2021 AACR: A first-in-human, Phase 1 study of ASTX029, a dual-mechanism inhibitor of ERK1/2, in relapsed/refractory solid tumors

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A first-in-human, Phase 1 study of ASTX029, a dual-mechanism inhibitor of ERK1/2, in relapsed/refractory solid tumors


Background: The RAS-RAF-MEK-ERK pathway is commonly upregulated in human cancers. This is an open-label Phase 1 study of ASTX029, a dual-mechanism extracellular signal-regulated kinase 1/2 (ERK1/2) inhibitor, in subjects with relapsed/refractory solid tumors (NCT03520075).

Methods: The primary objectives are to identify a maximum tolerated dose and/or recommended Phase 2 dose. ASTX029 was administered orally daily of 21-day cycles as powder-in-bottle (PiB, Cohort 1/10mg) and tablet formulation (beginning with Cohort 6/80 mg) under fed conditions, and as tablet formulation under fasting conditions (beginning with Cohort 8/40 mg). Dose escalation occurred according to a “3+3 design” based on dose-limiting toxicity (DLT) events. Disease response was evaluated according to RECIST v1.1 and exploratory indicators, including tumor variant allele frequency changes detected by cell-free DNA (cfDNA) quantitation.

Results: 56 subjects were treated with at least one dose of ASTX029 in Phase 1A (dose escalation). Of 46 subjects with data, 35 (76%) had any RAS mutations and 3 (9%) had BRAF mutations; 1 subject had both. At the 200 mg dose level (Cohort 5, PiB/fed), one of six evaluable subjects developed a DLT (grade 3 maculopapular rash). At the 280 mg dose level (Cohort 12, tablet/fasting), two subjects experienced grade 2 central serous retinopathy adverse events (CSR AEs) within a few days of dosing. These were the only CSR AEs noted and one event was declared a DLT. Both subjects recovered to baseline within days of dose interruption. One cohort level below this dose was expanded (Cohort 11/200 mg, tablet/fasting); this dose level was deemed safe (without a DLT or grade ≥2 visual AE in 7 subjects) and was selected for Phase 1B dose expansion. Mean pharmacokinetic (PK) exposure was 151% of target exposure, which is defined as the level expected to have biological activity based on animal studies. The most frequent grade ≥2 AEs assessed as drug-related included nausea (4 subjects, grade 2) and transaminitis (4 subjects: 3 grade 2, 1 grade 3). The grade 3 transaminitis occurred in a subject with metastatic sarcoma involving the liver. There was one serious AE of malaise considered related to study drug. Two subjects, one with KRAS-G12A and BRAF-D549N non-small cell lung cancer (120 mg) and one with KRAS-G12D metastatic pancreatic cancer (200 mg), achieved partial responses (cycle 15/ongoing and cycle 3/ongoing, respectively). In 2 subjects with stable disease as the best response, longitudinal cfDNA sequencing showed a decrease of tumor variant allele frequencies after 2 cycles of ASTX029, followed by a return to baseline levels before disease progression. The most common reason for ASTX029 discontinuation was disease progression.

Conclusions: This Phase 1A study of the ERK1/2 inhibitor ASTX029 has identified a dose level of 200 mg daily of a 21-day cycle for investigation in the Phase 1B portion of the study. Pharmacokinetic and pharmacodynamic data suggest target exposures are achieved with preliminary clinical activity.