Immunotherapy of Ipilimumab and Nivolumab in patients with advanced neuroendocrine tumours: a subgroup analysis of the CA209-538 clinical trial for rare cancers Academic Article uri icon


  • Purpose

    Combination immunotherapy with anti-CTLA-4 and anti-PD-1 blockade has demonstrated significant clinical activity across several tumor types. Neuroendocrine tumors (NET) are a heterogeneous group of rare tumors with limited treatment options. CA209-538 is a clinical trial of combination immunotherapy with ipilimumab and nivolumab in rare cancers, including advanced NETs.

    Patients and methods

    CA209-538 is a prospective multicenter clinical trial in patients with advanced rare cancers. Patients received treatment with nivolumab at a dose of 3 mg/kg and ipilimumab at 1 mg/kg every three weeks for four doses, followed by nivolumab 3 mg/kg every two weeks and continued for up to 96 weeks, until disease progression or the development of unacceptable toxicity. Response was assessed every 12 weeks by RECIST 1.1. The primary endpoint was clinical benefit rate (CBR; complete remission + partial remission + stable disease).


    Twenty-nine patients with advanced NETs received treatment. Three (10%) patients had low-, 13 (45%) had intermediate-, and 13 (45%) had high-grade tumors; lung was the most common primary site (39%). The objective response rate was 24% with a CBR of 72%; 43% of patients with pancreatic neuroendocrine neoplasms (NEN), and 33% of patients with atypical bronchial carcinoid achieved an objective response. The median progression-free survival was 4.8 months [95% confidence interval (CI): 2.7-10.5] and overall survival was 14.8 months (95% CI: 4.1-21.3). Immune-related toxicity was reported in 66% of patients with 34% experiencing grade 3/4 events.


    Combination immunotherapy with ipilimumab and nivolumab demonstrated significant clinical activity in subgroups of patients with advanced NETs including patients with atypical bronchial carcinoid and high-grade pancreatic NENs.


  • Klein, Oliver
  • Kee, Damien
  • Markman, Ben
  • Michael, Michael
  • Underhill, Craig R
  • Carlino, Matteo S
  • Jackett, Louise
  • Lum, Caroline
  • Scott, Clare L
  • Nagrial, Adnan
  • Behren, Andreas
  • So, Jane Yeojeong
  • Palmer, Jodie
  • Cebon, Jonathan S

publication date

  • September 2020