This is a Phase I/Ib, open-label, safety, and pharmacodynamics study of pembrolizumab in
combination with vorinostat in patients with advanced renal or urothelial cell carcinoma.
This clinical study will be composed of a Dose Finding Phase and an Expansion Phase. The
Dose Finding Phase will estimate the Recommended Phase II Dose (RP2D) in patients with
advanced renal and urothelial cell carcinoma patients. The Dose Finding Phase will lead to
the identification of an Expansion Test Dose for pembrolizumab in combination with
vorinostat. The Expansion Test Dose will be the Recommended Phase II Dose (RP2D) (i.e. the
highest tested dose that is declared safe and tolerable by the Investigators and Sponsor).
Patients will be treated with oral vorinostat every day for 14 days, and with pembrolizumab
at the fixed dose of 200 mg IV. Each cycle is every 21 days. Two dose levels of vorinostat
will be tested in 2-patient cohorts according to the 3 + 3 standard design (100 mg and 200
mg). 200 mg dose represents 50% of the recommended vorinostat dose as single agent.
For the Dose Finding Phase (Combination Phase), the starting dose level of vorinostat will
be 100 mg by mouth (PO) every day for 14 days, with 7 days break. The first dose level will
have a minimum of 3 patients treated (unless the first 2 patients experience dose-limiting
toxicities (DLTs) before the 3rd patient is enrolled).
Once the RP2D is identified, the Dose Expansion Phase will be opened. During the Dose
Expansion Phase, the study will have a run-in phase with sequential single-agents and then
the combination phase. The reason for the run-in phase during dose expansion is to obtain
data on the immunomodulatory effects of vorinostat separately from pembrolizumab. Thirty
patients with prior treatments will be enrolled in two expansion cohorts: 15 anti-PD1 naive
patients and 15 anti-PD1 resistant patients (defined as patients with transient clinical
response or without clinical response to prior immune-checkpoint inhibition).
All subjects must have previously treated either locally advanced or metastatic renal or
urothelial cell carcinoma to be eligible for participation.
Subject Inclusion Criteria
In order to be eligible for participation in this trial, the subject must:
1. Be willing and able to provide written informed consent for the trial.
2. Be 18 years of age jor older on day of signing informed consent.
3. Have measurable disease based on RECIST 1.1.
4. Have a performance status of 0-2 on the ECOG Performance Scale.
5. Demonstrate adequate organ function. All screening labs should be performed within 10
days of treatment initiation.
6. Female subject of childbearing potential should have a negative urine or serum
pregnancy test within 72 hours prior to receiving the first dose of study medication.
If the urine test is positive or cannot be confirmed as negative, a serum pregnancy
test will be required.
7. Subjects of childbearing potential should be willing to use 2 methods of
contraception for the course of the study through 120 days after the last dose of
study medication. Acceptable methods of birth control include: abstinence, partner
with previous vasectomy, placement of an intrauterine device (IUD), condom with
spermicidal foam/gel/film/cream/suppository, diaphragm or cervical vault cap, or
hormonal birth control (pills or injections). NOTE: Females are considered of
childbearing potential unless they are surgically sterile (they have undergone a
hysterectomy, bilateral tubal ligation, or bilateral oophorectomy) or they are
postmenopausal (a woman who is ≥45 years of age and has not had menses for greater
than 1 year).
8. Male subjects without a previous vasectomy should agree to use an adequate method of
contraception (i.e. abstinence, condom with spermicidal foam/gel/film/cream) starting
with the first dose of study therapy through 120 days after the last dose of study
9. Subjects have archival tumor tissue available or are willing to undergo a baseline
biopsy prior to treatment.
10. Subjects with urothelial carcinoma must be platinum-resistant (i.e., treatment-free
interval 6< months)
11. Subjects with a history of diabetes mellitus must have HgbA1c level of _<7% upon
Subject Exclusion Criteria
The subject must be excluded from participating in the trial if the subject:
1. Is currently participating and receiving study therapy or has participated in a study
of an investigational agent and received study therapy or used an investigational
device within 4 weeks of the first dose of treatment.
2. Has a diagnosis of immunodeficiency or is receiving systemic steroid therapy or any
other form of immunosuppressive therapy within 7 days prior to the first dose of
3. Has active TB (Bacillus Tuberculosis)
4. Hypersensitivity to pembrolizumab or any of its excipients.
5. Has had a prior anti-cancer monoclonal antibody (mAb) within 4 weeks prior to Cycle 1
Day 1 or who has not recovered (i.e. ≤ Grade 1 or at baseline) from adverse events
due to agents administered more than 4 weeks earlier.
6. Has had prior chemotherapy, targeted small molecule therapy, or radiation therapy
within 2 weeks prior to Cycle 1 Day 1 or who has not recovered (i.e. ≤ Grade 1 or at
baseline) from adverse events due to a previously administered agent.
- Note: Subjects with ≤ Grade 2 neuropathy are an exception to this criterion and
may qualify for the study.
- Note: If subject received major surgery, they must have recovered adequately
from the toxicity and/or complications from the intervention prior to starting
7. Has a known additional malignancy that is progressing or requires active treatment.
Exceptions include basal cell carcinoma of the skin or squamous cell carcinoma of the
skin that has undergone potentially curative therapy or in situ cervical cancer.
8. Has known active central nervous system (CNS) metastases and/or carcinomatous
meningitis. Subjects with previously treated brain metastases may participate
provided they are stable (without evidence of progression by imaging for at least
four weeks prior to the first dose of trial treatment and any neurologic symptoms
have returned to baseline), have no evidence of new or enlarging brain metastases,
and are not using steroids for at least 7 days prior to trial treatment. This
exception does not include carcinomatous meningitis which is excluded regardless of
9. Has active autoimmune disease that has required systemic treatment in the past 2
years (i.e. with use of disease modifying agents, corticosteroids or
immunosuppressive drugs). Replacement therapy (e.g. thyroxine, insulin, or
physiologic corticosteroid replacement therapy for adrenal or pituitary
insufficiency, etc.) is not considered a form of systemic treatment.
10. Has known history of, or any evidence of active, non-infectious pneumonitis.
11. Has an active infection requiring systemic therapy.
12. Has a history or current evidence of any condition, therapy, or laboratory
abnormality that might confound the results of the trial, interfere with the
subject's participation for the full duration of the trial, or is not in the best
interest of the subject to participate, in the opinion of the treating investigator.
13. Has known psychiatric or substance abuse disorders that would interfere with
cooperation with the requirements of the trial.
14. Is pregnant or breastfeeding, or expecting to conceive or father children within the
projected duration of the trial, starting with the pre-screening or screening visit
through 120 days after the last dose of trial treatment.
15. Has received prior therapy with an anti-PD-1, anti-PD-L1, or anti-PD-L2 agent (only
16. Has a known history of Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) (HIV 1/2 antibodies).
17. Has known active Hepatitis B (e.g. HBsAg reactive) or Hepatitis C (e.g. HCV RNA
[qualitative] is detected).
18. Has received a live vaccine within 30 days of planned start of study therapy.