Data presented at the American Urological Association’s Annual Meeting on Sept. 10, 2021 shows 72% of patients in a Phase 2/3 trial for BCG-unresponsive non-muscle invasive bladder cancer have durable complete responses to treatment (median 19.9 months) and 85% of patients avoid cystectomy. See presentation here. Listen to Webcast here

Bladder Cancer Clinical Trial

Bladder cancer has a high incidence worldwide; it caused 212,536 deaths and an estimated 573,278 new cases were diagnosed in 20201. In the United States, bladder cancer is the fourth most commonly diagnosed solid malignancy in men and the twelfth for women; The American Cancer Society estimates 80,470 new cases and 17,670 deaths in 20192. Approximately 75-85% of all newly diagnosed cases of bladder cancer are non-muscle invasive bladder cancer (NMIBC).

For the last 30 years, BCG immunotherapy has been the standard for treating NMIBC. However, disease recurrence and progression rates remain unacceptably high. Standard of care recommendations for these patients include lifetime invasive surveillance and rapid treatment of recurrences, creating a substantial financial burden and drastic impact on quality of life. Of those patients who experience recurrence, approximately 30% will progress and succumb to their disease over a 15-year period, and another 50% will undergo radical cystectomy of the bladder in an attempt to control their disease4.

For high-risk NMIBC patients who are BCG-unresponsive with persistent or recurrent disease, treatment guidelines recommend a surgical procedure called radical cystectomy, a surgery to remove the entire bladder that may require removal of other surrounding organs. In men, removal of the prostate may be necessary, and in women, surgeons may also remove the uterus, fallopian tubes, ovaries and cervix, and occasionally a portion of the vagina. Despite the advent of minimally invasive procedures and robotic techniques, the 90-day mortality and morbidity rates in patients who undergo cystectomy remain unacceptably high at 5.1-8.1% and 28-64%, respectively5. Based on this urgent need, FDA published guidance in February 2018 to address BCG unresponsive non-muscle invasive bladder cancer (NMIBC), stating that the goal of therapy in patients with BCG-unresponsive NMIBC is to avoid cystectomy.

QUILT-3.032: A Multicenter Clinical Trial of Intravesical Bacillus Calmette-Guerin (BCG) in Combination With ALT-803 in Patients with BCG Unresponsive High-Grade Non-Muscle Invasive Bladder Cancer

This open-label, three cohort multicenter Phase 2/3 study of intravesical BCG plus Anktiva (N-803) in patients with BCG-unresponsive high-grade NMIBC was opened in 2017. The primary endpoint for Cohort A of this Phase 2/3 study is incidence of complete response (CR) of CIS at any time. The FDA had granted Fast Track Designation to the pivotal trial based on Phase I data. In December 2019, the FDA granted ImmunityBio Breakthrough Therapy Designation based on interim Phase 2 data indicating the primary endpoint of the trial was already met. (NCT03022825)

Karim Chamie
M.D., Associate Professor of Urology, David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA.
The high rates of complete response without serious adverse events indicates that the combination of BCG plus N-803 is a promising alternative to existing therapies and compares favorably to the other approved options valrubicin and pembrolizumab.

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