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Immunotherapy in MSI/dMMR Tumors in Perioperative Setting. (IMHOTEP)

The safety and scientific validity of this study is the responsibility of the study sponsor and investigators. Listing a study does not mean it has been evaluated by the U.S. Federal Government. Read our disclaimer for details. Identifier: NCT04795661
Recruitment Status : Active, not recruiting
First Posted : March 12, 2021
Last Update Posted : July 19, 2023
Information provided by (Responsible Party):
Centre Leon Berard

Brief Summary:

This trial is a multicenter, 4-cohort, prospective, Phase II trial conducted in patients with untreated resectable MSI/dMMR carcinomas or EBV+ gastric cancer and aiming to evaluate the safety and the efficacy of ICI (immune checkpoint inhibitor) as neoadjuvant treatment in these patients.

We hypothesize that immune checkpoint inhibitors (ICPi) will benefit to MSI/dMMR tumors from the early stages, whatever their anatomical origin. We assume that this neoadjuvant treatment would improve the response rate, providing even high rate of pathological complete responses and prolong patients survival.

We anticipated endometrial, colorectal and gastric cancers to be the most frequent recruited and constructed our statistical hypothesis with results in those 3 cancers. However patients with other localized MSI/dMMR tumors could be included.

Condition or disease Intervention/treatment Phase
Localized Resectable Tumor MSI/dMMR or EBV-positive Gastric Cancers Drug: Pembrolizumab Phase 2

Detailed Description:


Pre-operative pembrolizumab will be administered intravenously (IV) over 30 minutes at the dose of 400 mg according to recent summary of product characteristics (SPC). A single dose will be administered 6 weeks before the planned surgery, as close as possible to inclusion, and whenever possible during standard visit (surgery, anesthesia or other).

Surgery will be performed during the 6th week after pembrolizumab injection, as per standard practices.

An adjuvant treatment will be administered upon the Investigator decision, depending on the results and tolerance of pre-operative treatment and ability of the patient to receive the treatment regarding his general post-operative condition.


A total of 160 patients will be enrolled in this study

Sample size was thus evaluated by analogy with an A'Hern's single stage phase II design with P0=25%, P1=50% and 85% power, leading to the inclusion of a maximum of 30 patients by cohort.

A sequential Bayesian design will be used to allow continuous monitoring of the primary endpoint and update knowledge gradually.

For each cohort, interim analyses are planned after 6-week follow up of the first 10 patients (i.e. after surgery) and then every 10 patients.

Early stopping will be recommended if there is a high posterior probability (≥90%) given observed data that the rate of pathological response is lower than 50%.


All the data concerning the patients will be recorded in the electronic case report form (eCRF) throughout the study. Serious adverse event (SAE) and Adverse Event of Specific Interest (AESI) reporting will be also paper-based by e-mail and/or Fax.

The sponsor will perform the study monitoring and will help the investigators to conduct the study in compliance with the clinical trial protocol, Good Clinical Practices (GCP) and local law requirements.

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Study Type : Interventional  (Clinical Trial)
Estimated Enrollment : 160 participants
Allocation: Non-Randomized
Intervention Model: Parallel Assignment
Masking: None (Open Label)
Primary Purpose: Treatment
Official Title: Immunotherapy in MSI/dMMR Tumors in Perioperative Setting.
Actual Study Start Date : October 18, 2021
Estimated Primary Completion Date : November 2023
Estimated Study Completion Date : October 2026

Resource links provided by the National Library of Medicine

Arm Intervention/treatment
Experimental: Cohort Colorectal cancer (CRC)
Pembrolizumab prior to surgery
Drug: Pembrolizumab
Administered intravenous (IV)
Other Name: MK3475 - Keytruda®

Experimental: Cohort Oesogastric cancer
Pembrolizumab prior to surgery
Drug: Pembrolizumab
Administered intravenous (IV)
Other Name: MK3475 - Keytruda®

Experimental: Cohort Endometrial cancer
Pembrolizumab prior to surgery
Drug: Pembrolizumab
Administered intravenous (IV)
Other Name: MK3475 - Keytruda®

Experimental: Cohort Other cancer
Pembrolizumab prior to surgery
Drug: Pembrolizumab
Administered intravenous (IV)
Other Name: MK3475 - Keytruda®

Primary Outcome Measures :
  1. Rate of complete pathological response (pCR) after surgery [ Time Frame: 6 weeks after first injection ]
    A complete pathological response will be defined as 0% viable tumor cells.

Secondary Outcome Measures :
  1. Safety of the perioperative treatment [ Time Frame: 36 Months (over the whole study) ]
    Safety profile, determined using the National Cancer Institute - Common Terminology Criteria for Adverse Event (NCI-CTC AE) grading scale version 5. Adverse events will be described by their intensity and severity

  2. Rate of surgical complications (post-operative morbidity) [ Time Frame: 1 Month after sugery ]
    The rate of surgical complications (post-operative morbidity) will be assessed according to modified Clavien Dindo scoring

  3. Rate of patients with the R0 resection [ Time Frame: 36 Months ]
    Percentage of patients with the R0 resection

  4. Major pathological response rate [ Time Frame: 36 Months ]
    Percentage of patients with major pathological response (≤ 10% residual viable tumor)

  5. Recurrence-free survival (RFS) [ Time Frame: 36 Months ]
    RFS defined as the time from the date of first study treatment administration to the date of first documented recurrence

  6. Overall response rate (ORR) at 4 weeks after the injection of neodjuvant pembrolizumab [ Time Frame: 4 weeks after first study treatment injection ]
    Percentage of patients with objective response at 1 month (complete or partial response) after neoadjuvant pembrolizumab, according to RECIST v1.1.

  7. Rate of second cancer in the Lynch syndrom spectrum [ Time Frame: 36 Months ]
    Percentage of patients with second cancer

  8. The overall survival (OS) [ Time Frame: From 36 months ]
    OS, defined from the date of first study treatment administration to the date of death due to any cause.

  9. Progression-free survival (PFS) after recurrence [ Time Frame: 36 months ]
    PFS, defined from the date of first documented recurrence to the date of documented progression.

  10. Quality of life (QoL) [ Time Frame: Baseline, before surgery and at 5 months post inclusion ]
    QoL, assessed using the EORTC QLQ-C30

  11. The prognostic value of lung immune prognostic index (LIPI) [ Time Frame: 36 months ]

Information from the National Library of Medicine

Choosing to participate in a study is an important personal decision. Talk with your doctor and family members or friends about deciding to join a study. To learn more about this study, you or your doctor may contact the study research staff using the contacts provided below. For general information, Learn About Clinical Studies.

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Ages Eligible for Study:   18 Years and older   (Adult, Older Adult)
Sexes Eligible for Study:   All
Accepts Healthy Volunteers:   No

Inclusion criteria

I1. Age ≥ 18 years on the day of signing informed consent.

I2. Histologically proven localized non-metastatic tumor included in one of the 4 cohorts:

  • Colon or rectal Cancer (cT3/T4 N0 M0 ou cT N+ M0) OR
  • Oesogastric (gastric, gastro-oesophageal or oesophageal) cancer (cT2 to cT4 N M0) OR
  • Endometrial carcinoma (stage III) OR
  • Other tumor types (cT2 to cT4 N M0): biliary tract or pancreas adenocarcinoma, small bowel adenocarcinoma (duodenum, jejunum, ileum).

I3. MSI/dMMR established by immunohistochemistry (IHC) [MMR protein expression] and polymerase chain reaction (PCR) [both techniques are required] and validated by coordinator's team. MMR and/or MSI tumors will be assessed using IHC with four antibodies (anti-MLH1, anti-MSH2, anti-MSH6 and anti-PMS2) and PCR (pentaplex panel is recommended: BAT-25, BAT-26, NR-21, NR-24, and NR-27) prior to screening. Loss of MLH1 and PMS2 / or MSH2 and MSH6 / or MSH6 alone / or PMS2 alone protein staining by IHC indicates dMMR, and tumor with ≥ 2 unstable markers analyzed on PCR proves MSI/dMMR OR EBV-positive gastric cancers. EBV positivity will be assessed by EBER (EBV-encoded small RNAs) in situ hybridization (ISH) (EBER-PNA EnVision flex probe (Dako)). The intensity of staining (weak, moderate or intense) and the percentage of positive cells will be recorded. Cases showing nuclear staining in at least 5% of tumor cells will be considered positive for EBV infection.

I4. Eastern Cooperative Oncology Group (ECOG) Performance Status (PS) 0 to 1 within 7 days prior to the inclusion.

I5. Adequate bone-marrow, hepatic, and renal functions, within 10 days prior to the start of study treatment with:

  • Hemoglobin ≥ 9 g/dl or ≥ 5.6 mmol/l, neutrophils ≥ 1.0 x 109/l, platelets ≥ 100 x 109/l,
  • Creatinine ≤ 1.5 x ULN or calculated creatinine clearance ≥ 50 ml/min/1.73m² using either MDRD or CKD-EPI formula,
  • AST and ALT ≤ 3 x ULN, total bilirubin ≤ 1.5 ULN (or direct bilirubin ≤ ULN for patients with total bilirubin >1.5 × ULN),
  • International normalized ratio (INR) OR prothrombin time (PT) ≤1.5 × ULN unless participant is receiving anticoagulant therapy as long as PT or activated partial thromboplastin time (aPTT) is within therapeutic range of intended use of anticoagulants.

I6. Covered by a medical/health insurance.

I7. Willingness and ability to comply with scheduled visits, treatment plans, laboratory tests, and other study procedures.

I8. Patients of childbearing potential accepting to use effective contraceptive measures or abstain from heterosexual activity, for the course of the study through 4 months after the last dose of pembrolizumab MK-3475 adjuvant treatment or 6 months after adjuvant chemotherapy or being surgically sterile. Refer to Appendix 1 for approved methods of contraception.

I9. Signed and dated IRB/IE approved informed consent form.

Non-inclusion criteria

E1. MSS/pMMR tumors.

E2. Metastatic disease (stage IV).

E3. HIV positive with CD4 count under 400 cells/mm3

E4. Active Hepatitis B virus (HBV), defined by a positive hepatitis B surface antigen [HBsAg] test prior to inclusion and HBV DNA > 2 000 IU/ml, or Hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection(HCV RNA > 103copy/ml and positive anti-HCV antibodies).

E5. Active systemic 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 (eg. thyroxine, insulin) is not considered a form of systemic treatment and is allowed.

E6. Interstitial lung disease.

E7. Prior (non-infectious) pneumonitis requiring systemic corticosteroid therapy or current pneumonitis.

E8. History of severe hypersensitivity to another monoclonal antibody.

E9. Receiving immunosuppressive therapy or having received corticosteroids (in dosing exceeding 10 mg daily of prednisone equivalent) within the last 2 months before inclusion.

E10. Active infections.

E11. Radiotherapy within the 2 weeks before inclusion. Patients must have recovered from all radiation related toxicities, not require corticosteroids, and not have had radiation pneumonitis. A 1-week washout is permitted for palliative radiation (≤ 2 weeks of radiotherapy) to non-CNS disease. - Not applicable

E12. Live vaccine within 30 days prior to the first dose of study drug. Examples of live vaccines include, but are not limited to, the following: measles, mumps, rubella, varicella/zoster (chicken pox), yellow fever, rabies, Bacillus Calmette-Guérin (BCG), and typhoid vaccine. Seasonal influenza vaccines for injection are generally killed virus vaccines and are allowed; however, intranasal influenza vaccines (eg, FluMist®) are live attenuated vaccines and are not allowed.

E13. Known history of active TB (Bacillus Tuberculosis).

E14. Known psychiatric or substance abuse disorders that would interfere with cooperation with the requirements of the study.

E15. Pregnant or breastfeeding woman or patient expecting to conceive or father children within the projected duration of the study, starting with the screening visit through 4 months after the last dose of study treatment.

E16. Patient requiring tutorship or curatorship.

Information from the National Library of Medicine

To learn more about this study, you or your doctor may contact the study research staff using the contact information provided by the sponsor.

Please refer to this study by its identifier (NCT number): NCT04795661

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Sponsors and Collaborators
Centre Leon Berard
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Responsible Party: Centre Leon Berard Identifier: NCT04795661    
Other Study ID Numbers: IMHOTEP (ET20-093)
First Posted: March 12, 2021    Key Record Dates
Last Update Posted: July 19, 2023
Last Verified: July 2023

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Studies a U.S. FDA-regulated Drug Product: No
Studies a U.S. FDA-regulated Device Product: No
Keywords provided by Centre Leon Berard:
MSI/dMMR status
EBV positive gastric cancers
Phase II
Neoadjuvant treatment
Additional relevant MeSH terms:
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Stomach Neoplasms
Gastrointestinal Neoplasms
Digestive System Neoplasms
Neoplasms by Site
Digestive System Diseases
Gastrointestinal Diseases
Stomach Diseases
Antineoplastic Agents, Immunological
Antineoplastic Agents
Immune Checkpoint Inhibitors
Molecular Mechanisms of Pharmacological Action