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351 Pembrolizumab plus lenvatinib vs chemotherapy and lenvatinib monotherapy for recurrent/metastatic head and neck squamous cell carcinoma that progressed on platinum therapy and immunotherapy: LEAP-009
  1. Kevin Harrington1,
  2. Ezra Cohen2,
  3. Lilian Siu3,
  4. Danny Rischin4,
  5. Lisa Licitra5,
  6. Jan Vermorken6,
  7. Quynh-Thu Le7,
  8. Makoto Tahara8,
  9. Jean-Pascal Machiels9,
  10. Natalyn Hawk10,
  11. Joy Ge11,
  12. Behzad Bidadi11,
  13. Ramona Swaby11 and
  14. Barbara Burtness12
  1. 1The Institute of Cancer Research, London, UK
  2. 2University of California San Diego and Moores Cancer Center, La Jolla, CA, USA
  3. 3University Health Network, Toronto, ON, Canada
  4. 4Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre, East Melbourne, Australia
  5. 5Fondazione IRCCS Istituto Nazionale dei Tumori and University of Milan, Milan, Italy
  6. 6Antwerp University Hospital, Edegem, Belgium
  7. 7Stanford University, Stanford, CA, USA
  8. 8National Cancer Center Hospital, Kashiwa, Japan
  9. 9Université catholique de Louvain, Brussels, Belgium
  10. 10Eisai Inc., Woodcliff Lake, NJ, USA
  11. 11Merck and Co., Inc., Kenilworth, NJ, USA
  12. 12Yale Cancer Center, New Haven, CT, USA


Background Pembrolizumab alone and in combination with platinum-based chemotherapy have become standard first-line treatment options for recurrent/metastatic head and neck squamous cell carcinoma (R/M HNSCC), and there is a growing unmet need for safe and efficacious treatment options for R/M HNSCC that has progressed on or after platinum-based chemotherapy and immunotherapy. Data from Study 111/KEYNOTE-146 showed promising antitumor activity and acceptable safety for the PD-1 inhibitor pembrolizumab given in combination with the multikinase inhibitor lenvatinib in patients with metastatic HNSCC.1 LEAP-009 (NCT04428151), a global, randomized, open-label, phase 2 trial, will assess the efficacy and safety of pembrolizumab in combination with lenvatinib versus SOC chemotherapy, as well as the efficacy and safety of lenvatinib monotherapy, in patients with R/M HNSCC that has progressed after platinum-based chemotherapy and a PD-(L)1 inhibitor.

Methods Eligible patients are adults with histologically confirmed, locally incurable R/M HNSCC of the oral cavity, oropharynx, hypopharynx, or larynx, disease progression at any time during or after platinum-containing chemotherapy (with or without cetuximab), disease progression within 12 weeks from the last dose of treatment with ≥2 doses of a PD-(L)1 inhibitor, measurable disease based on RECIST v1.1 as confirmed by BICR, ECOG performance status of 0 or 1, and no major blood vessel invasion/infiltration. Patients will be randomized 3:3:2 to pembrolizumab (200 mg IV Q3W for up to 35 cycles) plus lenvatinib (20 mg orally once daily), investigator’s choice of SOC chemotherapy (docetaxel, paclitaxel, cetuximab, or capecitabine), or lenvatinib monotherapy (24 mg orally once daily). Randomization will be stratified by PD-L1 tumor proportion score (<50% versus ≥50%) and ECOG performance status (0 versus 1). Treatment will continue until centrally verified disease progression, unacceptable toxicity, or decision to withdraw. Patients in the chemotherapy and lenvatinib monotherapy arms may be eligible to receive pembrolizumab plus lenvatinib upon disease progression. The primary endpoint is ORR according to modified RECIST v1.1 as assessed by BICR. Secondary endpoints include PFS, OS, DOR, and safety. Interim futility analysis will be conducted for the lenvatinib monotherapy arm. Tumor imaging by CT or MRI will be performed 6 weeks after randomization, every 6 weeks through year 1, and every 9 weeks thereafter. Safety will be monitored throughout the study and for 30 days after treatment end (90 days for serious AEs if no new anticancer treatment is initiated, and at any time if the AE is considered treatment-related). Recruitment is ongoing; Planned enrollment is ~400 patients.

Results N/A

Conclusions N/A

Trial Registration ClinicalTrials. gov Identifier, NCT04428151

Ethics Approval The study and protocol were approved by the Institutional Review Board or ethics committee at each site.

Consent All patients provided written informed consent to participate in the clinical trial.


  1. Matthew H Taylor, Chung-Han Lee, Vicky Makker, et al. Phase IB/II trial of lenvatinib plus pembrolizumab in patients with advanced renal cell carcinoma, endometrial cancer, and other selected advanced solid tumors. J Clin Oncol 2020;38(11):1154–1163.

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