8).
7. Colagrande S, et al. Challenges of advanced hepatocellular carcinoma. World J Gastroenterol. 2016; 22(34): 7645-7659.
8. WHO. World Cancer Fact Sheet. Available at: https://gco.iarc.fr/today/data/factsheets/populations/900-world-fact-sheets.pdf. Accessed January 2022.
Dr. Abou-Alfa has provided consulting services to AstraZeneca.
Brendan McEvoy +1 302 885 2677
Jessica McDuell +1 302 885 2677
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