(19)
(11)EP 3 686 219 A1

(12)EUROPEAN PATENT APPLICATION

(43)Date of publication:
29.07.2020 Bulletin 2020/31

(21)Application number: 19216065.3

(22)Date of filing:  03.02.2015
(51)Int. Cl.: 
C07K 16/28  (2006.01)
A61K 39/395  (2006.01)
A61P 35/00  (2006.01)
(84)Designated Contracting States:
AL AT BE BG CH CY CZ DE DK EE ES FI FR GB GR HR HU IE IS IT LI LT LU LV MC MK MT NL NO PL PT RO RS SE SI SK SM TR
Designated Extension States:
BA ME

(30)Priority: 04.02.2014 US 201461935748 P

(62)Application number of the earlier application in accordance with Art. 76 EPC:
15703438.0 / 3102604

(71)Applicants:
  • Pfizer Inc.
    New York, NY 10017 (US)
  • Merck Sharp & Dohme Corp.
    Rahway, NJ 07065 (US)

(72)Inventors:
  • DAVIS, Craig, Bennett
    Groton, CT 06340 (US)
  • KOEHLER, Maria, Theresa
    Narberth, PA 19072 (US)
  • YAN, Li
    North Wales, PA 19454 (US)

(74)Representative: Gill Jennings & Every LLP 
The Broadgate Tower 20 Primrose Street
London EC2A 2ES
London EC2A 2ES (GB)

 
Remarks:
This application was filed on 13-12-2019 as a divisional application to the application mentioned under INID code 62.
Remarks:
Claims filed after the date of filing of the application (Rule 68(4) EPC).
 


(54)COMBINATION OF A PD-1 ANTAGONIST AND A 4-1BB AGONIST FOR TREATING CANCER


(57) The present disclosure describes combination therapies comprising an antagonist of Programmed Death 1 receptor (PD-1) and a selective 4-1BB agonist, and the use of the combination therapies for the treatment of cancer, and in particular for treating cancers that express PD-L1.




Description

RELATED APPLICATIONS



[0001] This application claims the benefit of U.S. provisional application 61/935,748, filed on February 4, 2014, which is incorporated by reference in its entirety.

SEQUENCE INFORMATION



[0002] The instant application contains a Sequence Listing which has been submitted electronically in ASCII format and is hereby incorporated by reference in its entirety. Said ASCII copy, created on January 26, 2015, is named PCFC-954-WO1_SL.txt and is 44,501 bytes in size.

FIELD OF THE INVENTION



[0003] The present invention relates to combination therapies useful for the treatment of cancer. In particular, the invention relates to a combination therapy which comprises an antagonist of a Programmed Death 1 protein (PD-1) and an agonist of a 4-1BB protein.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION



[0004] PD-1 is recognized as an important player in immune regulation and the maintenance of peripheral tolerance. PD-1 is moderately expressed on naive T, B and NKT cells and up-regulated by T/B cell receptor signaling on lymphocytes, monocytes and myeloid cells (1).

[0005] Two known ligands for PD-1, PD-L1 (B7-H1) and PD-L2 (B7-DC), are expressed in human cancers arising in various tissues. In large sample sets of e.g. ovarian, renal, colorectal, pancreatic, liver cancers and melanoma, it was shown that PD-L1 expression correlated with poor prognosis and reduced overall survival irrespective of subsequent treatment (2-13). Similarly, PD-1 expression on tumor infiltrating lymphocytes was found to mark dysfunctional T cells in breast cancer and melanoma (14-15) and to correlate with poor prognosis in renal cancer (16). Thus, it has been proposed that PD-L1 expressing tumor cells interact with PD-1 expressing T cells to attenuate T cell activation and evasion of immune surveillance, thereby contributing to an impaired immune response against the tumor.

[0006] Several monoclonal antibodies that inhibit the interaction between PD-1 and one or both of its ligands PD-L1 and PD-L2 are in clinical development for treating cancer. It has been proposed that the efficacy of such antibodies might be enhanced if administered in combination with other approved or experimental cancer therapies, e.g., radiation, surgery, chemotherapeutic agents, targeted therapies, agents that inhibit other signaling pathways that are disregulated in tumors, and other immune enhancing agents.

[0007] 4-1BB (CD137 and TNFRSF9), which was first identified as an inducible costimulatory receptor expressed on activated T cells, is a membrane spanning glycoprotein of the Tumor Necrosis Factor (TNF) receptor superfamily. Current understanding of 4-1 BB indicates that expression is generally activation dependent and encompasses a broad subset of immune cells including activated NK and NKT cells; regulatory T cells; dendritic cells (DC) including follicular DC; stimulated mast cells, differentiating myeloid cells, monocytes, neutrophils, eosinophils (17), and activated B cells (18). 4-1BB expression has also been demonstrated on tumor vasculature (19-20) and atherosclerotic endothelium (21). The ligand that stimulates 4-1BB (4-1BBL) is expressed on activated antigen-presenting cells (APCs), myeloid progenitor cells and hematopoeitic stem cells.

[0008] Interaction of 4-1BB on activated normal human B cells with its ligand at the time of B cell receptor engagement stimulates proliferation and enhances survival (18). The potential impact of 4-1BB engagement in B cell lymphoma has been investigated in two published studies. Evaluation of several types of human primary NHL samples indicated that 4-1BB was expressed predominantly on infiltrating T cells rather than the lymphoma cells (22). The addition of 4-1BB agonists to in vitro cultures of B lymphoma cells with rituximab and NK cells resulted in increased lymphoma killing (23). In addition, B cell immunophenotyping was performed in two experiments using PF-05082566 in cynomolgus monkeys with doses from 0.001-100 mg/kg; in these experiments peripheral blood B cell numbers were either unchanged or decreased.

[0009] 4-1BB is undetectable on the surface of naive T cells but expression increases upon activation. Upon 4-1BB activation, TRAF 1 and TRAP 2, which are pro-survival members of the TNFR-associated factor (TRAF) family, are recruited to the 4-1BB cytoplasmic tail, resulting in downstream activation of NFkB and the Mitogen Activated Protein (MAP) Kinase cascade including Erk, Jnk, and p38 MAP kinases. NFkB activation leads to upregulation of Bfl-1 and Bcl-XL, pro-survival members of the Bcl-2 family. The pro-apoptotic protein Bim is downregulated in a TRAF1 and Erk dependent manner (24).

[0010] Reports have shown that 4-1BB agonist mAbs increase costimulatory molecule expression and markedly enhance cytolytic T lymphocyte responses, resulting in anti-tumor efficacy in various models. 4-1BB agonist mAbs have demonstrated efficacy in prophylactic and therapeutic settings and both monotherapy and combination therapy tumor models and have established durable anti-tumor protective T cell memory responses (25). 4-1BB agonists also inhibit autoimmune reactions in a variety of autoimmunity models (26).

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION



[0011] In one embodiment, the invention provides a method for treating a cancer in an individual comprising administering to the individual a combination therapy which comprises a PD-1 antagonist and a 4-1BB agonist.

[0012] In another embodiment, the invention provides a medicament comprising a PD-1 antagonist for use in combination with a 4-1BB agonist for treating a cancer.

[0013] In yet another embodiment, the invention provides a medicament comprising a 4-1BB agonist for use in combination with a PD-1 antagonist for treating a cancer.

[0014] Other embodiments provide for use of a PD-1 antagonist in the manufacture of medicament for treating a cancer in an individual when administered in combination with a 4-1BB agonist and use of a 4-1BB agonist in the manufacture of a medicament for treating a cancer in an individual when administered in combination with a PD-1 antagonist.

[0015] In a still further embodiment, the invention provides for use of a PD-1 antagonist and a 4-1BB agonist in the manufacture of medicaments for treating a cancer in an individual. In some embodiments, the medicaments comprise a kit, and the kit also comprises a package insert comprising instructions for using the PD-1 antagonist in combination with a 4-1BB agonist to treat a cancer in an individual.

[0016] In all of the above treatment method, medicaments and uses, the PD-1 antagonist inhibits the binding of PD-L1 to PD-1, and preferably also inhibits the binding of PD-L2 to PD-1. In some embodiments of the above treatment method, medicaments and uses, the PD-1 antagonist is a monoclonal antibody, or an antigen binding fragment thereof, which specifically binds to PD-1 or to PD-L1 and blocks the binding of PD-L1 to PD-1. In one embodiment, the PD-1 antagonist is an anti-PD-1 antibody which comprises a heavy chain and a light chain, and wherein the heavy and light chains comprise the amino acid sequences shown in Figure 6 (SEQ ID NO: 21 and SEQ ID NO: 22).

[0017] In all of the above embodiments of the treatment method, medicaments and uses, the 4-1BB agonist binds to the extracellular domain of 4-1BB and is capable of agonizing 4-1BB. In some embodiments of the above treatment method, medicaments and uses, the 4-1BB agonist is a monoclonal antibody, or an antigen binding fragment thereof.

[0018] In one embodiment, the isolated antibody binds human 4-1BB at an epitope located within amino acid residues 115 - 156 of SEQ ID NO: 26. In some embodiments, the antibody comprises the H-CDR1 amino acid sequence of SEQ ID NO: 27, H-CDR2 amino acid sequence of SEQ ID NO: 28 and H-CDR3 amino acid sequence of SEQ ID NO: 29. In some embodiments, the 4-1BB agonist is a monoclonal antibody, or antigen-binding fragment thereof, which comprises the L-CDR1 amino acid sequence of SEQ ID NO: 30, L-CDR2 amino acid sequence of SEQ ID NO: 31, and L-CDR3 amino acid sequence of SEQ ID NO: 32.

[0019] In some embodiments, the 4-1BB agonist is a monoclonal antibody, or antigen-binding fragment thereof, which comprises a heavy chain variable region amino acid sequence as set forth in SEQ ID NO: 33.

[0020] In some embodiments, the 4-IBB agonist is a monoclonal antibody, or antigen-binding fragment thereof, which comprises a light chain variable region amino acid sequence as set forth in SEQ ID NO: 34.

[0021] In some embodiments, the 4-1BB agonist is a monoclonal antibody, or antigen-binding fragment thereof, which comprises a heavy chain variable region amino acid sequence as set forth in SEQ ID NO: 33, and further comprises a light chain variable region amino acid sequence as set forth in SEQ ID NO: 34.

[0022] In some embodiments, the 4-1BB agonist is a monoclonal antibody, or antigen-binding fragment thereof, which comprises a heavy chain amino acid sequence as set forth in SEQ ID NO: 35 and further comprises a light chain amino acid sequence as set forth in SEQ ID NO: 36, with the proviso that the C-terminal lysine residue of SEQ ID NO: 35 is optionally absent.

[0023] In some embodiments of the above treatment method, medicaments and uses of the invention, the individual is a human and the cancer is a solid tumor and in some embodiments, the solid tumor is bladder cancer, breast cancer, clear cell kidney cancer, colon cancer, head/neck squamous cell carcinoma, lung squamous cell carcinoma, malignant melanoma, non-small-cell lung cancer (NSCLC), ovarian cancer, pancreatic cancer, prostate cancer, renal cell cancer, small-cell lung cancer (SCLC) or triple negative breast cancer. In some embodiments, the cancer is an advanced solid tumor malignancy.

[0024] In other embodiments of the above treatment method, medicaments and uses of the invention, the individual is a human and the cancer is a Heme malignancy and in some embodiments, the Heme malignancy is acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL), acute myeloid leukemia (AML), chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL), chronic myeloid leukemia (CML), diffuse large B-cell lymphoma (DLBCL), EBV-positive DLBCL, pimary mediastinal large B-cell lymphoma, T-cell/histiocyte-rich large B-cell lymphoma, follicular lymphoma, Hodgkin's lymphoma (HL), mantle cell lymphoma (MCL), multiple myeloma (MM), myeloid cell leukemia-1 protein (Mcl-1), myelodysplastic syndrome (MDS), non-Hodgkin's lymphoma (NHL), or small lymphocytic lymphoma (SLL).

[0025] Also, in some embodiments of any of the above treatment method, medicaments and uses, the cancer tests positive for the expression of one or both of PD-L1 and PD-L2. In some embodiments, the cancer has elevated PD-L1 expression.

[0026] In one embodiment of the above treatment method, medicaments and uses, the individual is a human and the cancer is an advanced solid tumor that tests positive for human PD-L1.

[0027] In one embodiment, the invention provides a composition comprising an antagonist anti-PD-1 monoclonal antibody, for use in the treatment of cancer wherein the antagonist anti-PD-1 monoclonal antibody is for separate, sequential or simultaneous use in a combination with an agonist anti-4-1BB monoclonal antibody, and wherein the PD-1 antagonist is an anti-PD-1 monoclonal antibody which comprises a heavy chain and a light chain, wherein the heavy and light chains comprise SEQ ID NO: 21 and SEQ ID NO: 22, respectively; and wherein the 4-1BB agonist is a 4-1BB agonist monoclonal antibody which comprises a heavy chain and a light chain, wherein the heavy and light chains comprise SEQ ID NO: 35 and SEQ ID NO: 36, respectively.

[0028] In some embodiments, the invention provides a composition comprising an agonist anti-4-1BB monoclonal antibody, for use in the treatment of cancer wherein the agonist anti-4-1BB monoclonal antibody is for separate, sequential or simultaneous use in a combination with an antagonist anti-PD-1 monoclonal antibody, and wherein the PD-1 antagonist is an anti-PD-1 monoclonal antibody which comprises a heavy chain and a light chain, wherein the heavy and light chains comprise SEQ ID NO: 21 and SEQ ID NO: 22, respectively; and wherein the 4-1BB agonist is a 4-1BB agonist monoclonal antibody which comprises a heavy chain and a light chain, wherein the heavy and light chains comprise SEQ ID NO: 35 and SEQ ID NO: 36, respectively.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS



[0029] 

FIGURE 1 shows amino acid sequences of the light chain and heavy chain CDRs for an exemplary anti-PD-1 monoclonal antibody useful in the present invention (SEQ ID NOs:1-6).

FIGURE 2 shows amino acid sequences of the light chain and heavy chain CDRs for another exemplary anti-PD-1 monoclonal antibody useful in the present invention (SEQ ID NOs:7-12).

FIGURE 3 shows amino acid sequences of the heavy chain variable region and full length heavy chain for an exemplary anti-PD-1 monoclonal antibody useful in the present invention (SEQ ID NO: 13 and SEQ ID NO: 14).

FIGURE 4 shows amino acid sequences of alternative light chain variable regions for an exemplary anti-PD-1 monoclonal antibody useful in the present invention (SEQ ID NOs: 15-17)

FIGURE 5A shows amino acid sequences of alternative light chains for an exemplary anti-PD-1 monoclonal antibody useful in the present invention (SEQ ID NOs: 18 and 19).

FIGURE 5B shows amino acid sequence of alternative light chain for an exemplary anti-PD-1 monoclonal antibody useful in the present invention (SEQ ID NO: 20).

FIGURE 6 shows amino acid sequences of the heavy and light chains for MK-3475 (SEQ ID NOs: 21 and 22, respectively).

FIGURE 7 shows amino acid sequences of the heavy and light chains for nivolumab (SEQ ID NOs: 23 and 24, respectively).

FIGURE 8 shows amino acid sequences of the heavy chain and light chain variable regions for the 4-1BB agonist antibody (SEQ ID NOs: 33 and 34, respectively).

FIGURE 9 shows the effects on tumor growth inhibition in a colon carcinoma mouse model treated with a 4-1BB agonist antibody, a PD-1 antagonist antibody, a combination of the two antibodies or a vehicle control.

FIGURE 10 shows amino acid sequences of the heavy chain CDR sequences (SEQ ID NOs: 27, 28, and 29), and light chain CDR sequences (SEQ ID NOs: 30, 31, and 32) for the 4-1BB agonist antibody.

FIGURE 11 shows amino acid sequences of the heavy and light chains for PF-05082566 (SEQ ID NOs: 35 and 36, respectively).

FIGURE 12A is a graph showing the anti-tumor activity of mIgG1 isotope 5 mpk control in C57BL/6 mice.

FIGURE 12B is a graph showing the anti-tumor activity of rIgG1 isotope 10 mpk control in C57BL/6 mice.

FIGURE 12C is a graph showing the anti-tumor activity of anti 4-1BB agonist alone in C57BL/6 mice.

FIGURE 12D is a graph showing the anti-tumor activity of anti PD-1 antagonist alone in C57BL/6 mice.

FIGURE 12E is a graph showing the anti-tumor activity of anti 4-1BB agonist in combination with anti PD-1 antagonist in C57BL/6 mice.

FIGURE 12F is a graph showing the anti-tumor activity of anti 4-1BB agonist alone in C57BL/6 mice.

FIGURE 12G is a graph showing the anti-tumor activity of anti 4-IBB agonist alone in C57BL/6 mice.

FIGURE 12H is a graph showing the anti-tumor activity of anti 4-1BB agonist alone in C57BL/6 mice.

FIGURE 13 is a graph showing the body weight loss in C57BL/6 mice treated with mIgG1 isotope 5 mpk, rIgG1 isotope 10 mpk, anti 4-1BB agonist alone, anti PD-1 antagonist alone and anti 4-1BB agonist in combination with anti PD-1 antagonist.


DETAILED DESCRIPTION



[0030] Abbreviations. Throughout the detailed description and examples of the invention the following abbreviations will be used:
BID
One dose twice daily
CDR
Complementarity determining region
CHO
Chinese hamster ovary
DFS
Disease free survival
DTR
Dose limiting toxicity
FFPE
formalin-fixed, paraffin-embedded
FR
Framework region
IgG
Immunoglobulin G
IHC
Immunohistochemistry or immunohistochemical
MPK
Milligram Per Kilogram
MTD
Maximum tolerated dose
NCBI
National Center for Biotechnology Information
NCI
National Cancer Institute
OR
Overall response
OS
Overall survival
PD
Progressive disease
PFS
Progression free survival
PR
Partial response
Q2W
One dose every two weeks
Q3W
One dose every three weeks
Q4W
One dose every four weeks
QD
One dose per day
RECIST
Response Evaluation Criteria in Solid Tumors
SD
Stable disease
VH
Immunoglobulin heavy chain variable region
VK
Immunoglobulin kappa light chain variable region

I. DEFINITIONS



[0031] So that the invention may be more readily understood, certain technical and scientific terms are specifically defined below. Unless specifically defined elsewhere in this document, all other technical and scientific terms used herein have the meaning commonly understood by one of ordinary skill in the art to which this invention belongs.

[0032] "About" when used to modify a numerically defined parameter (e.g., the dose of a PD-1 antagonist or 4-1BB agonist, or the length of treatment time with a combination therapy described herein) means that the parameter may vary by as much as 10% below or above the stated numerical value for that parameter. For example, a dose of about 5 mg/kg may vary between 4.5 mg/kg and 5.5 mg/kg.

[0033] As used herein, including the appended claims, the singular forms of words such as "a," "an," and "the," include their corresponding plural references unless the context clearly dictates otherwise.

[0034] "Administration" and "treatment," as it applies to an animal, human, experimental subject, cell, tissue, organ, or biological fluid, refers to contact of an exogenous pharmaceutical, therapeutic, diagnostic agent, or composition to the animal, human, subject, cell, tissue, organ, or biological fluid. Treatment of a cell encompasses contact of a reagent to the cell, as well as contact of a reagent to a fluid, where the fluid is in contact with the cell. "Administration" and "treatment" also means in vitro and ex vivo treatments, e.g., of a cell, by a reagent, diagnostic, binding compound, or by another cell. The term "subject" includes any organism, preferably an animal, more preferably a mammal (e.g., rat, mouse, dog, cat, rabbit) and most preferably a human.

[0035] The term "pharmaceutically acceptable carrier" refers to any inactive substance that is suitable for use in a formulation for the delivery of a binding molecule. A carrier may be an antiadherent, binder, coating, disintegrant, filler or diluent, preservative (such as antioxidant, antibacterial, or antifungal agent), sweetener, absorption delaying agent, wetting agent, emulsifying agent, buffer, and the like. Examples of suitable pharmaceutically acceptable carriers include water, ethanol, polyols (such as glycerol, propylene glycol, polyethylene glycol, and the like) dextrose, vegetable oils (such as olive oil), saline, buffer, buffered saline, and isotonic agents such as sugars, polyalcohols, sorbitol, and sodium chloride.

[0036] As used herein, the term "antibody" refers to any form of immunoglobulin molecule that exhibits the desired biological or binding activity. Thus, it is used in the broadest sense and specifically covers, but is not limited to, monoclonal antibodies (including full length monoclonal antibodies), polyclonal antibodies, multispecific antibodies (e.g., bispecific antibodies), humanized, fully human antibodies, chimeric antibodies and camelized single domain antibodies. "Parental antibodies" are antibodies obtained by exposure of an immune system to an antigen prior to modification of the antibodies for an intended use, such as humanization of an antibody for use as a human therapeutic. As used herein, the term "antibody" encompasses not only intact polyclonal or monoclonal antibodies, but also, unless otherwise specified, any antigen binding portion thereof that competes with the intact antibody for specific binding, fusion proteins comprising an antigen binding portion, and any other modified configuration of the immunoglobulin molecule that comprises an antigen recognition site. Antigen binding portions include, for example, Fab, Fab', F(ab')2, Fd, Fv, domain antibodies (dAbs, e.g., shark and camelid antibodies), fragments including complementarity determining regions (CDRs), single chain variable fragment antibodies (scFv), maxibodies, minibodies, intrabodies, diabodies, triabodies, tetrabodies, v-NAR and bis-scFv, and polypeptides that contain at least a portion of an immunoglobulin that is sufficient to confer specific antigen binding to the polypeptide. An antibody includes an antibody of any class, such as IgG, IgA, or IgM (or sub-class thereof), and the antibody need not be of any particular class. Depending on the antibody amino acid sequence of the constant region of its heavy chains, immunoglobulins can be assigned to different classes. There are five major classes of immunoglobulins: IgA, IgD, IgE, IgG, and IgM, and several of these may be further divided into subclasses (isotypes), e.g., IgG1, IgG2, IgG3, IgG4, IgA1 and IgA2. The heavy-chain constant regions that correspond to the different classes of immunoglobulins are called alpha, delta, epsilon, gamma, and mu, respectively. The subunit structures and three-dimensional configurations of different classes of immunoglobulins are well known.

[0037] The term "4-1BB antibody" as used herein means an antibody, as defined herein, capable of binding to human 4-1BB receptor.

[0038] "Variable regions" or "V region" or "V chain" as used herein means the segment of IgG chains which is variable in sequence between different antibodies. It extends to Kabat residue 109 in the light chain and 113 in the heavy chain. A "variable region" of an antibody refers to the variable region of the antibody light chain or the variable region of the antibody heavy chain, either alone or in combination. Typically, the variable regions of both the heavy and light chains comprise three hypervariable regions, also called complementarity determining regions (CDRs), which are located within relatively conserved framework regions (FR). The CDRs are usually aligned by the framework regions, enabling binding to a specific epitope. In general, from N-terminal to C-terminal, both light and heavy chains variable domains comprise FR1, CDR1, FR2, CDR2, FR3, CDR3 and FR4. The assignment of amino acids to each domain is, generally, in accordance with the definitions of Sequences of Proteins of Immunological Interest, Kabat, et al.; National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, Md.; 5th ed.; NIH Publ. No. 91-3242 (1991); Kabat (1978) Adv. Prot. Chem. 32:1-75; Kabat, et al., (1977) J. Biol. Chem. 252:6609-6616; Chothia, et al., (1987) J Mol. Biol. 196:901-917 or Chothia, et al., (1989) Nature 342:878-883.

[0039] As used herein, the term "hypervariable region" refers to the amino acid residues of an antibody that are responsible for antigen-binding. The hypervariable region comprises amino acid residues from a "complementarity determining region" or "CDR" (i.e. CDRL1, CDRL2 and CDRL3 in the light chain variable domain and CDRH1, CDRH2 and CDRH3 in the heavy chain variable domain). See Kabat et al. (1991) Sequences of Proteins of Immunological Interest, 5th Ed. Public Health Service, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, Md. (defining the CDR regions of an antibody by sequence); see also Chothia and Lesk (1987) J. Mol. Biol. 196: 901-917 (defining the CDR regions of an antibody by structure). As used herein, the term "framework" or "FR" residues refers to those variable domain residues other than the hypervariable region residues defined herein as CDR residues.

[0040] As used herein, unless otherwise indicated, "antibody fragment" or "antigen binding fragment" refers to antigen binding fragments of antibodies, i.e. antibody fragments that retain the ability to bind specifically to the antigen bound by the full-length antibody, e.g. fragments that retain one or more CDR regions. Examples of antibody binding fragments include, but are not limited to, Fab, Fab', F(ab')2, and Fv fragments; diabodies; linear antibodies; single-chain antibody molecules, e.g., sc-Fv; nanobodies and multispecific antibodies formed from antibody fragments.

[0041] An antibody that "specifically binds to" a specified target protein is an antibody that exhibits preferential binding to that target as compared to other proteins, but this specificity does not require absolute binding specificity. An antibody is considered "specific" for its intended target if its binding is determinative of the presence of the target protein in a sample, e.g. without producing undesired results such as false positives. Antibodies, or binding fragments thereof, useful in the present invention will bind to the target protein with an affinity that is at least two fold greater, preferably at least ten times greater, more preferably at least 20-times greater, and most preferably at least 100-times greater than the affinity with non-target proteins. As used herein, an antibody is said to bind specifically to a polypeptide comprising a given amino acid sequence, e.g. the amino acid sequence of a mature human PD-1 or human PD-L1 molecule, if it binds to polypeptides comprising that sequence but does not bind to proteins lacking that sequence.

[0042] "Chimeric antibody" refers to an antibody in which a portion of the heavy and/or light chain is identical with or homologous to corresponding sequences in an antibody derived from a particular species (e.g., human) or belonging to a particular antibody class or subclass, while the remainder of the chain(s) is identical with or homologous to corresponding sequences in an antibody derived from another species (e.g., mouse) or belonging to another antibody class or subclass, as well as fragments of such antibodies, so long as they exhibit the desired biological activity.

[0043] "Human antibody" refers to an antibody that comprises human immunoglobulin protein sequences only. A human antibody may contain murine carbohydrate chains if produced in a mouse, in a mouse cell, or in a hybridoma derived from a mouse cell. Similarly, "mouse antibody" or "rat antibody" refer to an antibody that comprises only mouse or rat immunoglobulin sequences, respectively.

[0044] "Humanized antibody" refers to forms of antibodies that contain sequences from non-human (e.g., murine) antibodies as well as human antibodies. Such antibodies contain minimal sequence derived from non-human immunoglobulin. In general, the humanized antibody will comprise substantially all of at least one, and typically two, variable domains, in which all or substantially all of the hypervariable loops correspond to those of a non-human immunoglobulin and all or substantially all of the FR regions are those of a human immunoglobulin sequence. The humanized antibody optionally also will comprise at least a portion of an immunoglobulin constant region (Fc), typically that of a human immunoglobulin. The prefix "hum", "hu" or "h" is added to antibody clone designations when necessary to distinguish humanized antibodies from parental rodent antibodies. The humanized forms of rodent antibodies will generally comprise the same CDR sequences of the parental rodent antibodies, although certain amino acid substitutions may be included to increase affinity, increase stability of the humanized antibody, or for other reasons.

[0045] The terms "cancer", "cancerous", or "malignant" refer to or describe the physiological condition in mammals that is typically characterized by unregulated cell growth. Examples of cancer include but are not limited to, carcinoma, lymphoma, leukemia, blastoma, and sarcoma. More particular examples of such cancers include squamous cell carcinoma, myeloma, small-cell lung cancer, non-small cell lung cancer, glioma, hodgkin's lymphoma, non-hodgkin's lymphoma, acute myeloid leukemia (AML), multiple myeloma, gastrointestinal (tract) cancer, renal cancer, ovarian cancer, liver cancer, lymphoblastic leukemia, lymphocytic leukemia, colorectal cancer, endometrial cancer, kidney cancer, prostate cancer, thyroid cancer, melanoma, chondrosarcoma, neuroblastoma, pancreatic cancer, glioblastoma multiforme, bone cancer, Ewing's sarcoma, cervical cancer, brain cancer, stomach cancer, bladder cancer, hepatoma, breast cancer, colon carcinoma, and head and neck cancer. A variety of cancers where 4-1BB, PD-L1 or PD-L2 are implicated, whether malignant or benign and whether primary or secondary, may be treated or prevented with a method provided by the disclosure. Particularly preferred cancers that may be treated in accordance with the present invention include those characterized by elevated expression of one or both of PD-L1 and PD-L2 in tested tissue samples.

[0046] "Biotherapeutic agent" means a biological molecule, such as an antibody or fusion protein, that blocks ligand / receptor signaling in any biological pathway that supports tumor maintenance and/or growth or suppresses the anti-tumor immune response.

[0047] "CDR" or "CDRs" as used herein means complementarity determining region(s) in a immunoglobulin variable region, defined using the Kabat numbering system, unless otherwise indicated.

[0048] "Chemotherapeutic agent" refers to a chemical or biological substance that can cause death of cancer cells, or interfere with growth, division, repair, and/or function of cancer cells. Examples of chemotherapeutic agents include those that are disclosed in WO 2006/129163, and US 20060153808, the disclosures of which are incorporated herein by reference. Classes of chemotherapeutic agents include, but are not limited to: alkylating agents, antimetabolites, kinase inhibitors, spindle poison plant alkaloids, cytoxic/antitumor antibiotics, topisomerase inhibitors, photosensitizers, anti-estrogens and selective estrogen receptor modulators (SERMs), anti-progesterones, estrogen receptor down-regulators (ERDs), estrogen receptor antagonists, leutinizing hormone-releasing hormone agonists, anti-androgens, aromatase inhibitors, EGFR inhibitors, VEGF inhibitors, anti-sense oligonucleotides that inhibit expression of genes implicated in abnormal cell proliferation or tumor growth. Chemotherapeutic agents useful in the treatment methods of the present invention include cytostatic and/or cytotoxic agents.

[0049] The antibodies and compositions provided by the present disclosure can be administered via any suitable enteral route or parenteral route of administration. The term "enteral route" of administration refers to the administration via any part of the gastrointestinal tract. Examples of enteral routes include oral, mucosal, buccal, and rectal route, or intragastric route. "Parenteral route" of administration refers to a route of administration other than enteral route. Examples of parenteral routes of administration include intravenous, intramuscular, intradermal, intraperitoneal, intratumor, intravesical, intraarterial, intrathecal, intracapsular, intraorbital, intracardiac, transtracheal, intraarticular, subcapsular, subarachnoid, intraspinal, epidural and intrasternal, subcutaneous, or topical administration. The antibodies and compositions of the disclosure can be administered using any suitable method, such as by oral ingestion, nasogastric tube, gastrostomy tube, injection, infusion, implantable infusion pump, and osmotic pump. The suitable route and method of administration may vary depending on a number of factors such as the specific antibody being used, the rate of absorption desired, specific formulation or dosage form used, type or severity of the disorder being treated, the specific site of action, and conditions of the patient, and can be readily selected by a person skilled in the art.

[0050] The term "simultaneous administration" as used herein in relation to the administration of medicaments refers to the administration of medicaments such that the individual medicaments are present within a subject at the same time. In addition to the concomitant administration of medicaments (via the same or alternative routes), simultaneous administration may include the administration of the medicaments (via the same or an alternative route) at different times.

[0051] The Bliss independence combined response C for two single compounds with effects A and B is C = A + B - AB, where each effect is expressed as a fractional inhibition between 0 and 1. (Reference: Bliss (1939) Annals of Applied Biology) The Bliss value, defined to be the difference between the experimental response and the calculated Bliss Independence value, indicates whether the two compounds in combination are additive or synergistic.

[0052] A Bliss value of zero (0) is considered additive. The term "additive" means that the result of the combination of the two targeted agents is the sum of each agent individually.

[0053] "Chothia" as used herein means an antibody numbering system described in Al-Lazikani et al., JMB 273:927-948 (1997).

[0054] "Conservatively modified variants" or "conservative substitution" refers to substitutions of amino acids in a protein with other amino acids having similar characteristics (e.g. charge, side-chain size, hydrophobicity/hydrophilicity, backbone conformation and rigidity, etc.), such that the changes can frequently be made without altering the biological activity or other desired property of the protein, such as antigen affinity and/or specificity. Those of skill in this art recognize that, in general, single amino acid substitutions in non-essential regions of a polypeptide do not substantially alter biological activity (see, e.g., Watson et al. (1987) Molecular Biology of the Gene, The Benjamin/Cummings Pub. Co., p. 224 (4th Ed.)). In addition, substitutions of structurally or functionally similar amino acids are less likely to disrupt biological activity. Exemplary conservative substitutions are set forth in Table 1 below.
TABLE 1. Exemplary Conservative Amino Acid Substitutions
Original residueConservative substitution
Ala (A) Gly; Ser
Arg (R) Lys; His
Asn (N) Gln; His
Asp (D) Glu; Asn
Cys (C) Ser; Ala
Gln (Q) Asn
Glu (E) Asp; Gln
Gly (G) Ala
His (H) Asn; Gln
Ile (I) Leu; Val
Leu (L) Ile; Val
Lys (K) Arg; His
Met (M) Leu; Ile; Tyr
Phe (F) Tyr; Met; Leu
Pro (P) Ala
Ser (S) Thr
Thr (T) Ser
Trp (W) Tyr; Phe
Tyr (Y) Trp; Phe
Val (V) Ile; Leu


[0055] "Consists essentially of," and variations such as "consist essentially of" or "consisting essentially of," as used throughout the specification and claims, indicate the inclusion of any recited elements or group of elements, and the optional inclusion of other elements, of similar or different nature than the recited elements, that do not materially change the basic or novel properties of the specified dosage regimen, method, or composition. As a non-limiting example, a PD-1 antagonist that consists essentially of a recited amino acid sequence may also include one or more amino acids, including substitutions of one or more amino acid residues, which do not materially affect the properties of the binding compound.

[0056] "Diagnostic anti-PD-L monoclonal antibody" means a mAb which specifically binds to the mature form of the designated PD-L (PD-L1 or PDL2) that is expressed on the surface of certain mammalian cells. A mature PD-L lacks the presecretory leader sequence, also referred to as leader peptide The terms "PD-L" and "mature PD-L" are used interchangeably herein, and shall be understood to mean the same molecule unless otherwise indicated or readily apparent from the context.

[0057] As used herein, a diagnostic anti-human PD-L1 mAb or an anti-hPD-Ll mAb refers to a monoclonal antibody that specifically binds to mature human PD-L1. A mature human PD-L1 molecule consists of amino acids 19-290 of the following sequence:



[0058] Specific examples of diagnostic anti-human PD-L1 mAbs useful as diagnostic mAbs for immunohistochemistry (IHC) detection of PD-L1 expression in formalin-fixed, paraffin-embedded (FFPE) tumor tissue sections are antibody 20C3 and antibody 22C3, which are described in the copending international patent application PCT/US13/075932, filed 18 December 2013. Another anti-human PD-L1 mAb that has been reported to be useful for IHC detection of PD-L1 expression in FFPE tissue sections (Chen, B.J. et al., Clin Cancer Res 19: 3462-3473 (2013)) is a rabbit anti-human PD-L1 mAb publicly available from Sino Biological, Inc. (Beijing, P.R. China; Catalog number 10084-R015).

[0059] "Framework region" or "FR" as used herein means the immunoglobulin variable regions excluding the CDR regions.

[0060] "Homology" refers to sequence similarity between two polypeptide sequences when they are optimally aligned. When a position in both of the two compared sequences is occupied by the same amino acid monomer subunit, e.g., if a position in a light chain CDR of two different Abs is occupied by alanine, then the two Abs are homologous at that position. The percent of homology is the number of homologous positions shared by the two sequences divided by the total number of positions compared ×100. For example, if 8 of 10 of the positions in two sequences are matched or homologous when the sequences are optimally aligned then the two sequences are 80% homologous. Generally, the comparison is made when two sequences are aligned to give maximum percent homology. For example, the comparison can be performed by a BLAST algorithm wherein the parameters of the algorithm are selected to give the largest match between the respective sequences over the entire length of the respective reference sequences.

[0061] The following references relate to BLAST algorithms often used for sequence analysis: BLAST ALGORITHMS: Altschul, S.F., et al., (1990) J. Mol. Biol. 215:403-410; Gish, W., et al., (1993) Nature Genet. 3:266-272; Madden, T.L., et al., (1996) Meth. Enzymol. 266:131-141; Altschul, S.F., et al., (1997) Nucleic Acids Res. 25:3389-3402; Zhang, J., et al., (1997) Genome Res. 7:649-656; Wootton, J.C., et al., (1993) Comput. Chem. 17:149-163; Hancock, J.M. et al., (1994) Comput. Appl. Biosci. 10:67-70; ALIGNMENT SCORING SYSTEMS: Dayhoff, M.O., et al., "A model of evolutionary change in proteins." in Atlas of Protein Sequence and Structure, (1978) vol. 5, suppl. 3. M.O. Dayhoff (ed.), pp. 345-352, Natl. Biomed. Res. Found., Washington, DC; Schwartz, R.M., et al., "Matrices for detecting distant relationships." in Atlas of Protein Sequence and Structure, (1978) vol. 5, suppl. 3." M.O. Dayhoff (ed.), pp. 353-358, Natl. Biomed. Res. Found., Washington, DC; Altschul, S.F., (1991) J. Mol. Biol. 219:555-565; States, D.J., et al., (1991) Methods 3:66-70; Henikoff, S., et al., (1992) Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA 89:10915-10919; Altschul, S.F., et al., (1993) J. Mol. Evol. 36:290-300; ALIGNMENT STATISTICS: Karlin, S., et al., (1990) Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA 87:2264-2268; Karlin, S., et al., (1993) Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA 90:5873-5877; Dembo, A., et al., (1994) Ann. Prob. 22:2022-2039; and Altschul, S.F. "Evaluating the statistical significance of multiple distinct local alignments." in Theoretical and Computational Methods in Genome Research (S. Suhai, ed.), (1997) pp. 1-14, Plenum, New York.

[0062] "Isolated antibody" and "isolated antibody fragment" refers to the purification status and in such context means the named molecule is substantially free of other biological molecules such as nucleic acids, proteins, lipids, carbohydrates, or other material such as cellular debris and growth media. Generally, the term "isolated" is not intended to refer to a complete absence of such material or to an absence of water, buffers, or salts, unless they are present in amounts that substantially interfere with experimental or therapeutic use of the binding compound as described herein.

[0063] "Kabat" as used herein means an immunoglobulin alignment and numbering system pioneered by Elvin A. Kabat ((1991) Sequences of Proteins of Immunological Interest, 5th Ed. Public Health Service, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, Md.).

[0064] "Monoclonal antibody" or "mAb" or "Mab", as used herein, refers to a population of substantially homogeneous antibodies, i.e., the antibody molecules comprising the population are identical in amino acid sequence except for possible naturally occurring mutations that may be present in minor amounts. In contrast, conventional (polyclonal) antibody preparations typically include a multitude of different antibodies having different amino acid sequences in their variable domains, particularly their CDRs, which are often specific for different epitopes. The modifier "monoclonal" indicates the character of the antibody as being obtained from a substantially homogeneous population of antibodies, and is not to be construed as requiring production of the antibody by any particular method. For example, the monoclonal antibodies to be used in accordance with the present invention may be made by the hybridoma method first described by Kohler et al. (1975) Nature 256: 495, or may be made by recombinant DNA methods (see, e.g., U.S. Pat. No. 4,816,567). The "monoclonal antibodies" may also be isolated from phage antibody libraries using the techniques described in Clackson et al. (1991) Nature 352: 624-628 and Marks et al. (1991) J. Mol. Biol. 222: 581-597, for example. See also Presta (2005) J. Allergy Clin. Immunol. 116:731.

[0065] "Patient" or "subject" refers to any single subject for which therapy is desired or that is participating in a clinical trial, epidemiological study or used as a control, including humans and mammalian veterinary patients such as cattle, horses, dogs, and cats.

[0066] "PD-1 antagonist" means any chemical compound or biological molecule that blocks binding of PD-L1 expressed on a cancer cell to PD-1 expressed on an immune cell (T cell, B cell or NKT cell) and preferably also blocks binding of PD-L2 expressed on a cancer cell to the immune-cell expressed PD-1. Alternative names or synonyms for PD-1 and its ligands include: PDCD1, PD1, CD279 and SLEB2 for PD-1; PDCD1L1, PDL1, B7H1, B7-4, CD274 and B7-H for PD-L1; and PDCD1L2, PDL2, B7-DC, Btdc and CD273 for PD-L2. In any of the treatment method, medicaments and uses of the present invention in which a human individual is being treated, the PD-1 antagonist blocks binding of human PD-L1 to human PD-1, and preferably blocks binding of both human PD-L1 and PD-L2 to human PD-1. Exemplary human PD-1 amino acid sequences can be found in NCBI Locus No.: NP 005009. Exemplary human PD-L1 and PD-L2 amino acid sequences can be found in NCBI Locus No.: NP_054862 and NP_079515, respectively.

[0067] PD-1 antagonists useful in any of the treatment method, medicaments and uses of the present invention include a monoclonal antibody (mAb), or antigen binding fragment thereof, which specifically binds to PD-1 or PD-L1, and preferably specifically binds to human PD-1 or human PD-L1. The mAb may be a human antibody, a humanized antibody or a chimeric antibody, and may include a human constant region. In some embodiments the human constant region is selected from the group consisting of IgG1, IgG2, IgG3 and IgG4 constant regions, and in some embodiments, the human constant region is an IgG1 or IgG4 constant region. In some embodiments, the antigen binding fragment is selected from the group consisting of Fab, Fab'-SH, F(ab')2, scFv and Fv fragments.

[0068] Examples of mAbs that bind to human PD-1, and useful in the treatment method, medicaments and uses of the present invention, are described in US7488802, US7521051, US8008449, US8354509, US8168757, WO2004/004771, WO2004/072286, WO2004/056875, and US2011/0271358. Specific anti-human PD-1 mAbs useful as the PD-1 antagonist in the treatment method, medicaments and uses of the present invention include: MK-3475, a humanized IgG4 mAb with the structure described in WHO Drug Information, Vol. 27, No. 2, pages 161-162 (2013) and which comprises the heavy and light chain amino acid sequences shown in Figure 6, nivolumab (BMS-936558), a human IgG4 mAb with the structure described in WHO Drug Information, Vol. 27, No. 1, pages 68-69 (2013) and which comprises the heavy and light chain amino acid sequences shown in Figure 7; the humanized antibodies h409A11, h409A16 and h409A17, which are described in WO2008/156712, and AMP-514, which is being developed by MedImmune.

[0069] Examples of mAbs that bind to human PD-L1, and useful in the treatment method, medicaments and uses of the present invention, are described in WO2013/019906, WO201O/077634 A1 and US8383796. Specific anti-human PD-L1 mAbs useful as the PD-1 antagonist in the treatment method, medicaments and uses of the present invention include MPDL3280A, BMS-936559, MEDI4736, MSB0010718C and an antibody which comprises the heavy chain and light chain variable regions of SEQ ID NO: 24 and SEQ ID NO: 21, respectively, of WO2013/019906.

[0070] Other PD-1 antagonists useful in any of the treatment method, medicaments and uses of the present invention include an immunoadhesin that specifically binds to PD-1 or PD-L1, and preferably specifically binds to human PD-1 or human PD-L1, e.g., a fusion protein containing the extracellular or PD-1 binding portion of PD-L1 or PD-L2 fused to a constant region such as an Fc region of an immunoglobulin molecule. Examples of immunoadhesion molecules that specifically bind to PD-1 are described in WO2010/027827 and WO2011/066342. Specific fusion proteins useful as the PD-1 antagonist in the treatment method, medicaments and uses of the present invention include AMP-224 (also known as B7-DCIg), which is a PD-L2-FC fusion protein and binds to human PD-1.

[0071] In some embodiments of the treatment method, medicaments and uses of the present invention, the PD-1 antagonist is a monoclonal antibody, or antigen binding fragment thereof, which comprises: (a) light chain CDRs SEQ ID NOs: 1, 2 and 3 and heavy chain CDRs SEQ ID NOs: 4, 5 and 6; or (b) light chain CDRs SEQ ID NOs: 7, 8 and 9 and heavy chain CDRs SEQ ID NOs: 10, 11 and 12.

[0072] In other embodiments of the treatment method, medicaments and uses of the present invention, the PD-1 antagonist is a monoclonal antibody, or antigen binding fragment thereof, which specifically binds to human PD-1 and comprises (a) a heavy chain variable region comprising SEQ ID NO: 13 or a variant thereof, and (b) a light chain variable region comprising an amino acid sequence selected from the group consisting of SEQ ID NO: 15 or a variant thereof; SEQ ID NO: 16 or a variant thereof; and SEQ ID NO: 17 or a variant thereof. A variant of a heavy chain variable region sequence is identical to the reference sequence except having up to 17 conservative amino acid substitutions in the framework region (i.e., outside of the CDRs), and preferably has less than ten, nine, eight, seven, six or five conservative amino acid substitutions in the framework region. A variant of a light chain variable region sequence is identical to the reference sequence except having up to five conservative amino acid substitutions in the framework region (i.e., outside of the CDRs), and preferably has less than four, three or two conservative amino acid substitutions in the framework region.

[0073] In another embodiment of the treatment method, medicaments and uses of the present invention, the PD-1 antagonist is a monoclonal antibody which specifically binds to human PD-1 and comprises (a) a heavy chain comprising SEQ ID NO: 14 and (b) a light chain comprising SEQ ID NO: 18, SEQ ID NO: 19 or SEQ ID NO: 20.

[0074] In yet another embodiment of the treatment method, medicaments and uses of the present invention, the PD-1 antagonist is a monoclonal antibody which specifically binds to human PD-1 and comprises (a) a heavy chain comprising SEQ ID NO: 14 and (b) a light chain comprising SEQ ID NO: 18.

[0075] Table 2 below provides a list of the amino acid sequences of exemplary anti-PD-1 mAbs for use in the treatment method, medicaments and uses of the present invention, and the sequences are shown in Figures 1-5.
Table 2.
EXEMPLARY ANTI-HUMAN PD-1 MONOCLONAL ANTIBODIES
A. Comprises light and heavy chain CDRs of hPD-1.08A in WO2008/156712
CDRL1 SEQ ID NO:1
CDRL2 SEQ ID NO:2
CDRL3 SEQ ID NO:3
CDRH1 SEQ ID NO:4
CDRH2 SEQ ID NO:5
CDRH3 SEQ ID NO:6
B. Comprises light and heavy chain CDRs of hPD-1.09A in WO2008/156712
CDRL1 SEQ ID NO:7
CDRL2 SEQ ID NO:8
CDRL3 SEQ ID NO:9
CDRH1 SEQ ID NO:10
CDRH2 SEQ ID NO:11
CDRH3 SEQ ID NO:12
C. Comprises the mature h109A heavy chain variable region and one of the mature K09A light chain variable regions in WO2008/156712
Heavy chain VR SEQ ID NO:13
Light chain VR SEQ ID NO:15 or SEQ ID NO:16 or SEQ ID NO:17
D. Comprises the mature 409 heavy chain and one of the mature K09A light chains in WO2008/156712
Heavy chain SEQ ID NO:14
Light chain SEQ ID NO:18 or SEQ ID NO:19 or SEQ ID NO:20


[0076] Table 3 provides a brief description of the sequences in the sequence listing.
Table 3
SEQ ID NO:Description
1 hPD-1.08A light chain CDR1
2 hPD-1.08A light chain CDR2
3 hPD-1-08A light chain CDR3
4 hPD-1.08A heavy chain CDR1
5 hPD-1.08A heavy chain CDR2
6 hPD-1.08A heavy chain CDR3
7 hPD-1.09A light chain CDR1
8 hPD-1.09A light chain CDR2
9 hPD-1.09A light chain CDR3
10 hPD-1.09A heavy chain CDR1
11 hPD-1.09A heavy chain CDR2
12 hPD-1.09A heavy chain CDR3
13 109A-H heavy chain variable region
14 409A-H heavy chain full length
15 K09A-L-11 light chain variable region
16 K09A-L-16 light chain variable region
17 K09A-L-17 light chain variable region
18 K09A-L-11 light chain full length
19 K09A-L-16 light chain full length
20 K09A-L-17 light chain full length
21 MK-3475 Heavy chain
22 MK-3475 Light chain
23 Nivolumab Heavy chain
24 Nivolumab light chain
25 Human PD-L1
26 Human 4-1BB
27 4-1BB agonist heavy chain CDR1
28 4-1BB agonist heavy chain CDR2
29 4-1BB agonist heavy chain CDR3
30 4-1BB agonist light chain CDR1
31 4-1BB agonist light chain CDR2
32 4-1BB agonist light chain CDR3
33 4-1BB agonist heavy chain variable region
34 4-1BB agonist light chain variable region
35 4-1BB agonist heavy chain
36 4-1BB agonist light chain


[0077] "PD-L1" expression or "PD-L2" expression as used herein means any detectable level of expression of the designated PD-L protein on the cell surface or of the designated PD-L mRNA within a cell or tissue. PD-L protein expression may be detected with a diagnostic PD-L antibody in an IHC assay of a tumor tissue section or by flow cytometry. Alternatively, PD-L protein expression by tumor cells may be detected by PET imaging, using a binding agent (e.g., antibody fragment, affibody and the like) that specifically binds to the desired PD-L target, e.g., PD-L1 or PD-L2. Techniques for detecting and measuring PD-L mRNA expression include RT-PCR and realtime quantitative RT-PCR.

[0078] Several approaches have been described for quantifying PD-L1 protein expression in IHC assays of tumor tissue sections. See, e.g., Thompson, R. H., et al., PNAS 101 (49); 17174-17179 (2004); Thompson, R. H. et al., Cancer Res. 66:3381-3385 (2006); Gadiot, J., et al., Cancer 117:2192-2201 (2011); Taube, J. M. et al., Sci Transl Med 4, 127ra37 (2012); and Toplian, S. L. et al., New Eng. J Med. 366 (26): 2443-2454 (2012).

[0079] One approach employs a simple binary end-point of positive or negative for PD-L1 expression, with a positive result defined in terms of the percentage of tumor cells that exhibit histologic evidence of cell-surface membrane staining. A tumor tissue section is counted as positive for PD-L1 expression is at least 1%, and preferably 5% of total tumor cells.

[0080] In another approach, PD-L1 expression in the tumor tissue section is quantified in the tumor cells as well as in infiltrating immune cells, which predominantly comprise lymphocytes. The percentage of tumor cells and infiltrating immune cells that exhibit membrane staining are separately quantified as < 5%, 5 to 9%, and then in 10% increments up to 100%. For tumor cells, PD-L1 expression is counted as negative if the score is < 5% score and positive if the score is ≥ 5%. PD-L1 expression in the immune infiltrate is reported as a semi-quantitative measurement called the adjusted inflammation score (AIS), which is determined by multiplying the percent of membrane staining cells by the intensity of the infiltrate, which is graded as none (0), mild (score of 1, rare lymphocytes), moderate (score of 2, focal infiltration of tumor by lymphohistiocytic aggregates), or severe (score of 3, diffuse infiltration). A tumor tissue section is counted as positive for PD-L1 expression by immune infiltrates if the AIS is ≥ 5.

[0081] The level of PD-L mRNA expression may be compared to the mRNA expression levels of one or more reference genes that are frequently used in quantitative RT-PCR, such as ubiquitin C.

[0082] In some embodiments, a level of PD-L1 expression (protein and/or mRNA) by malignant cells and/or by infiltrating immune cells within a tumor is determined to be "overexpressed" or "elevated" based on comparison with the level of PD-L1 expression (protein and/ or mRNA) by an appropriate control. For example, a control PD-L1 protein or mRNA expression level may be the level quantified in nonmalignant cells of the same type or in a section from a matched normal tissue. In some embodiments, PD-L1 expression in a tumor sample is determined to be elevated if PD-L1 protein (and/or PD-L1 mRNA) in the sample is at least 10%, 20%, or 30% greater than in the control.

[0083] "RECIST 1.1 Response Criteria" as used herein means the definitions set forth in Eisenhauer et al., E.A. et al., Eur. J Cancer 45:228-247 (2009) for target lesions or nontarget lesions, as appropriate based on the context in which response is being measured.

[0084] "Sustained response" means a sustained therapeutic effect after cessation of treatment with a therapeutic agent, or a combination therapy described herein. In some embodiments, the sustained response has a duration that is at least the same as the treatment duration, or at least 1.5, 2.0, 2.5 or 3 times longer than the treatment duration.

[0085] The terms "synergy" or "synergistic" are used to mean that the response of the combination of the two agents is more than the sum of each agent's individual response. More specifically, in the in vitro setting one measure of synergy is known as "Bliss synergy." Bliss synergy refers to "excess over Bliss independence", as determined by the Bliss value defined above. When the Bliss value is greater than zero (0), or more preferably greater than 0.2, it is considered indicative of synergy. Of course, the use of "synergy" herein also encompasses in vitro synergy as measured by additional and/or alternate methods. References herein to a combination's in vitro biological effects, including but not limited to anti-cancer effects, being greater than, or equal to, the sum of the combination's components individually, may be correlated to Bliss values. Again, the use of "synergy" herein, including whether a combination of components demonstrates activity equal to or greater than the sum of the components individually, may be measured by additional and/or alternate methods and are known, or will be apparent, to those skilled in this art.

[0086] "Tissue Section" refers to a single part or piece of a tissue sample, e.g., a thin slice of tissue cut from a sample of a normal tissue or of a tumor.

[0087] "Treat" or "treating" a cancer as used herein means to administer a combination therapy of a PD-1 antagonist and a 4-1BB agonist to a subject having a cancer, or diagnosed with a cancer, to achieve at least one positive therapeutic effect, such as for example, reduced number of cancer cells, reduced tumor size, reduced rate of cancer cell infiltration into peripheral organs, or reduced rate of tumor metastasis or tumor growth. Positive therapeutic effects in cancer can be measured in a number of ways (See, W. A. Weber, J. Nucl. Med. 50:1S-10S (2009)). For example, with respect to tumor growth inhibition, according to NCI standards, a T/C ≦42% is the minimum level of anti-tumor activity. A T/C < 10% is considered a high anti-tumor activity level, with T/C (%) = Median tumor volume of the treated/Median tumor volume of the control × 100. In some embodiments, the treatment achieved by a combination of the invention is any of PR, CR, OR, PFS, DFS and OS. PFS, also referred to as "Time to Tumor Progression" indicates the length of time during and after treatment that the cancer does not grow, and includes the amount of time patients have experienced a CR or PR, as well as the amount of time patients have experienced SD. DFS refers to the length of time during and after treatment that the patient remains free of disease. OS refers to a prolongation in life expectancy as compared to naive or untreated individuals or patients. In some embodiments, response to a combination of the invention is any of PR, CR, PFS, DFS, OR or OS that is assessed using RECIST 1.1 response criteria. The treatment regimen for a combination of the invention that is effective to treat a cancer patient may vary according to factors such as the disease state, age, and weight of the patient, and the ability of the therapy to elicit an anti-cancer response in the subject. While an embodiment of any of the aspects of the invention may not be effective in achieving a positive therapeutic effect in every subject, it should do so in a statistically significant number of subjects as determined by any statistical test known in the art such as the Student's t-test, the chi2-test, the U-test according to Mann and Whitney, the Kruskal-Wallis test (H-test), Jonckheere-Terpstra-test and the Wilcoxon-test.

[0088] The terms "treatment regimen", "dosing protocol" and dosing regimen are used interchangeably to refer to the dose and timing of administration of each therapeutic agent in a combination of the invention.

[0089] "Tumor" as it applies to a subject diagnosed with, or suspected of having, a cancer refers to a malignant or potentially malignant neoplasm or tissue mass of any size, and includes primary tumors and secondary neoplasms. A solid tumor is an abnormal growth or mass of tissue that usually does not contain cysts or liquid areas. Different types of solid tumors are named for the type of cells that form them. Examples of solid tumors are sarcomas, carcinomas, and lymphomas. Leukemias (cancers of the blood) generally do not form solid tumors (National Cancer Institute, Dictionary of Cancer Terms).

[0090] "Advanced solid tumor malignancy" and "advanced solid tumor" are used interchangeably to refer to a tumor that has relapsed, progressed, metastasized after, locally advanced, and/or is refractory to, the initial or first line treatment. Advanced solid tumors include, but are not limited to, metastatic tumors in bone, brain, breast, liver, lungs, lymph node, pancreas, prostate, and soft tissue (sarcoma).

[0091] "Tumor burden" also referred to as "tumor load", refers to the total amount of tumor material distributed throughout the body. Tumor burden refers to the total number of cancer cells or the total size of tumor(s), throughout the body, including lymph nodes and bone narrow. Tumor burden can be determined by a variety of methods known in the art, such as, e.g. by measuring the dimensions of tumor(s) upon removal from the subject, e.g., using calipers, or while in the body using imaging techniques, e.g., ultrasound, bone scan, computed tomography (CT) or magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scans.

[0092] The term "tumor size" refers to the total size of the tumor which can be measured as the length and width of a tumor. Tumor size may be determined by a variety of methods known in the art, such as, e.g. by measuring the dimensions of tumor(s) upon removal from the subject, e.g., using calipers, or while in the body using imaging techniques, e.g., bone scan, ultrasound, CT or MRI scans.

[0093] 4-1BB comprises a signal sequence (amino acid residues 1-17), followed by an extracellular domain (169 amino acids), a transmembrane region (27 amino acids), and an intracellular domain (42 amino acids) (Cheuk ATC et al. 2004 Cancer Gene Therapy 11: 215-226). The receptor is expressed on the cell surface in monomer and dimer forms and likely trimerizes with 4-1BB ligand to signal.

[0094] 4-1BB is undetectable on the surface of naive T cells but expression increases upon activation. Upon 4-1BB activation, TRAF 1 and TRAF 2, which are pro-survival members of the TNFR-associated factor (TRAF) family, are recruited to the 4-1BB cytoplasmic tail, resulting in downstream activation of NFkB and the Mitogen Activated Protein (MAP) Kinase cascade including Erk, Jnk, and p38 MAP kinases. NFkB activation leads to upregulation of Bfl-1 and Bcl-XL, pro-survival members of the Bcl-2 family. The pro-apoptotic protein Bim is downregulated in a TRAF1 and Erk dependent manner (24).

[0095] The terms "4-1BB" and "4-1BB receptor" are used interchangeably in the present application, and refer to any form of 4-1BB receptor, as well as variants, isoforms, and species homologs thereof that retain at least a part of the activity of 41BB receptor. Accordingly, a binding molecule, as defined and disclosed herein, may also bind 4-1BB from species other than human. In other cases, a binding molecule may be completely specific for the human 4-1BB and may not exhibit species or other types of cross-reactivity. Unless indicated differently, such as by specific reference to human 41BB, 41BB includes all mammalian species of native sequence 41BB, e.g., human, canine, feline, equine and bovine. One exemplary human 4-1BB is a 255 amino acid protein (Accession No. NM_001561; NP_001552). One embodiment of a complete human 4-1BB amino acid sequence is provided in SEQ ID NO: 26.

[0096] "4-1BB agonist" as used herein means, any chemical compound or biological molecule, as defined herein, which upon binding to 4-1BB, (1) stimulates or activates 4-1BB, (2) enhances, increases, promotes, induces, or prolongs an activity, function, or presence of 4-1BB, or (3) enhances, increases, promotes, or induces the expression of 4-1BB.

[0097] 4-1BB agonists useful in the any of the treatment method, medicaments and uses of the present invention include a monoclonal antibody (mAb), or antigen binding fragment thereof, which specifically binds to 4-1BB. Alternative names or synonyms for 4-1BB include CD137 and TNFRSF9. In any of the treatment method, medicaments and uses of the present invention in which a human individual is being treated, the 4-1BB agonists increase a 4-1BB-mediated response. In some embodiments of the treatment method, medicaments and uses of the present invention, 4-1BB agonists markedly enhance cytotoxic T-cell responses, resulting in anti-tumor activity in several models.

[0098] The mAb may be a human antibody, a humanized antibody or a chimeric antibody, and may include a human constant region. In some embodiments the human constant region is selected from the group consisting of IgG1, IgG2, IgG3 and IgG4 constant regions, and in some embodiments, the human constant region is an IgG1 or IgG4 constant region. In some embodiments, the antigen binding fragment is selected from the group consisting of Fab, Fab'-SH, F(ab')2, scFv and Fv fragments.

[0099] Examples of mAbs that bind to human 4-1BB, and useful in the treatment method, medicaments and uses of the present invention, are described in US 8,337,850 and US 2013-0078240. Specific anti-human 4-1BB mAbs useful as the 4-1BB agonist in the treatment method, medicaments and uses of the present invention include PF-05082566. PF-05082566 is a fully humanized IgG2 agonist monoclonal antibody targeting 4-1 BB.

[0100] In some embodiments of the treatment method, medicaments and uses of the present invention, the 4-1BB agonist is a monoclonal antibody, or antigen binding fragment thereof, which comprises: (a) light chain CDRs SEQ ID NOs: 30, 31 and 32 and heavy chain CDRs SEQ ID NOs: 27,28 and 29.

[0101] In some embodiments of the treatment method, medicaments and uses of the present invention, the 4-1BB agonist is a monoclonal antibody, or antigen binding fragment thereof, which specifically binds to human 4-1BB and comprises (a) a heavy chain variable region comprising SEQ ID NO: 33 or a variant thereof, and (b) a light chain variable region comprising an amino acid sequence selected from the group consisting of SEQ ID NO: 34 or a variant thereof. A variant of a heavy chain variable region sequence is identical to the reference sequence except having up to 17 conservative amino acid substitutions in the framework region (i.e., outside of the CDRs), and preferably has less than ten, nine, eight, seven, six or five conservative amino acid substitutions in the framework region. A variant of a light chain variable region sequence is identical to the reference sequence except having up to five conservative amino acid substitutions in the framework region (i.e., outside of the CDRs), and preferably has less than four, three or two conservative amino acid substitution in the framework region.

[0102] In some embodiments of the treatment method, medicaments and uses of the present invention, the 4-1BB agonist is a monoclonal antibody which specifically binds to human 4-1BB and comprises (a) a heavy chain amino acid sequence as set forth in SEQ ID NO: 35 and (b) a light chain amino acid sequence as set forth in SEQ ID NO: 36, with the proviso that the C-terminal lysine residue of SEQ ID NO: 35 is optionally absent.

[0103] It is understood that wherever embodiments are described herein with the language "comprising," otherwise analogous embodiments described in terms of "consisting of" and/or "consisting essentially of" are also provided.

[0104] Where aspects or embodiments of the invention are described in terms of a Markush group or other grouping of alternatives, the present invention encompasses not only the entire group listed as a whole, but each member of the group individually and all possible subgroups of the main group, but also the main group absent one or more of the group members. The present invention also envisages the explicit exclusion of one or more of any of the group members in the claimed invention.

[0105] Unless otherwise defined, all technical and scientific terms used herein have the same meaning as commonly understood by one of ordinary skill in the art to which this invention belongs. In case of conflict, the present specification, including definitions, will control. Throughout this specification and claims, the word "comprise," or variations such as "comprises" or "comprising" will be understood to imply the inclusion of a stated integer or group of integers but not the exclusion of any other integer or group of integers. Unless otherwise required by context, singular terms shall include pluralities and plural terms shall include the singular. Any example(s) following the term "e.g." or "for example" is not meant to be exhaustive or limiting.

[0106] Exemplary methods and materials are described herein, although methods and materials similar or equivalent to those described herein can also be used in the practice or testing of the present invention. The materials, methods, and examples are illustrative only and not intended to be limiting.

II. METHODS, USES AND MEDICAMENTS



[0107] In one aspect of the invention, the invention provides a method for treating a cancer in an individual comprising administering to the individual a combination therapy which comprises a PD-1 antagonist and a 4-1BB agonist.

[0108] The combination therapy may also comprise one or more additional therapeutic agents. The additional therapeutic agent may be, e.g., a chemotherapeutic, a biotherapeutic agent (including but not limited to antibodies to VEGF, VEGFR, EGFR, Her2/neu, other growth factor receptors, CD20, CD40, CD-40L, CTLA-4, OX-40, 4-1BB, and ICOS), an immunogenic agent (for example, attenuated cancerous cells, tumor antigens, antigen presenting cells such as dendritic cells pulsed with tumor derived antigen or nucleic acids, immune stimulating cytokines (for example, IL-2, IFNα2, GM-CSF), and cells transfected with genes encoding immune stimulating cytokines such as but not limited to GM-CSF).

[0109] Examples of chemotherapeutic agents include alkylating agents such as thiotepa and cyclosphosphamide; alkyl sulfonates such as busulfan, improsulfan and piposulfan; aziridines such as benzodopa, carboquone, meturedopa, and uredopa; ethylenimines and methylamelamines including altretamine, triethylenemelamine, trietylenephosphoramide, triethylenethiophosphoramide and trimethylolomelamine; acetogenins (especially bullatacin and bullatacinone); a camptothecin (including the synthetic analogue topotecan); bryostatin; callystatin; CC-1065 (including its adozelesin, carzelesin and bizelesin synthetic analogues); cryptophycins (particularly cryptophycin 1 and cryptophycin 8); dolastatin; duocarmycin (including the synthetic analogues, KW-2189 and CBI-TMI); eleutherobin; pancratistatin; a sarcodictyin; spongistatin; nitrogen mustards such as chlorambucil, chlornaphazine, cholophosphamide, estramustine, ifosfamide, mechlorethamine, mechlorethamine oxide hydrochloride, melphalan, novembichin, phenesterine, prednimustine, trofosfamide, uracil mustard; nitrosureas such as carmustine, chlorozotocin, fotemustine, lomustine, nimustine, ranimustine; antibiotics such as the enediyne antibiotics (e.g. calicheamicin, especially calicheamicin gamma1I and calicheamicin phiI1, see, e.g., Agnew, Chem. Intl. Ed. Engl., 33:183-186 (1994); dynemicin, including dynemicin A; bisphosphonates, such as clodronate; an esperamicin; as well as neocarzinostatin chromophore and related chromoprotein enediyne antibiotic chromomophores), aclacinomysins, actinomycin, authramycin, azaserine, bleomycins, cactinomycin, carabicin, caminomycin, carzinophilin, chromomycins, dactinomycin, daunorubicin, detorubicin, 6-diazo-5-oxo-L-norleucine, doxorubicin (including morpholino-doxorubicin, cyanomorpholino-doxorubicin, 2-pyrrolino-doxorubicin and deoxydoxorubicin), epirubicin, esorubicin, idarubicin, marcellomycin, mitomycins such as mitomycin C, mycophenolic acid, nogalamycin, olivomycins, peplomycin, potfiromycin, puromycin, quelamycin, rodorubicin, streptonigrin, streptozocin, tubercidin, ubenimex, zinostatin, zorubicin; anti-metabolites such as methotrexate and 5-fluorouracil (5-FU); folic acid analogues such as denopterin, methotrexate, pteropterin, trimetrexate; purine analogs such as fludarabine, 6-mercaptopurine, thiamiprine, thioguanine; pyrimidine analogs such as ancitabine, azacitidine, 6-azauridine, carmofur, cytarabine, dideoxyuridine, doxifluridine, enocitabine, floxuridine; androgens such as calusterone, dromostanolone propionate, epitiostanol, mepitiostane, testolactone; anti-adrenals such as aminoglutethimide, mitotane, trilostane; folic acid replenisher such as frolinic acid; aceglatone; aldophosphamide glycoside; aminolevulinic acid; eniluracil; amsacrine; bestrabucil; bisantrene; edatraxate; defofamine; demecolcine; diaziquone; elformithine; elliptinium acetate; an epothilone; etoglucid; gallium nitrate; hydroxyurea; lentinan; lonidamine; maytansinoids such as maytansine and ansamitocins; mitoguazone; mitoxantrone; mopidamol; nitracrine; pentostatin; phenamet; pirarubicin; losoxantrone; podophyllinic acid; 2-ethylhydrazide; procarbazine; razoxane; rhizoxin; sizofuran; spirogermanium; tenuazonic acid; triaziquone; 2, 2',2"-trichlorotriethylamine; trichothecenes (especially T-2 toxin, verracurin A, roridin A and anguidine); urethan; vindesine; dacarbazine; mannomustine; mitobronitol; mitolactol; pipobroman; gacytosine; arabinoside ("Ara-C"); cyclophosphamide; thiotepa; taxoids, e.g. paclitaxel and doxetaxel; chlorambucil; gemcitabine; 6-thioguanine; mercaptopurine; methotrexate; platinum analogs such as cisplatin and carboplatin; vinblastine; platinum; etoposide (VP-16); ifosfamide; mitoxantrone; vincristine; vinorelbine; novantrone; teniposide; edatrexate; daunomycin; aminopterin; xeloda; ibandronate; CPT-11; topoisomerase inhibitor RFS 2000; difluoromethylornithine (DMFO); retinoids such as retinoic acid; capecitabine; and pharmaceutically acceptable salts, acids or derivatives of any of the above. Also included are anti-hormonal agents that act to regulate or inhibit hormone action on tumors such as anti-estrogens and selective estrogen receptor modulators (SERMs), including, for example, tamoxifen, raloxifene, droloxifene, 4-hydroxytamoxifen, trioxifene, keoxifene, LY 117018, onapristone, and toremifene (Fareston); aromatase inhibitors that inhibit the enzyme aromatase, which regulates estrogen production in the adrenal glands, such as, for example, 4(5)-imidazoles, aminoglutethimide, megestrol acetate, exemestane, formestane, fadrozole, vorozole, letrozole, and anastrozole; and anti-androgens such as flutamide, nilutamide, bicalutamide, leuprolide, and goserelin; and pharmaceutically acceptable salts, acids or derivatives of any of the above.

[0110] Each therapeutic agent in a combination therapy of the invention may be administered either alone or in a medicament (also referred to herein as a pharmaceutical composition) which comprises the therapeutic agent and one or more pharmaceutically acceptable carriers, excipients and diluents, according to standard pharmaceutical practice.

[0111] Each therapeutic agent in a combination therapy of the invention may be administered simultaneously (e.g., in the same medicament or at the same time), concurrently (i.e., in separate medicaments administered one right after the other in any order or sequentially in any order. Sequential administration is particularly useful when the therapeutic agents in the combination therapy are in different dosage forms (one agent is a tablet or capsule and another agent is a sterile liquid) and/or are administered on different dosing schedules, e.g., a chemotherapeutic that is administered at least daily and a biotherapeutic that is administered less frequently, such as once weekly, once every two weeks, or once every three weeks.

[0112] Dosage units may be expressed in mg/kg (i.e. mg/kg of body weight) or mg/m2. The mg/m2 dosage units refer to the quantity in milligrams per square meter of body surface area.

[0113] In some instances, PD-1 antagonist and the 4-1BB agonist are combined or co-formulated in a single dosage form.

[0114] Although the simultaneous administration of the PD-1 antagonist, and the 4-1BB agonist may be maintained throughout a period of treatment or prevention, anti-cancer activity may also be achieved by subsequent administration of one compound in isolation (for example, PD-1 antagonist without the 4-1BB agonist, following combination treatment, or alternatively the 4-1BB agonist, without PD-1 antagonist, following combination treatment.

[0115] In some embodiments, the 4-1BB agonist is administered before administration of the PD-1 antagonist, while in other embodiments, the 4-1BB agonist is administered after administration of the PD-1 antagonist.

[0116] In some embodiments, at least one of the therapeutic agents in the combination therapy is administered using the same dosage regimen (dose, frequency and duration of treatment) that is typically employed when the agent is used as monotherapy for treating the same cancer. In other embodiments, the patient receives a lower total amount of at least one of the therapeutic agents in the combination therapy than when the agent is used as monotherapy, e.g., smaller doses, less frequent doses, and/or shorter treatment duration.

[0117] A combination therapy of the invention may be used prior to or following surgery to remove a tumor and may be used prior to, during or after radiation therapy.

[0118] In some embodiments, a combination therapy of the invention is administered to a patient who has not been previously treated with a biotherapeutic or chemotherapeutic agent, i.e., is treatment-naive. In other embodiments, the combination therapy is administered to a patient who failed to achieve a sustained response after prior therapy with a biotherapeutic or chemotherapeutic agent, i.e., is treatment-experienced.

[0119] A combination therapy of the invention is typically used to treat a tumor that is large enough to be found by palpation or by imaging techniques well known in the art, such as MRI, ultrasound, or CAT scan. In some embodiments, a combination therapy of the invention is used to treat an advanced stage tumor having dimensions of at least about 200 mm3. 300 mm3, 400 mm3, 500 mm3, 750 mm3, or up to 1000 mm3.

[0120] A combination therapy of the invention is preferably administered to a human patient who has a cancer that expresses PD-L1 or that tests positive for PD-L1 expression. In some embodiments, PD-L1 expression is detected using a diagnostic anti-human PD-L1 antibody, or antigen binding fragment thereof, in an IHC assay on an FFPE or frozen tissue section of a tumor sample removed from the patient. Typically, the patient's physician would order a diagnostic test to determine PD-L1 expression in a tumor tissue sample removed from the patient prior to initiation of treatment with the PD-1 antagonist and 4-1BB agonist, but it is envisioned that the physician could order the first or subsequent diagnostic tests at any time after initiation of treatment, such as for example after completion of a treatment cycle.

[0121] In one embodiment, the dosage regimen is tailored to the particular patient's conditions, response and associate treatments, in a manner which is conventional for any therapy, and may need to be adjusted in response to changes in conditions and/or in light of other clinical conditions.

[0122] In some embodiments, selecting a dosage regimen (also referred to herein as an administration regimen) for a combination therapy of the invention depends on several factors, including the serum or tissue turnover rate of the entity, the level of symptoms, the immunogenicity of the entity, and the accessibility of the target cells, tissue or organ in the individual being treated. Preferably, a dosage regimen maximizes the amount of each therapeutic agent delivered to the patient consistent with an acceptable level of side effects. Accordingly, the dose amount and dosing frequency of each biotherapeutic and chemotherapeutic agent in the combination depends in part on the particular therapeutic agent, the severity of the cancer being treated, and patient characteristics. Guidance in selecting appropriate doses of antibodies, cytokines, and small molecules are available. See, e.g., Wawrzynczak (1996) Antibody Therapy, Bios Scientific Pub. Ltd, Oxfordshire, UK; Kresina (ed.) (1991) Monoclonal Antibodies, Cytokines and Arthritis, Marcel Dekker, New York, NY; Bach (ed.) (1993) Monoclonal Antibodies and Peptide Therapy in Autoimmune Diseases, Marcel Dekker, New York, NY; Baert et al. (2003) New Engl. J. Med. 348:601-608; Milgrom et al. (1999) New Engl. J. Med. 341:1966-1973; Slamon et al. (2001) New Engl. J. Med. 344:783-792; Beniaminovitz et al. (2000) New Engl. J. Med. 342:613-619; Ghosh et al. (2003) New Engl. J. Med. 348:24-32; Lipsky et al. (2000) New Engl. J. Med. 343:1594-1602; Physicians' Desk Reference 2003 (Physicians' Desk Reference, 57th Ed); Medical Economics Company; ISBN: 1563634457; 57th edition (November 2002). Determination of the appropriate dosage regimen may be made by the clinician, e.g., using parameters or factors known or suspected in the art to affect treatment or predicted to affect treatment, and will depend, for example, the patient's clinical history (e.g., previous therapy), the type and stage of the cancer to be treated and biomarkers of response to one or more of the therapeutic agents in the combination therapy.

[0123] Biotherapeutic agents in a combination therapy of the invention may be administered by continuous infusion, or by doses at intervals of, e.g., daily, every other day, three times per week, or one time each week, two weeks, three weeks, monthly, bimonthly, etc. A total weekly dose is generally at least 0.05 µg/kg, 0.2 µg/kg, 0.5 µg/kg, 1 µg/kg, 10 µg/kg, 100 µg/kg, 0.2 mg/kg, 1.0 mg/kg, 2.0 mg/kg, 10 mg/kg, 25 mg/kg, 50 mg/kg body weight or more. See, e.g., Yang et al. (2003) New Engl. J. Med. 349:427-434; Herold et al. (2002) New Engl. J. Med. 346:1692-1698; Liu et al. (1999) J. Neurol. Neurosurg. Psych. 67:451-456; Portielji et al. (20003) Cancer Immunol. Immunother. 52:133-144.

[0124] In some embodiments that employ an anti-human PD-1 mAb as the PD-1 antagonist in the combination therapy, the dosing regimen will comprise administering the anti-human PD-1 mAb at a dose of 1, 2, 3, 5 or 10mg/kg at intervals of about 14 days (± 2 days) or about 21 days (± 2 days) or about 30 days (± 2 days) throughout the course of treatment.

[0125] In other embodiments that employ an anti-human PD-1 mAb as the PD-1 antagonist in the combination therapy, the dosing regimen will comprise administering the anti-human PD-1 mAb at a dose of from about 0.005 mg/kg to about 10 mg/kg, with intra-patient dose escalation. In other escalating dose embodiments, the interval between doses will be progressively shortened, e.g., about 30 days (± 2 days) between the first and second dose, about 14 days (± 2 days) between the second and third doses. In certain embodiments, the dosing interval will be about 14 days (± 2 days), for doses subsequent to the second dose.

[0126] In certain embodiments, a subject will be administered an intravenous (IV) infusion of a medicament comprising any of the PD-1 antagonists described herein.

[0127] In one embodiment of the invention, the PD-1 antagonist in the combination therapy is nivolumab, which is administered intravenously at a dose selected from the group consisting of: 1 mg/kg Q2W, 2 mg/kg Q2W, 3 mg/kg Q2W, 5 mg/kg Q2W, 10 mg Q2W, 1 mg/kg Q3W, 2 mg/kg Q3W, 3 mg/kg Q3W, 5 mg/kg Q3W, and 10 mg Q3W.

[0128] In another embodiment of the invention, the PD-1 antagonist in the combination therapy is MK-3475, which is administered in a liquid medicament at a dose selected from the group consisting of 1 mg/kg Q2W, 2 mg/kg Q2W, 3 mg/kg Q2W, 5 mg/kg Q2W, 10 mg Q2W, 1 mg/kg Q3W, 2 mg/kg Q3W, 3 mg/kg Q3W, 5 mg/kg Q3W, and 10 mg Q3W. In some embodiments, MK-3475 is administered as a liquid medicament which comprises 25 mg/ml MK-3475, 7% (w/v) sucrose, 0.02% (w/v) polysorbate 80 in 10 mM histidine buffer pH 5.5, and the selected dose of the medicament is administered by IV infusion over a time period of about 30 minutes.

[0129] In some embodiments, the dosing regimen will comprise administering the 4-1BB agonist at a dose of 1, 2, 3, 5 or 10mg/kg at intervals of about 14 days (± 2 days) or about 21 days (± 2 days) or about 30 days (± 2 days) throughout the course of treatment.

[0130] In other embodiments, the dosing regimen will comprise administering the 4-1BB agonist at a dose of from about 0.005 mg/kg to about 10 mg/kg, with intra-patient dose escalation. In other escalating dose embodiments, the interval between doses will be progressively shortened, e.g., about 30 days (± 2 days) between the first and second dose, about 14 days (± 2 days) between the second and third doses. In certain embodiments, the dosing interval will be about 14 days (± 2 days), for doses subsequent to the second dose.

[0131] In another embodiment of the invention, the 4-1BB agonist in the combination therapy is PF-05082566, which is administered in a liquid medicament at a dose selected from the group consisting of 1 mg/kg Q2W, 2 mg/kg Q2W, 3 mg/kg Q2W, 5 mg/kg Q2W, 10 mg Q2W, 1 mg/kg Q3W, 2 mg/kg Q3W, 3 mg/kg Q3W, 5 mg/kg Q3W, and 10 mg Q3W. In some embodiments, PF-05082566 is administered as a liquid medicament, and the selected dose of the medicament is administered by IV infusion over a time period of about 60 minutes.

[0132] The optimal dose for MK-3475 in combination with PF-05082566 may be identified by dose escalation of one or both of these agents.

[0133] In one embodiment, MK-3475 is administered at a starting dose of 2 mg/kg Q2W and PF-05082566 is administered Q4W at a starting dose of 0.3 mg/kg, 0.6 mg/kg, 1.2 mg/kg, 2.4 mg/kg, or 5 mg/kg.

[0134] In another embodiment, MK-3475 is administered at a starting dose of 2 mg/kg Q3W and PF-05082566 is administered Q3W at a starting dose of 0.3 mg/kg, 0.6 mg/kg, 1.2 mg/kg, 2.4 mg/kg, or 5 mg/kg.

[0135] In yet another embodiment, PF-05082566 is administered at a starting dose of 0.6 mg/kg Q4W and MK-3475 is administered at a starting dose of 10 mg/kg Q2W, and if the starting dose combination is not tolerated by the patient, then the dose of MK-3475 is reduced to 2 mg/kg Q2W and/or the dose of PF-05082566 is reduced to 0.3 mg/kg Q4W.

[0136] In an embodiment, the dosage regimen is any combination of MK-3475 at a dose selected from the group consisting of 2 mg/kg q2wk and 10 mg/kg q2wk, and PF-05082566 at a dose selected from the group consisting of 1.2 mg/kg q4wk, 2.4 mg/kg q4wk and 5.0 mg/kg q4wk. For example:
MK-3475 (PD-1 antagonist)andPF-05082566 (4-1BB agonist)
2 mg/kg q2wk and 1.2 mg/kg q4wk
2 mg/kg q2wk and 2.4 mg/kg q4wk
2 mg/kg q2wk and 5.0 mg/kg q4wk
10 mg/kg q2wk and 1.2 mg/kg q4wk
10 mg/kg q2wk and 2.4 mg/kg q4wk
10 mg/kg q2wk and 5.0 mg/kg q4wk


[0137] In some embodiments, dosage levels below the lower limit of the aforesaid range may be more than adequate, while in other cases still larger doses may be employed, as determined by those skilled in the art.

[0138] In some embodiments, a treatment cycle begins with the first day of combination treatment and last for 3 weeks or 4 weeks. On any day of a treatment cycle that the drugs are co-administered, the MK-3475 IV infusion preferably begins 30 minutes after completion of the PF-05082566 infusion. Alternatively, MK-3475 is administered by IV infusion after completion of the PF-05082566 infusion. The invention also contemplates simultaneous IV infusion of PF-05082566 and MK-3475.

[0139] In some embodiments, the combination therapy is preferably administered for at least 12 weeks (three 4 week cycles or four 3 week cycles), more preferably at least 24 weeks, and even more preferably at least 2 to 4 weeks after the patient achieves a CR.

[0140] In some embodiments, the patient selected for treatment with the combination therapy of the invention has been diagnosed with an advanced solid malignant tumor. Preferably, the patient has not received prior systemic therapy for the advanced tumor.

[0141] The present invention also provides a medicament which comprises a PD-1 antagonist as described above and a pharmaceutically acceptable excipient. When the PD-1 antagonist is a biotherapeutic agent, e.g., a mAb, the antagonist may be produced in CHO cells using conventional cell culture and recovery/purification technologies.

[0142] In some embodiments, a medicament comprising an anti-PD-1 antibody as the PD-1 antagonist may be provided as a liquid formulation or prepared by reconstituting a lyophilized powder with sterile water for injection prior to use. WO 2012/135408 describes the preparation of liquid and lyophilized medicaments comprising MK-3475 that are suitable for use in the present invention. In some embodiments, a medicament comprising MK-3475 is provided in a glass vial which contains about 50 mg of MK-3475.

[0143] The present invention also provides a medicament which comprises a 4-1BB agonist antibody and a pharmaceutically acceptable excipient. The 4-1BB agonist antibody may be prepared as described in U.S. Patent No. 8,337,850.

[0144] In some embodiments, the 4-1BB agonist antibody may be formulated at a concentration of 10 mg/mL to allow intravenous (IV). The commercial formulation may contain L-histidine buffer with α, α-trehalose dihydrate, disodium ethylenediaminetetraacetic acid dihydrate and polysorbate 80 at pH 5.5.

[0145] The anti-PD-1 and 4-1BB medicaments described herein may be provided as a kit which comprises a first container and a second containiner and a package insert. The first container contains at least one dose of a medicament comprising an anti-PD-1 antagonist, the second container contains at least one dose of a medicament comprising a 4-1BB agonist, and the package insert, or label, which comprises instructions for treating a patient for cancer using the medicaments. The first and second containers may be comprised of the same or different shape (e.g., vials, syringes and bottles) and/or material (e.g., plastic or glass). The kit may further comprise other materials that may be useful in administering the medicaments, such as diluents, filters, IV bags and lines, needles and syringes. In some embodiments of the kit, the anti-PD-1 antagonist is an anti-PD-1 antibody and the instructions state that the medicaments are intended for use in treating a patient having a cancer that tests positive for PD-L1 expression by an IHC assay.

[0146] These and other aspects of the invention, including the exemplary specific embodiments listed below, will be apparent from the teachings contained herein.

Exemplary Specific Embodiments of the Invention



[0147] 1. A method for treating a cancer in an individual comprising administering to the individual a combination therapy which comprises a PD-1 antagonist and a 4-1BB agonist.
2. A medicament comprising a PD-1 antagonist for use in combination with a 4-1BB agonist for treating a cancer in an individual.
3. A medicament comprising a 4-1BB agonist for use in combination with a PD-1 antagonist for treating a cancer in an individual.
4. The medicament of embodiment 3 or 4, which further comprises a pharmaceutically acceptable excipient.
5. Use of a PD-1 antagonist in the manufacture of a medicament for treating a cancer in an individual when administered in combination with a 4-1BB agonist.
6. Use of a 4-1BB agonist compound in the manufacture of a medicament for treating a cancer in an individual when administered in combination with a PD-1 antagonist.
7. Use of a PD-1 antagonist and a 4-1BB agonist in the manufacture of medicaments for treating a cancer in an individual.
8. A kit which comprises a first container, a second container and a package insert, wherein the first container comprises at least one dose of a medicament comprising an anti-PD-1 antagonist, the second container comprises at least one dose of a medicament comprising a 4-1BB agonist, and the package insert comprises instructions for treating an individual for cancer using the medicaments.
9. The kit of embodiment 8, wherein the instructions state that the medicaments are intended for use in treating an individual having a cancer that expresses PD-L1 or that tests positive for PD-L1 expression by an immunohistochemical (IHC) assay.
10. The method, medicament, use or kit of any of embodiments 1 to 9, wherein the individual is a human and the PD-1 antagonist is a monoclonal antibody, or an antigen binding fragment thereof, which specifically binds to human PD-L1 and blocks the binding of human PD-L1 to human PD-1.
11. The method, medicament, use or kit of embodiment 9, wherein the PD-1 antagonist is MPDL3280A, BMS-936559, MEDI4736, MSB0010718C or a monoclonal antibody which comprises the heavy chain and light chain variable regions of SEQ ID NO: 24 and SEQ ID NO: 21, respectively, of WO2013/019906.
12. The method, medicament, use or kit of any of embodiments 1 to 9, wherein the individual is a human, and the PD-1 antagonist is a monoclonal antibody, or an antigen binding fragment thereof, which specifically binds to human PD-1 and blocks the binding of human PD-L1 to human PD-1.
13. The method, medicament, use or kit of embodiment 12, wherein the PD-1 antagonist also blocks binding of human PD-L2 to human PD-1.
14. The method, medicament, use or kit of embodiment 13, wherein the monoclonal antibody, or antigen binding fragment thereof, comprises: (a) light chain CDRs of SEQ ID NOs: 1, 2 and 3 and heavy chain CDRs of SEQ ID NOs: 4, 5 and 6; or (b) light chain CDRs of SEQ ID NOs: 7, 8 and 9 and heavy chain CDRs of SEQ ID NOs: 10, 11 and 12.
15. The method, medicament, use or kit of embodiment 13, wherein the monoclonal antibody, or antigen binding fragment thereof, comprises light chain CDRs of SEQ ID NOs: 7, 8 and 9 and heavy chain CDRs of SEQ ID NOs: 10, 11 and 12.
16. The method, medicament, use or kit of embodiment 13, wherein the PD-1 antagonist is an anti-PD-1 monoclonal antibody which comprises a heavy chain and a light chain, and wherein the heavy chain comprises SEQ ID NO: 21 and the light chain comprises SEQ ID NO: 22.
17. The method, medicament, use or kit of embodiment 13, wherein the PD-1 antagonist is an anti-PD-1 monoclonal antibody which comprises a heavy chain and a light chain, and wherein the heavy chain comprises SEQ ID NO: 23 and the light chain comprises SEQ ID NO: 24.
18. The method, medicament, use or kit of any of embodiments 10-17, wherein the cancer is a solid tumor.
19. The method, medicament, use or kit of any of embodiments 10-17, wherein the cancer is bladder cancer, breast cancer, clear cell kidney cancer, head/neck squamous cell carcinoma, lung squamous cell carcinoma, malignant melanoma, non-small-cell lung cancer (NSCLC), ovarian cancer, pancreatic cancer, prostate cancer, renal cell cancer, small-cell lung cancer (SCLC) or triple negative breast cancer.
20. The method, medicament, use or kit of any of embodiments 10-17, wherein the individual has not been previously treated for an advanced solid malignant tumor.
21. The method, medicament, use or kit of any of embodiments 10-17, wherein the cancer is acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL), acute myeloid leukemia (AML), chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL), chronic myeloid leukemia (CML), diffuse large B-cell lymphoma (DLBCL), follicular lymphoma, Hodgkin's lymphoma (HL), mantle cell lymphoma (MCL), multiple myeloma (MM), myeloid cell leukemia-1 protein (Mcl-1), myelodysplastic syndrome (MDS), non-Hodgkin's lymphoma (NHL), or small lymphocytic lymphoma (SLL).
22. The method, medicament, use or kit of any of embodiments 10-21, wherein the 4-1BB agonist is a monoclonal antibody which comprises the heavy chain and light chain variable regions of SEQ ID NO: 33 and SEQ ID NO: 34, respectively.
23. The method, medicament, use or kit of embodiments 10-21, wherein the 4-1BB agonist is a monoclonal antibody which comprises light chain CDRs of SEQ ID NOs: 30, 31 and 32 and heavy chain CDRs of SEQ ID NOs: 27, 28 and 29.
24. The method, medicament, use or kit of embodiments 10-21, wherein the 4-1BB agonist is a monoclonal antibody which comprises a heavy chain and a light chain, and wherein the heavy chain comprises SEQ ID NO: 35 and the light chain comprises SEQ ID NO: 36.
25. The method, medicament, use or kit of any of embodiments 10-22, the cancer tests positive for human PD-L1.
26. The method, medicament, use or kit of embodiment 23, wherein the human PD-L1 expression is elevated.
27. The method, medicament, use or kit of embodiment 14, wherein the PD-1 antagonist is MK-3475 or nivolumab.
28. The method, medicament, use or kit of embodiment 25, wherein the MK-3475 is formulated as a liquid medicament which comprises 25 mg/ml MK-3475, 7% (w/v) sucrose, 0.02% (w/v) polysorbate 80 in 10 mM histidine buffer pH 5.5.
29. The method, medicament, use or kit of any of embodiments 1 to 26, wherein the 4-1BB agonist is PF-05082566.
30. The method, medicament, use of kit of any of embodiments 1 to 26, wherein the PD-1 antagonist is MK-3475, the 4-1BB agonist is PF-05082566, the individual is diagnosed with an advanced malignant solid tumor, and doses of the PD-1 antagonist and 4-1BB agonist are selected from the group consisting of one of the combinations in the table below:
MK-3475 (PD-1 antagonist)andPF-05082566 (4-1BB agonist)
2 mg/kg q2wk and 1.2 mg/kg q4wk
2 mg/kg q2wk and 2.4 mg/kg q4wk
2 mg/kg q2wk and 5.0 mg/kg q4wk
10 mg/kg q2wk and 1.2 mg/kg q4wk
10 mg/kg q2wk and 2.4 mg/kg q4wk
10 mg/kg q2wk and 5.0 mg/kg q4wk

GENERAL METHODS



[0148] Standard methods in molecular biology are described Sambrook, Fritsch and Maniatis (1982 & 1989 2nd Edition, 2001 3rd Edition) Molecular Cloning, A Laboratory Manual, Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory Press, Cold Spring Harbor, NY; Sambrook and Russell (2001) Molecular Cloning, 3rd ed., Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory Press, Cold Spring Harbor, NY; Wu (1993) Recombinant DNA, Vol. 217, Academic Press, San Diego, CA). Standard methods also appear in Ausbel, et al. (2001) Current Protocols in Molecular Biology, Vols.1-4, John Wiley and Sons, Inc. New York, NY, which describes cloning in bacterial cells and DNA mutagenesis (Vol. 1), cloning in mammalian cells and yeast (Vol. 2), glycoconjugates and protein expression (Vol. 3), and bioinformatics (Vol. 4).

[0149] Methods for protein purification including immunoprecipitation, chromatography, electrophoresis, centrifugation, and crystallization are described (Coligan, et al. (2000) Current Protocols in Protein Science, Vol. 1, John Wiley and Sons, Inc., New York). Chemical analysis, chemical modification, post-translational modification, production of fusion proteins, glycosylation of proteins are described (see, e.g., Coligan, et al. (2000) Current Protocols in Protein Science, Vol. 2, John Wiley and Sons, Inc., New York; Ausubel, et al. (2001) Current Protocols in Molecular Biology, Vol. 3, John Wiley and Sons, Inc., NY, NY, pp. 16.0.5-16.22.17; Sigma-Aldrich, Co. (2001) Products for Life Science Research, St. Louis, MO; pp. 45-89; Amersham Pharmacia Biotech (2001) BioDirectory, Piscataway, N.J., pp. 384-391). Production, purification, and fragmentation of polyclonal and monoclonal antibodies are described (Coligan, et al. (2001) Current Protcols in Immunology, Vol. 1, John Wiley and Sons, Inc., New York; Harlow and Lane (1999) Using Antibodies, Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory Press, Cold Spring Harbor, NY; Harlow and Lane, supra). Standard techniques for characterizing ligand/receptor interactions are available (see, e.g., Coligan, et al. (2001) Current Protocols in Immunology, Vol. 4, John Wiley, Inc., New York).

[0150] Monoclonal, polyclonal, and humanized antibodies can be prepared (see, e.g., Sheperd and Dean (eds.) (2000) Monoclonal Antibodies, Oxford Univ. Press, New York, NY; Kontermann and Dubel (eds.) (2001) Antibody Engineering, Springer-Verlag, New York; Harlow and Lane (1988) Antibodies A Laboratory Manual, Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory Press, Cold Spring Harbor, NY, pp. 139-243; Carpenter, et al. (2000) J. Immunol. 165:6205; He, et al. (1998) J. Immunol. 160:1029; Tang et al. (1999) J. Biol. Chem. 274:27371-27378; Baca et al. (1997) J. Biol. Chem. 272:10678-10684; Chothia et al. (1989) Nature 342:877-883; Foote and Winter (1992) J. Mol. Biol. 224:487-499; U.S. Pat. No. 6,329,511).

[0151] An alternative to humanization is to use human antibody libraries displayed on phage or human antibody libraries in transgenic mice (Vaughan et al. (1996) Nature Biotechnol. 14:309-314; Barbas (1995) Nature Medicine 1:837-839; Mendez et al. (1997) Nature Genetics 15:146-156; Hoogenboom and Chames (2000) Immunol. Today 21:371-377; Barbas et al. (2001) Phage Display: A Laboratory Manual, Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory Press, Cold Spring Harbor, New York; Kay et al. (1996) Phage Display of Peptides and Proteins: A Laboratory Manual, Academic Press, San Diego, CA; de Bruin et al. (1999) Nature Biotechnol. 17:397-399).

[0152] Purification of antigen is not necessary for the generation of antibodies. Animals can be immunized with cells bearing the antigen of interest. Splenocytes can then be isolated from the immunized animals, and the splenocytes can fused with a myeloma cell line to produce a hybridoma (see, e.g., Meyaard et al. (1997) Immunity 7:283-290; Wright et al. (2000) Immunity 13:233-242; Preston et al., supra; Kaithamana et al. (1999) J. Immunol. 163:5157-5164).

[0153] Antibodies can be conjugated, e.g., to small drug molecules, enzymes, liposomes, polyethylene glycol (PEG). Antibodies are useful for therapeutic, diagnostic, kit or other purposes, and include antibodies coupled, e.g., to dyes, radioisotopes, enzymes, or metals, e.g., colloidal gold (see, e.g., Le Doussal et al. (1991) J. Immunol. 146:169-175; Gibellini et al. (1998) J. Immunol. 160:3891-3898; Hsing and Bishop (1999) J. Immunol. 162:2804-2811; Everts et al. (2002) J. Immunol. 168:883-889).

[0154] Methods for flow cytometry, including fluorescence activated cell sorting (FACS), are available (see, e.g., Owens, et al. (1994) Flow Cytometry Principles for Clinical Laboratory Practice, John Wiley and Sons, Hoboken, NJ; Givan (2001) Flow Cytometry, 2nd ed.; Wiley-Liss, Hoboken, NJ; Shapiro (2003) Practical Flow Cytometry, John Wiley and Sons, Hoboken, NJ). Fluorescent reagents suitable for modifying nucleic acids, including nucleic acid primers and probes, polypeptides, and antibodies, for use, e.g., as diagnostic reagents, are available (Molecular Probesy (2003) Catalogue, Molecular Probes, Inc., Eugene, OR; Sigma-Aldrich (2003) Catalogue, St. Louis, MO).

[0155] Standard methods of histology of the immune system are described (see, e.g., Muller-Harmelink (ed.) (1986) Human Thymus: Histopathology and Pathology, Springer Verlag, New York, NY; Hiatt, et al. (2000) Color Atlas of Histology, Lippincott, Williams, and Wilkins, Phila, PA; Louis, et al. (2002) Basic Histology: Text and Atlas, McGraw-Hill, New York, NY).

[0156] Software packages and databases for determining, e.g., antigenic fragments, leader sequences, protein folding, functional domains, glycosylation sites, and sequence alignments, are available (see, e.g., GenBank, Vector NTI® Suite (Informax, Inc, Bethesda, MD); GCG Wisconsin Package (Accelrys, Inc., San Diego, CA); DeCypher® (TimeLogic Corp., Crystal Bay, Nevada); Menne, et al. (2000) Bioinformatics 16: 741-742; Menne, et al. (2000) Bioinformatics Applications Note 16:741-742; Wren, et al. (2002) Comput. Methods Programs Biomed. 68:177-181; von Heijne (1983) Eur. J. Biochem. 133:17-21; von Heijne (1986) Nucleic Acids Res. 14:4683-4690).

EXAMPLES


Example 1. Anti-tumor response of concurrent administration of a PD-1 antagonist and a 4-1BB agonist to tumor-bearing mice.



[0157] It is thought that tumor expression of PD-L1 can limit the ability of cytotoxic T cells to directly kill the tumor cells. Therefore, even if a 4-1BB agonist is used to stimulate cytotoxic T cells, capable of recognizing such tumors, PD-L1 expressed on the tumor cells may down-modulate the activity of these stimulated T cells. A 4-1BB agonist antibody resistant mouse MC38 colon cancer tumor model, that expresses PD-L1, was used to provide evidence for improved anti-tumor activity using the combination of a 4-1BB agonist antibody with PD-1 antagonist antibody compared with either single agent.

[0158] C57BL6 mice were subcutaneously implanted with 1X106 MC38 murine colon carcinoma cells. Tumor growth was monitored and animals randomized to four groups of 8 when the tumors reached an average size of 150 mm3 and intraperitoneal dosed with vehicle (PBS), 1 mg/kg of a rat anti-mouse 41BB agonist monoclonal antibody (R&D Systems # MAB9371), 10 mg/kg of an anti-mouse PD-1 antagonist antibody (Affymetrix eBioscience Clone RMP1-14), or the simultaneous combination of the two once every 5 days for a total of two doses. The study was terminated when tumor sizes of the controls reached 1000mm3. As shown in Figure 9, combination treatment of animals with the 4-1BB agonist plus the PD-1 antagonist resulted in 63.2% reduction in tumor growth when compared to vehicle controls (unpaired t test *p = 0.0125). Significant tumor growth inhibition by either agent dosed individually was not observed.

[0159] Consistent with the proposed mechanism for the combination, significant increases in CD8+ effector memory cells and tumor responsive IFN-γ producing cells were found in the spleens of mice treated with the combination (data not shown). In addition, preliminary toxicology data in mice suggest that the toxicity of an anti-4-1BB agonist is not increased by addition of an anti-PD-1 antagonist (data not shown).

Example 2. Evaluation of anti-tumor efficacy and tolerability of simultaneous administration of a PD1 antagonist (mDX400) and a 4-1BB agonist in MC38 tumor-bearing C57BL/6 mice.



[0160] The MC38 model used in these studies is a murine colorectal adenocarcinoma syngeneic to C57BL/6 strain. MC38 cells were cultured in DMEM medium supplemented with 10% heat-inactivated fetal bovine serum and L-glutamine (2mM) at 37°C. Using a 26G needle and a 1 cc syringe, 7-8 weeks old female C57BL/6 mice (Jackson Labs) were inoculated subcutaneously on the right lower flank with a single cell suspension of 1X10^6 log-phase and sub-confluent MC38 cells, (from in vitro passage 4) in a 0.1mL volume of serum-free DMEM medium.

[0161] Tumor volume and animal body weights were measured the day before the first dose and twice a week thereafter starting form the first day of treatment (Day 0). Tumor length and width were measured using electronic calipers and tumor volume determined using the formula Volume (mm3) = 0.5 x Length x Width2 where length is the longer dimension.

[0162] When the mean tumor volume reached an average size of 145mm3, mice with equivalent mean tumor sizes were randomized into 5 treatment groups (Table 4) with 12 animals per group: (1) 5 mg/kg of a mouse monoclonal IgG1 isotype control antibody [64AFW] specific to adenoviral hexon 25 (Merck Research Labs, Palo Alto), (2) 10mg/kg of a rat anti-mouse monoclonal IgG1 isotype control antibody [67ABW] specific to human IL-4 (Merck Research Labs, Palo Alto) (3) 10 mg/kg of a rat anti-mouse 41BB (anti-CD137) agonist monoclonal antibody [04AFR] (BioXcell#BE0169), (4) 5 mg/kg of a monoclonal anti-mouse PD-1 antagonist antibody (muDX400) [78AFS] (Merck Research Labs, Palo Alto), and (5) simultaneous combination of the anti-mouse 41BB agonist antibody [04AFR] and anti-mouse PD-1 antagonist antibody (muDX400) [78AFS]. Animals were dosed intraperitoneally (IP) once every 5 days for a total of 5 doses. The antibodies were dissolved in the following buffers for IP. injection into mice: mIgG1 isotype control (10 mM phosphate, 75 mM NaCl, 3% sucrose pH 7.4); rIgG1 isotype control (20mM NaAcetate 7% Sucrose pH5.5); anti-41BB (PBS pH 7.0); anti-PD-1 (20mM Na acetate, 9% sucrose pH 5.5) The study was terminated 24 days post treatment initiation.
Table 4
GroupTest MaterialsDose (mg/Kg)Dosing ScheduleRoute of AdministrationGroup Size
1 mIgG1 Isotype Control [64AFW] 5 q5dx5 i.p. 12
2 rIgG1 Isotype Control [67ABW] 10 q5dx5 i.p. 12
3 Rat anti-m CD137 (anti--4-1BB) [04AFR] 10 q5dx5 i.p. 12
4 Anti-PD-1 (muDX400) [78AFS] 5 q5dx5 i.p. 12
5 Rat anti-m CD137 (anti-4-1BB) [04AFR] 10 q5dx5 i.p. 12
  5 q5dx5 i.p.  
  muDX400 [78AFS]        


[0163] As demonstrated by the results in Figure 12A-E, the combination of a PD-1 antagonist and 4-1BB agonist demonstrated dramatic therapeutic enhancement with 100% complete regressions (CR), significantly higher than that observed in the single agent treatment groups, such that no measureable tumor remained in 12 out of 12 animals (Figure 12E). Single agent anti-PD-1 treatment and single agent anti-4-1BB treatment showed 33% regressions at study termination such that no measureable tumor remained in 4 out of 12 animals (Figure 12C, D). In order to better illustrate the synergistic therapeutic effect of the combination of a PD-1 antagonist and 4-1BB agonist, Figures 12F, G, and H show the tumor volume with max value of 1000 mm3. The statistical significance of the responses to the different treatments was determined using a Fisher's Exact Pair-Wise Test, and the comparison results of tumor volumes at Day 21 are shown in Table 5A-E below.
Table 5A
Treatment PairsTumor Volume (Day 21)P Value
Non-ZeroZeroTotal 
r Isotype 12 0 12 0.0932
10mpk CD137 (4-1BB) 8 4 12
Total 20 4 24
Table 5B
Treatment PairsTumor Volume (Day 21)P Value
Non-ZeroZeroTotal 
m Isotype 12 0 12 0.0932
5mpk mDX400 8 4 12
Total 20 4 24  
Table 5C
Treatment PairsTumor Volume (Day 21)P Value
Non-ZeroZeroTotal 
5mpk mDX400 8 4 12 1.0000
10mpk CD137 (4-1BB) 8 4 12
Total 16 8 24
Table 5D
Treatment PairsTumor Volume (Day 21)P Value
Non-ZeroZeroTotal 
5mpk mDX400 8 4 12 0.0013
5mpk mDX400+1 0mpk CD137 (4-1BB) 0 12 12
Total 8 16 24
Table 5E
Treatment PairsTumor Volume (Day 21)P Value
Non-ZeroZeroTotal 
10mpk CD137 (4-1BB) 8 4 12 0.0013
5mpk mDX400+1 0mpk CD137 (4-1BB) 0 12 12
Total 8 16 24


[0164] Treatment tolerability was assessed by monitoring animal body weight as shown in Figure 13. There was no significant body weight loss associated with administration of single agents or combination therapy indicating that treatments were well tolerated.

REFERENCES



[0165] 
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[0166] All references cited herein are incorporated by reference to the same extent as if each individual publication, database entry (e.g. Genbank sequences or GeneID entries), patent application, or patent, was specifically and individually indicated to be incorporated by reference. This statement of incorporation by reference is intended by Applicants, pursuant to 37 C.F.R. §1.57(b)(1), to relate to each and every individual publication, database entry (e.g. Genbank sequences or GeneID entries), patent application, or patent, each of which is clearly identified in compliance with 37 C.F.R. §1.57(b)(2), even if such citation is not immediately adjacent to a dedicated statement of incorporation by reference. The inclusion of dedicated statements of incorporation by reference, if any, within the specification does not in any way weaken this general statement of incorporation by reference. Citation of the references herein is not intended as an admission that the reference is pertinent prior art, nor does it constitute any admission as to the contents or date of these publications or documents.

Clauses



[0167] 
  1. 1. A method for treating cancer in an individual comprising administering to the individual a combination therapy which comprises an antagonist of a Programmed Death 1 protein (PD-1) and a 4-1BB agonist, wherein the PD-1 antagonist is an anti-PD-1 monoclonal antibody which comprises a heavy chain and a light chain, wherein the heavy and light chains comprise SEQ ID NO: 21 and SEQ ID NO: 22, respectively; and wherein the 4-1BB agonist is a 4-1BB agonist monoclonal antibody which comprises a heavy chain and a light chain, wherein the heavy and light chains comprise SEQ ID NO: 35 and SEQ ID NO: 36, respectively.
  2. 2. The method of clause 1, wherein, the PD-1 antagonist and the 4-1BB agonist are administered simultaneously or sequentially.
  3. 3. The method of clause 1 or 2, wherein the PD-1 antagonist is administered at a separate time from the 4-1BB agonist.
  4. 4. The method of any of clauses 1 to 3, wherein the PD-1 antagonist is MK-3475 and the 4-1BB agonist is PF-05082566.
  5. 5. The method of any of clauses 1 to 4, wherein MK-3475 is administered at a dose selected from the group consisting of 2 mg/kg q2wk and 10 mg/kg q2wk, and PF-05082566 is administered at a dose selected from the group consisting of 1.2 mg/kg q4wk, 2.4 mg/kg q4wk and 5.0 mg/kg q4wk.
  6. 6. The method of any of clauses 1 to 5, wherein the cancer is a solid tumor.
  7. 7. The method of any of clauses 1 to 5, wherein the cancer is advanced melanoma.
  8. 8. A medicament comprising an antagonist of a Programmed Death 1 protein (PD-1) for use in combination with a 4-1BB agonist for treating cancer in an individual, wherein the PD-1 antagonist is an anti-PD-1 monoclonal antibody which comprises a heavy chain and a light chain, wherein the heavy and light chains comprise SEQ ID NO: 21 and SEQ ID NO: 22, respectively; and wherein the 4-1BB agonist is a 4-1BB agonist monoclonal antibody which comprises a heavy chain and a light chain, wherein the heavy and light chains comprise SEQ ID NO: 35 and SEQ ID NO: 36, respectively.
  9. 9. A medicament comprising a 4-1BB agonist, for use in combination with an antagonist of a Programmed Death 1 protein (PD-1), for treating a cancer in an individual, wherein the PD-1 antagonist is an anti-PD-1 monoclonal antibody which comprises a heavy chain and a light chain, wherein the heavy and light chains comprise SEQ ID NO: 21 and SEQ ID NO: 22, respectively; and wherein the 4-1BB agonist is a 4-1BB agonist monoclonal antibody which comprises a heavy chain and a light chain, wherein the heavy and light chains comprise SEQ ID NO: 35 and SEQ ID NO: 36, respectively.
  10. 10. The medicament of any of clauses 8 to 9, wherein the PD-1 antagonist is formulated as a liquid medicament which comprises 7% (w/v) sucrose, 0.02% (w/v) polysorbate 80 in 10 mM histidine buffer pH 5.5.
  11. 11. The medicament of any of clauses 8 to 10, wherein the cancer is a solid tumor.
  12. 12. The medicament of any of clauses 8 to 11, wherein the cancer tests positive for PD-L 1 expression.
  13. 13. The medicament of any of clauses 8 to 12, wherein the PD-1 antagonist is MK-3475.
  14. 14. The medicament of clause 13, wherein the MK-3475 is formulated as a liquid medicament which comprises 25 mg/ml MK-3475, 7% (w/v) sucrose, 0.02% (w/v) polysorbate 80 in 10 mM histidine buffer pH 5.5.
  15. 15. The medicament of any of clauses 8 to 14, wherein the 4-1BB agonist is PF-05082566.
  16. 16. A kit which comprises a first container, a second container and a package insert, wherein the first container comprises at least one dose of a medicament comprising an antagonist of a Programmed Death 1 protein (PD-1), the second container comprises at least one dose of a medicament comprising a 4-1BB agonist, and the package insert comprises instructions for treating an individual for cancer using the medicaments, wherein the PD-1 antagonist is an anti-PD-1 monoclonal antibody which comprises a heavy chain and a light chain, wherein the heavy and light chains comprise SEQ ID NO: 21 and SEQ ID NO: 22, respectively; and wherein the 4-1BB agonist is a 4-1BB agonist monoclonal antibody which comprises a heavy chain and a light chain, wherein the heavy and light chains comprise SEQ ID NO: 35 and SEQ ID NO: 36, respectively.
  17. 17. The kit of clause 16, wherein the instructions state that the medicaments are intended for use in treating an individual having a cancer that tests positive for PD-L1 expression by an immunohistochemical (IHC) assay.
  18. 18. The method, use or kit of any of clauses 1 to 17, wherein the cancer is bladder cancer, breast cancer, clear cell kidney cancer, head/neck squamous cell carcinoma, lung squamous cell carcinoma, malignant melanoma, non-small-cell lung cancer (NSCLC), ovarian cancer, pancreatic cancer, prostate cancer, renal cell cancer, small-cell lung cancer (SCLC), triple negative breast cancer, acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL), acute myeloid leukemia (AML), chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL), chronic myeloid leukemia (CML), diffuse large B-cell lymphoma (DLBCL), follicular lymphoma, Hodgkin's lymphoma (HL), mantle cell lymphoma (MCL), multiple myeloma (MM), myeloid cell leukemia-1 protein (Mcl-1), myelodysplastic syndrome (MDS), non-Hodgkin's lymphoma (NHL), or small lymphocytic lymphoma (SLL).
  19. 19. The method, use or kit of any of clauses 1 to 17, wherein the cancer is an advanced or metastatic solid tumor that tests positive for PD-L1 expression and is selected from the group consisting of: bladder cancer, breast cancer, clear cell kidney cancer, head/neck squamous cell carcinoma, lung squamous cell carcinoma, malignant melanoma, non-small-cell lung cancer (NSCLC), ovarian cancer, pancreatic cancer, prostate cancer, renal cell cancer, small-cell lung cancer (SCLC), or triple negative breast cancer.
  20. 20. A composition comprising an antagonist anti-PD-1 monoclonal antibody, for use in the treatment of cancer wherein the antagonist anti-PD-1 monoclonal antibody is for separate, sequential or simultaneous use in a combination with an agonist anti-4-1BB monoclonal antibody, and wherein the PD-1 antagonist is an anti-PD-1 monoclonal antibody which comprises a heavy chain and a light chain, wherein the heavy and light chains comprise SEQ ID NO: 21 and SEQ ID NO: 22, respectively; and wherein the 4-1BB agonist is a 4-1BB agonist monoclonal antibody which comprises a heavy chain and a light chain, wherein the heavy and light chains comprise SEQ ID NO: 35 and SEQ ID NO: 36, respectively.
  21. 21. A composition comprising an agonist anti-4-1BB monoclonal antibody, for use in the treatment of cancer wherein the agonist anti-4-1BB monoclonal antibody is for separate, sequential or simultaneous use in a combination with an antagonist anti-PD-1 monoclonal antibody, and wherein the PD-1 antagonist is an anti-PD-1 monoclonal antibody which comprises a heavy chain and a light chain, wherein the heavy and light chains comprise SEQ ID NO: 21 and SEQ ID NO: 22, respectively; and wherein the 4-1BB agonist is a 4-1BB agonist monoclonal antibody which comprises a heavy chain and a light chain, wherein the heavy and light chains comprise SEQ ID NO: 35 and SEQ ID NO: 36, respectively.























































Claims

1. A medicament comprising an antagonist of a Programmed Death 1 protein (PD-1) for use in combination with a 4-1BB agonist for treating cancer in an individual, wherein the PD-1 antagonist is an anti-PD-1 monoclonal antibody which comprises a heavy chain and a light chain, wherein the heavy and light chains comprise SEQ ID NO: 21 and SEQ ID NO: 22, respectively; and wherein the 4-1BB agonist is a 4-1BB agonist monoclonal antibody which comprises a heavy chain and a light chain, wherein the heavy and light chains comprise SEQ ID NO: 35 and SEQ ID NO: 36, respectively, wherein the cancer is a solid tumor.
 
2. A medicament comprising a 4-1BB agonist for use in combination with an antagonist of a Programmed Death 1 protein (PD-1) for treating a cancer in an individual, wherein the PD-1 antagonist is an anti-PD-1 monoclonal antibody which comprises a heavy chain and a light chain, wherein the heavy and light chains comprise SEQ ID NO: 21 and SEQ ID NO: 22, respectively; and wherein the 4-1BB agonist is a 4-1BB agonist monoclonal antibody which comprises a heavy chain and a light chain, wherein the heavy and light chains comprise SEQ ID NO: 35 and SEQ ID NO: 36, respectively, wherein the cancer is a solid tumor.
 
3. The medicament for use according to any one of claims 1 or 2, wherein the PD-1 antagonist is formulated as a liquid medicament which comprises 7% (w/v) sucrose, 0.02% (w/v) polysorbate 80 in 10 mM histidine buffer pH 5.5.
 
4. The medicament for use according to any one of claims 1 to 3, wherein the cancer tests positive for PD-L1 expression.
 
5. The medicament for use according to any one of claims 1 to 4, wherein the PD-1 antagonist is pembrolizumab.
 
6. The medicament for use according to claim 5, wherein the PD-1 antagonist is formulated as a liquid medicament which comprises 25 mg/ml PD-1 antagonist, 7% (w/v) sucrose, 0.02% (w/v) polysorbate 80 in 10 mM histidine buffer pH 5.5.
 
7. The medicament, for use according to any one of claims 1 to 6, wherein the 4-1BB agonist is utomilumab.
 
8. The medicament for use according to any one of claims 1 to 7, wherein the cancer is an advanced or metastatic solid tumor that tests positive for PD-L1.
 
9. The medicament for use according to any one of claims 1 to 8, wherein the antagonist anti-PD-1 monoclonal antibody is for simultaneous use in a combination with the 4-1BB agonist monoclonal antibody.
 
10. The medicament for use according to any one of claims 1 to 9, wherein the 4-1BB agonist monoclonal antibody is for simultaneous use in a combination with the antagonist anti-PD-1 monoclonal antibody.
 
11. The medicament for use according to any one of claims 1 to 8, wherein the antagonist anti-PD-1 monoclonal antibody is for separate or sequential use in a combination with the 4-1BB agonist monoclonal antibody.
 
12. The medicament for use according to any one of claims 1 to 8 and 11, wherein the 4-1BB agonist monoclonal antibody is for separate or sequential use in a combination with the antagonist anti-PD-1 monoclonal antibody.
 
13. The medicament for use according to any one of claims 1 to 8, wherein the PD-1 antagonist is formulated to be administered at a dose selected from the group consisting of 2 mg/kg q2wk and 10 mg/kg q2wk, and wherein the 4-1BB agonist is formulated to be administered at a dose selected from the group consisting of 1.2 mg/kg q2wk, 2.4 mg/kg q4wk, and 5.0 mg/kg q2wk.
 
14. The medicament for use according to claim 8, wherein the cancer is an advanced or metastatic solid tumor that tests positive for PD-L1 expression by an immunohistochemical (IHC) assay.
 
15. The medicament for use according to any one of claims 1 to 8, wherein said the cancer is bladder cancer, breast cancer, clear cell kidney cancer, head/neck squamous cell carcinoma, lung squamous cell carcinoma, malignant melanoma, non small cell lung cancer (NSCLC), ovarian cancer, pancreatic cancer, prostate cancer, renal cell cancer, small-cell lung cancer (SCLC), or triple negative breast cancer.
 




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REFERENCES CITED IN THE DESCRIPTION



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Patent documents cited in the description




Non-patent literature cited in the description