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Onvansertib Triplet Shows Promise in KRAS-Mutant Metastatic Colorectal Cancer

Nichole Tucker
Published Online:11:00 PM, Mon February 3, 2020
Daniel H. Ahn, DO
Daniel H. Ahn, DO
Patients with metastatic colorectal cancer (mCRC) treated with the combination of the investigational polo-like kinase 1 inhibitor, onvansertib, plus FOLFIRI (Irinotecan, Fluorouracil [5-FU], and folinic acid [leucovorin]), and bevacizumab (Avastin) had a 100% clinical benefit rate at 8 weeks by radiographic response in a phase Ib study presented at the 2020 Gastrointestinal Cancers Symposium. 

Data from the efficacy assessment also show that at 16 weeks, 100% of patients had a confirmed tumor decrease and additional tumor regression by radiographic scan. One of the patients had a partial response (PR) to the combination, and 4 patients had stable disease (SD). Additionally, 25% of the patients evaluated at 16 weeks (n = 3) had tumor decrease, 1 of whom has since proceeded to curative surgery. Within the first cycle of treatment, 5 out of 6 patients with KRAS mutations developed undetectable KRAS mutant levels. 

More than 2 patients in the study experienced adverse events (AEs), according to the safety assessment. Most of the AEs were grade 1 or 2, with the exception of grade 3/4 abdominal pain, and neutropenia. The most common grade 1/2 AEs were fatigue (88%), nausea (50%), and stomach pain (38%). Overall, the investigators concluded that the combination was tolerable in patients with KRAS-mutant mCRC. 

The phase Ib study is in the second dose escalation with one more dose escalation to go. Once the phase II portion of the study initiates, the primary end point of the study will be objective response rate, and the secondary end points will include the number of participants with a complete response, a PR, SD, progression-free survival, and the number of participants with a reduction in KRAS allelic burden on liquid biopsies.

In an interview with Targeted Oncology, Daniel H. Ahn, DO, internist/oncologist at the Mayo Clinic, discussed the phase Ib/II study of onvansertib plus FOLFIRI and bevacizumab for the treatment of patients with mCRC with a KRAS mutation. He also predicts how the findings of this study may impact the treatment landscape for CRC.
TARGETED ONCOLOGY: Can you provide background on this study? What was the overall goal?

Ahn: KRAS mutations are prevalent in patients with mCRC. As we know from previously published data, patients with KRAS exon 2 mutation amount to greater than 40%, and the others are exon 3 and 4. KRAS mutations are associated with poor prognosis and anti-EGFR resistance, and they cannot receive agents such as cetuximab (Erbitux) or panitumumab (Vectibix). The poor prognostic indications highlight the need for new targeted agents against patients with KRAS alterations. 

Trovagene has been able to generate a lot of data showing that FOLFIRI backbone with onvansertib can create a synergistic effect. 

TARGETED ONCOLOGY: What was the rationale for this study?

Ahn: Onvansertib is a first-in-class third-generation, oral, highly-selective adenosine triphosphate inhibitor of the serine/threonine enzyme, and based on preclinical studies, it has been shown that the combination of this agent with irinotecan has synergistic effects against cells with KRAS mutations. This preclinical data provided the rationale for the study, specifically with the chemotherapy regimen, FOLFIRI, plus bevacizumab, which is the standard first- or second-line therapy in patients with KRAS-mutated mCRC in combination with this investigational agent.

TARGETED ONCOLOGY: What promising signals were observed in this study?

Ahn: The preliminary results from the study are interesting because this is a phase Ib dose-escalation trial looking at the standard chemotherapy regimen FOLFIRI plus bevacizumab in combination with onvansertib. What we noticed is that when we looked at some of the correlative work, including capturing circulating tumor DNA (ctDNA), which demonstrated a decrease in percentage of KRAS-mutated circulating tumor DNA. These were the patients that were treated with the investigational agents in combination with chemotherapy and bevacizumab. Not only did we see evidence of radiographic response, but we also saw evidence of a decrease in their KRAS-mutated ctDNA.

TARGETED ONCOLOGY: How can these findings impact the treatment landscape for mCRC?

Ahn: While I understand the limitations of early preclinical data, what these data suggest is that onvansertib may truly affect KRAS-mutant mCRC in patients, a disease [in which] we know there are no targeted agents that can [reach] all KRAS gene alterations. There are some early clinical data trials looking at specific KRAS clones targeting specific KRAS mutations, specifically KRASG12C. There are no approved agents that are pan RAS inhibitors.

If this treatment does prove to be effective in the phase II study, it could eventually go on to a phase III study and eventually become a new standard of care patients with KRAS-mutated CRC. This therapy may not only be effective in CRC but also in other diseases where KRAS alterations are prevalent.
Barsi A, Lenz HJ, Samuelz E. et al. A Phase 1b/2 Study of Onvansertib in Combination with FOLFIRI and Bevacizumab for Second Line Treatment of Metastatic Colorectal Cancer in Patients with a KRAS Mutation. J Clin Oncol. 2020;38(suppl

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