Purpose: Malignant pleural mesothelioma (MPM) is an aggressive cancer associated with poor prognosis. CRS-207 is a live-attenuated Listeria monocytogenes engineered to express mesothelin, a tumor-associated antigen highly expressed in MPM. CRS-207 induces antitumor immune responses and increases susceptibility of neoplastic cells to immune-mediated killing. Patients and Methods: Patients with unresectable MPM, ECOG 0 or 1, and adequate organ and pulmonary function were enrolled in this multicenter, open-label phase Ib study. They received two priming infusions of 1 x 109 CFU CRS-207, followed by pemetrexed/cisplatin chemotherapy, and CRS-207 booster infusions. Primary objectives were safety and induction of immune response. Secondary/exploratory objectives included tumor response, progression-free survival (PFS), overall survival (OS), immune subset analysis, and gene-expression profiling of tumor. Results: Of 35 evaluable patients, 89% (31/35) had disease control with one complete response (3%), 19 partial responses (54%), and 10 stable disease (29%). The estimated median duration of response was 5.0 months (95% CI, 3.9–11.5). The median PFS and OS were 7.5 (95% CI, 7.0–9.9) and 14.7 (95% CI, 11.2–21.9) months, respectively. Tumor size reduction was observed post–CRS-207 infusion prior to chemotherapy in 11 of 35 (31%) patients. No unexpected treatment-related serious adverse events or deaths were observed. IHC analysis of pre- and post–CRS-207 treatment tumor biopsies revealed possible reinvigoration and proliferation of T cells, increased infiltration of dendritic and natural killer cells, increased CD8:Treg ratio, and a shift from immunosuppressive M2-like to proinflammatory M1-like macrophages following CRS-207 administration. Conclusions: Combination of CRS-207 and chemotherapy induced significant changes in the local tumor microenvironment and objective tumor responses in a majority of treated patients.
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