Benoit You, MD, PhD, on the use of Avelumab to Treat Patients With Gestational Trophoblastic Tumors

The expert from the Centre Hospitalier Lyon-Sud discussed the results of a phase II study of avelumab for patients with GTT who were resistant to chemotherapy.

A small, phase II study presented at the ASCO 2020 Virtual Scientific Program found that avelumab (Bavencio) demonstrated the potential to cure 53% of patients with gestational trophoblastic tumors (GTT) who were resistant to single-agent chemotherapy.

In an interview with CancerNetwork, lead study author Benoit You, MD, PhD of the Centre Hospitalier Lyon-Sud and Lyon Investigational Center for Treatments in Oncology and Hematology, discussed the study and some key results from it.



So, we enrolled 15 patients, out of them 8 patients had HCG normalization, and we could stop avelumab. And none of them presented any relapse after avelumab discontinuation, and we have now 29 months follow up, meaning these patients are likely to be cured from the GTT. So that means actually, we successfully treated 53% of the patient. Interestingly, out of these patients, where [they] should have been treated with very toxic polychemotherapy, these patients [were] successfully treated with avelumab. So, they really could escape from the high toxicity of polychemotherapy thanks to avelumab. I think it's a very significant result. Another interesting result was the fact that one patient who was successfully treated with avelumab could develop a normal pregnancy. Twelve months after avelumab discontinuation, she was allowed to stop contraception. After one year of normal HCG, she could develop a normal pregnancy and deliver a normal baby. So, this was the first report of a normal pregnancy after successful treatment with immunotherapy. So, this is so interesting. Now for the seven remaining patients who had resistance to avelumab they were successfully treated with other chemotherapy, with or with our without surgery.