Clinical trial studies immunotherapy combination for recurrent thymoma and thymic carcinoma

anatomy of thymus gland

Anatomy of the thymus gland; drawing shows the thymus gland in the upper chest under the breastbone. Also shown are the ribs, lungs, and heart.
Image Source: NCI Visuals Online

Adults whose thymoma or thymic carcinoma has progressed after treatment with at least one platinum-containing chemotherapy drug may be eligible to participate in a clinical trial at the NIH Clinical Center.

Arun Rajan, M.D., Senior Clinician in the Thoracic and GI Malignancies Branch, is leading a clinical trial of a treatment for thymoma and thymic carcinoma that has returned after chemotherapy and cannot be treated with surgery. Thymic epithelial tumors (TETs) are rare cancers that originate from the cells of the thymus, a small organ that sits in the chest between the lungs and above the heart. The growth potential of cancers of the thymus can vary. Thymomas generally demonstrate slower growth, whereas thymic carcinomas can grow rapidly. However, all TETs have the ability to spread widely to various organs and become difficult to treat. There are no approved drugs for treating TETs that have come back after chemotherapy. Researchers want to see if combination immunotherapy with the drug Bintrafusp alfa (M7824) can help patients with recurrent TETs. Bintrafusp alfa blocks two immunological  pathways that are potentially involved in helping cancer cells escape attack by the immune system. Once these pathways are blocked, cells of the immune system have an improved chance of killing cancer cells. Bintrafusp alfa has not been studied as a treatment for TETs, but in studies in other types of cancer it has shown promising results with fewer side effects than chemotherapy.

Clinicaltrials.gov identifier: NCT04417660

NCI Protocol ID: NCI-20-C-0097

Official Title: A Phase II, Open-Label Trial of Bintrafusp Alfa (M7824) in Subjects With Thymoma and Thymic Carcinoma

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Summary Posted: Tue, 02/09/2021