A phase 1b study of AFM13 in combination with pembrolizumab in patients with relapsed or refractory Hodgkin lymphoma

Nancy L. Bartlett, Alex F. Herrera, Eva Domingo-Domenech, Amitkumar Mehta, Andres Forero-Torres, Ramon Garcia-Sanz, Philippe Armand, Sumana Devata, Antonia Rodriguez Izquierdo, Izidore S. Lossos, Craig Reeder, Taimur Sher, Robert Chen, Sylvia E. Schwarz, Leila Alland, Andras Strassz, Kim Prier, Cassandra Choe-Juliak, Stephen M. Ansell

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Scopus citations


In relapsed/refractory Hodgkin lymphoma (R/R HL), immunotherapies such as the anti-programmed death-1 inhibitor pembrolizumab have demonstrated efficacy as monotherapy and are playing an increasingly prominent role in treatment. The CD30/CD16A-bispecific antibody AFM13 is an innate immune cell engager, a first-in-class, tetravalent antibody, designed to create a bridge between CD30 on HL cells and the CD16A receptor on natural killer cells and macrophages, to induce tumor cell killing. Early studies of AFM13 have demonstrated signs of efficacy as monotherapy for patients with R/R HL and the combination of AFM13 with pembrolizumab represents a rational new treatment modality. Here, we describe a phase 1b, dose-escalation study to assess the safety and preliminary efficacy of AFM13 in combination with pembrolizumab in patients with R/R HL. The primary objective was estimating the maximum tolerated dose; the secondary objectives were to assess safety, tolerability, antitumor efficacy, pharmacokinetics, and pharmacodynamics. In this heavily pretreated patient population, treatment with the combination of AFM13 and pembrolizumab was generally well tolerated, with similar safety profiles compared to the known profiles of each agent alone. The combination of AFM13 with pembrolizumab demonstrated an objective response rate of 88% at the highest treatment dose, with an 83% overall response rate for the overall population. Pharmacokinetic assessment of AFM13 in the combination setting revealed a half-life of up to 20.6 hours. This proof-of-concept study holds promise as a novel immunotherapy combination worthy of further investigation. This phase 1b study was registered at www.clinicaltrials.gov as NCT02665650.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2401-2409
Number of pages9
Issue number21
StatePublished - Nov 19 2020

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Immunology
  • Hematology
  • Cell Biology


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