Investigational Drug Improves
Immunotherapy Response


An investigational drug, guadecitabine, had shown promise in phase II trials with leukemia, but failed to meet its endpoints in phase III trials. It is a hypomethylating agent. Hypermethylation is common in cancer; it involves the turning off of a cancer suppressor genes.

Now a human study is examining if it may be useful in conjunction with immunotherapy for a variety of solid tumors.

” The study involved just 34 patients, 30 of whom also had their cancer analysed for activity and growth. Patients with breast, prostate and lung cancer were included. 18 of the patients had previously had the immunotherapy, and almost half of those had seen cancer progress during treatment.

Overall, 12 of the cancer patients enrolled in the trial had their disease kept in check for 24-weeks or more after receiving the double drug combination – pembrolizumab once per three weeks with guadecitabine for four consecutive days. Those patients’ blood showed the immune system was being activated within the tumours. Of the 12 people who had NSCLC, 10 had had pembrolizumab previous, and 5 had restimulation of immune activity with the combination.”