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Background: The incidence of hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC), a leading cause of cancer death, is increasing with the increasing incidence of chronic liver disease. Sorafenib, the only approved systemic therapy for advanced HCC, provides modest improvement in overall survival. Preclinical studies suggest c-Met is a valid target in HCC, but non-selective TKIs with c-Met inhibitory activity have not shown efficacy in trials, possibly due to lack of c-Met inhibition. Tepotinib (MSC2156119J) is a highly selective c-Met inhibitor that has favorable safety and promising activity, particularly against c-Met+ solid tumors. We report the final results of a phase Ib trial of tepotinib in patients (pts) with advanced HCC.
Methods: Pts were Asian adults with confirmed HCC of BCLC Stage C, Child-Pugh Class A liver function without encephalopathy, and ECOG PS 0–2. Pts received tepotinib 300, 500 (the RP2D) or 1,000 mg/day on a 21-day cycle. c-Met expression status was retrospectively determined by IHC.
Results: 27 pts were enrolled (median age 57 [38-69]; male 23; ECOG PS 0/1 11/16); 7 received tepotinib 300 mg/day, 14 500 mg/day, and 6 1,000 mg/day (3 with dose reduction). No DLTs were observed. 22 pts experienced treatment-related treatment-emergent adverse events (TRTEAEs), most commonly diarrhea (n = 10), nausea (8), elevated AST (7), and elevated ALT (6). 9 pts had grade ≥3 TRTEAEs, including elevated AST (3) and elevated ALT (3). Best overall response (BOR) was partial response (PR) in 2 pts, one of whom received tepotinib 500 mg (response duration 16.1 months) and one 1,000 mg (4.4 months); both had c-Met+ tumors. A further 8 pts had a BOR of stable disease (SD), 1 pt non-complete response (CR)/non-progressive disease (PD), and 14 pts had PD (2 pts not evaluable). Five pts had progression free survival > 8 months. PK were as expected from previous studies.
Conclusions: Tepotinib at doses of up to 1,000 mg/day was well tolerated by Asian pts with advanced HCC and a maximum tolerated dose was not reached. Antitumor activity was observed, particularly in pts with c-Met+ tumors. The ongoing phase II part of this study is comparing the efficacy and safety of first-line tepotinib and sorafenib in pts with c-Met+ HCC.