Identification of neutralising pembrolizumab anti-drug antibodies in patients with melanoma.
Sasson SC., Wilkins LE., Watson RA., Jolly C., Brain O., Klenerman P., Olsson-Brown A., Fairfax BP.
Development of anti-drug antibodies (ADAs) can interfere with therapeutic monoclonal antibodies and may lead to drug neutralisation and clinical disease progression. Measurement of circulating drug levels and development of ADAs in the setting of anti-programmed cell death-1 agent pembrolizumab has not been well-studied. Enzyme-linked immunosorbent assays were used to measure pembrolizumab drug level and ADAs in 41 patients with melanoma at baseline, Time-point 1 (3 weeks) and Time-point 2 (21 weeks). Assay results were related to patient demographics and clinical outcome data at 6 months. The median pembrolizumab drug level at 3 weeks was 237 ng/μL and did not correlate with age, sex or body surface area.17/41 patients had an ADA detected at any timepoint, with the highest prevalence at Timepoint 1 (median concentration = 17 ng/μL). The presence of an ADA did not correlate with clinical progression at 6 months. 3/41 (7%) of patients displayed a falling pembrolizumab drug level and rising ADA titre between Timepoint 1 and 2 suggestive of a neutralising ADA. Pembrolizumab drug levels and ADAs can be readily measured. The rates of total and treatment-emergent ADAs may be higher in "real-word" settings than those previously reported. Larger studies are needed to determine effect of neutralising ADAs on long-term clinical outcome.