Phase II study of nivolumab in patients with genetic alterations in DNA damage repair and response who progressed after standard treatment for metastatic solid cancers (KM-06)

March, 03, 2024 | Select Oncology Journal Articles


Immune-modulating antibodies targeting programmed cell death protein 1/programmed death-ligand 1 (PD-1/PD-L1) have demonstrated promising antitumor efficacy in various types of cancers, especially highly mutated ones. Genetic alterations in DNA damage response and repair (DDR) genes can lead to genetic instability, often accompanied by a high tumor mutation burden (TMB). However, few studies have validated the aberration of DDR genes as a predictive biomarker for response to immune-modulating antibodies.


The KM-06 open-label, multicenter, single-arm, phase II trial evaluated the safety and efficacy of nivolumab in refractory solid cancers with DDR gene mutations assessed by clinically targeted sequencing. Nivolumab (3 mg/kg) was administered every 2 weeks until disease progression, unacceptable toxicity, or for 24 months. The primary endpoint was the objective response rate (ORR) as per RECIST V.1.1 criteria.


A total of 48 patients were enrolled in the study (median age 61, 58.3% male). The most common cancer type was colorectal cancer (41.7%), followed by prostate and biliary tract cancer (8.3% each). Eight patients achieved a partial response as their best overall response, resulting in an ORR of 17.8%. The disease control rate was 60.0%. The median progression-free survival was 2.9 months. Treatment-related adverse events of any grade and grade ≥3 occurred in 44 (91.7%) and 4 (8.3%) patients, respectively. Clinically targeted sequencing data inferred both TMB and microsatellite instability (MSI). Using a TMB cut-off of 12 mut/Mb, there were significant differences in overall survival (p=0.00035), progression-free survival (p=0.0061), and the best overall response (p=0.05). In the RNA sequencing analysis, nivolumab responders showed activation of the interleukin signaling pathway. Patients who experienced early progression presented high epithelial-mesenchymal transition signaling pathway activation. The responders exhibited a marked increase in PD-1–/Ki67+CD8 T cells at the early stage of treatment (C3D1) compared with non-responders (p=0.03).


In this phase II trial, nivolumab demonstrated moderate efficacy and manageable toxicity in patients with solid cancer harboring DDR gene mutations. A high TMB (>12 mut/Mb) and MSI score (>2.5) determined through clinically target sequencing presented significant discriminatory power for the nivolumab response.

Trial registration number


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