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Crit Care Med. 2019 May;47(5):632-642. doi: 10.1097/CCM.0000000000003685.

Immune Checkpoint Inhibition in Sepsis: A Phase 1b Randomized, Placebo-Controlled, Single Ascending Dose Study of Antiprogrammed Cell Death-Ligand 1 Antibody (BMS-936559).

Author information

1
Department of Anesthesiology, Washington University School of Medicine, St Louis, MO.
2
Department of Anesthesiology, Innovative Medicines Development, Bristol-Myers Squibb, Princeton, NJ.
3
Veterans Affairs Pittsburgh Healthcare System, Pittsburgh, PA.
4
The CRISMA Center, Department of Critical Care Medicine, University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, Pittsburgh, PA.
5
Department of Surgery, University of Florida College of Medicine, Gainesville, FL.
6
Department of Medicine, The Ohio State University, Columbus, OH.
7
Department of Medicine, Division of Pulmonary, Allergy, Critical Care & Sleep Medicine, Emory University, Atlanta, GA.
8
Department of Surgery and Emory Critical Care Center, Emory University, Atlanta, GA.
9
Department of Surgery, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI.

Abstract

OBJECTIVES:

To assess for the first time the safety and pharmacokinetics of an antiprogrammed cell death-ligand 1 immune checkpoint inhibitor (BMS-936559; Bristol-Myers Squibb, Princeton, NJ) and its effect on immune biomarkers in participants with sepsis-associated immunosuppression.

DESIGN:

Randomized, placebo-controlled, dose-escalation.

SETTING:

Seven U.S. hospital ICUs.

STUDY POPULATION:

Twenty-four participants with sepsis, organ dysfunction (hypotension, acute respiratory failure, and/or acute renal injury), and absolute lymphocyte count less than or equal to 1,100 cells/μL.

INTERVENTIONS:

Participants received single-dose BMS-936559 (10-900 mg; n = 20) or placebo (n = 4) infusions. Primary endpoints were death and adverse events; key secondary endpoints included receptor occupancy and monocyte human leukocyte antigen-DR levels.

MEASUREMENTS AND MAIN RESULTS:

The treated group was older (median 62 yr treated pooled vs 46 yr placebo), and a greater percentage had more than 2 organ dysfunctions (55% treated pooled vs 25% placebo); other baseline characteristics were comparable. Overall mortality was 25% (10 mg dose: 2/4; 30 mg: 2/4; 100 mg: 1/4; 300 mg: 1/4; 900 mg: 0/4; placebo: 0/4). All participants had adverse events (75% grade 1-2). Seventeen percent had a serious adverse event (3/20 treated pooled, 1/4 placebo), with none deemed drug-related. Adverse events that were potentially immune-related occurred in 54% of participants; most were grade 1-2, none required corticosteroids, and none were deemed drug-related. No significant changes in cytokine levels were observed. Full receptor occupancy was achieved for 28 days after BMS-936559 (900 mg). At the two highest doses, an apparent increase in monocyte human leukocyte antigen-DR expression (> 5,000 monoclonal antibodies/cell) was observed and persisted beyond 28 days.

CONCLUSIONS:

In this first clinical evaluation of programmed cell death protein-1/programmed cell death-ligand 1 pathway inhibition in sepsis, BMS-936559 was well tolerated, with no evidence of drug-induced hypercytokinemia or cytokine storm, and at higher doses, some indication of restored immune status over 28 days. Further randomized trials on programmed cell death protein-1/programmed cell death-ligand 1 pathway inhibition are needed to evaluate its clinical safety and efficacy in patients with sepsis.

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