Sign In

Exploring Antibody-Drug Conjugates: A Promising Frontier in Endometrial Cancer Treatment

Core Concepts
Antibody-drug conjugates (ADCs) are emerging as a transformative treatment option for patients with endometrial cancer, offering promising response rates and potential to overcome previous therapeutic limitations.
This podcast episode discusses the clinical use of antibody-drug conjugates (ADCs) in the treatment of endometrial cancer. The key highlights are: Trastuzumab deruxtecan, a HER2-targeted ADC, has shown impressive response rates of 58% in recurrent endometrial cancer patients, with an 85% response rate in those with confirmed 3+ HER2 expression. This has led to its inclusion in the NCCN guidelines for endometrial cancer. The use of trastuzumab deruxtecan requires careful monitoring for potential toxicities, particularly interstitial lung disease, which can be a serious adverse event. Pathologists play a crucial role in accurately determining HER2 expression levels to guide appropriate patient selection. Beyond trastuzumab deruxtecan, there are other promising HER2-directed ADCs in development, such as BNT323/DB-1303 from BioNTech, which are exploring broader biomarker criteria (e.g., including HER2 1+) to expand the eligible patient population. Additional targets for ADCs in endometrial cancer include FOLR1, TROP-2, B7-H4, and CDH6. Combination strategies with DNA damage response inhibitors are also being investigated to potentially enhance the efficacy of these ADCs. The rapid progress in ADC development for endometrial cancer represents an exciting new era, with the potential to transform outcomes for patients who have historically had limited treatment options, especially in the recurrent setting.
The DESTINY-PanTumor02 study reported a 58% overall response rate with trastuzumab deruxtecan in recurrent endometrial cancer patients, with an 85% response rate in those with confirmed 3+ HER2 expression.
"With just monoclonal antibodies, such as trastuzumab and pertuzumab, the response rates were very low. Also, finding tumors that were what we traditionally called HER2 high, HER2 2+-ish positive or 3+, kind of limited the population." "When you hold this drug that's working, patients don't lose control while you're waiting to get this worked up. They actually do fine. You have a grace period to do the workup and make sure you're not treating through grade 1 pneumonitis, where the patient does not want to stop because they feel fine and they are baffled as to why you are worried about them."

Key Insights Distilled From

by Ursula A. Ma... at 06-25-2024
Episode 1: Antibody-Drug Conjugates in Endometrial Cancer

Deeper Inquiries

What are the potential mechanisms of resistance to ADCs in endometrial cancer, and how can they be overcome through combination strategies or the development of next-generation ADCs?

Resistance to ADCs in endometrial cancer can arise from various mechanisms, including: Antigen Expression Variability: Tumor heterogeneity can lead to differences in antigen expression levels, affecting the efficacy of ADCs that target specific antigens. This variability can result in subpopulations of cancer cells with low or absent antigen expression, reducing the effectiveness of ADC therapy. Intracellular Trafficking: Resistance can occur due to impaired internalization and trafficking of ADCs into cancer cells. If the ADC-antigen complex fails to be internalized efficiently, the payload may not reach its target site within the cell, leading to treatment resistance. Payload Efflux: Cancer cells can develop mechanisms to pump out the cytotoxic payload delivered by the ADC, reducing its intracellular concentration and limiting its cytotoxic effects. Alterations in Signaling Pathways: Activation of alternative signaling pathways or bypass mechanisms can render cancer cells insensitive to the cytotoxic effects of ADCs, promoting resistance. To overcome resistance to ADCs in endometrial cancer, several strategies can be employed: Combination Therapies: Combining ADCs with other targeted agents, chemotherapy, or immunotherapy can enhance treatment efficacy and overcome resistance mechanisms. For example, combining ADCs with DNA damage-response inhibitors or other cytotoxic agents can synergistically enhance cytotoxicity and overcome resistance. Next-Generation ADCs: Developing next-generation ADCs with novel payloads, linkers, or targeting strategies can help circumvent resistance mechanisms. These advanced ADCs can be designed to target alternative antigens, utilize different cytotoxic payloads, or enhance intracellular trafficking for improved efficacy. Biomarker-Driven Approaches: Utilizing biomarkers to identify patients who are more likely to respond to ADC therapy can help personalize treatment and optimize patient selection. Biomarker testing can help predict response to ADCs and guide treatment decisions to overcome resistance.

What are the potential mechanisms of resistance to ADCs in endometrial cancer, and how can they be overcome through combination strategies or the development of next-generation ADCs?

Optimizing biomarker selection and testing for ADC eligibility in endometrial cancer is crucial to ensure appropriate patient identification and maximize therapeutic benefit. Here are ways to further optimize this process: Comprehensive Biomarker Panels: Incorporating a panel of biomarkers beyond a single antigen can provide a more comprehensive assessment of tumor characteristics and potential response to ADC therapy. This may include assessing antigen expression levels, genetic mutations, and other molecular markers relevant to ADC efficacy. Standardized Testing Protocols: Establishing standardized testing protocols for biomarker assessment, including consistent methodologies for antigen expression quantification, can help ensure accuracy and reliability of test results. This can minimize variability in biomarker testing and improve patient stratification for ADC therapy. Dynamic Biomarker Monitoring: Implementing dynamic monitoring of biomarkers throughout treatment can help track changes in antigen expression levels and tumor characteristics over time. This adaptive approach can guide treatment modifications and optimize therapy based on evolving biomarker profiles. Multidisciplinary Collaboration: Facilitating collaboration between pathologists, oncologists, and researchers can enhance the interpretation of biomarker testing results and facilitate informed treatment decisions. Multidisciplinary tumor boards can provide valuable insights into biomarker selection and patient eligibility for ADC therapy.

Given the rapid pace of ADC development across various cancer types, what lessons can be learned from other disease settings to inform the optimal clinical integration and sequencing of these novel therapies in endometrial cancer?

Lessons from other disease settings can inform the optimal clinical integration and sequencing of ADC therapies in endometrial cancer: Personalized Medicine Approaches: Leveraging insights from personalized medicine approaches in other cancer types can help tailor ADC therapy to individual patient characteristics and tumor biology. Identifying predictive biomarkers and patient-specific factors can guide treatment decisions and optimize clinical outcomes. Combination Strategies: Learning from successful combination strategies in different cancer settings can inform the development of effective combination therapies with ADCs in endometrial cancer. Understanding synergistic interactions between ADCs and other agents can enhance treatment efficacy and overcome resistance mechanisms. Sequential Treatment Paradigms: Adopting sequential treatment paradigms based on treatment response and disease progression observed in other cancers can guide the optimal sequencing of ADC therapy in endometrial cancer. Tailoring treatment sequences to individual patient needs and tumor dynamics can maximize therapeutic benefit. Clinical Trial Design: Drawing from innovative clinical trial designs and adaptive approaches used in other disease settings can optimize the evaluation of ADC therapies in endometrial cancer. Implementing biomarker-driven trials, basket studies, and real-time monitoring of treatment responses can accelerate the development and integration of ADCs in clinical practice.