Immune Modulation by Abemaciclib in HNSCC. (AIM Trial)

  • End date
    Jun 30, 2024
  • participants needed
  • sponsor
    University of Arizona
Updated on 12 March 2022


This is a randomized, parallel, open label Phase II single-arm window trial to assess the clinical and biological effects of neoadjuvant abemaciclib in patients with HPV-negative head and neck squamous cell carcinoma (HNSCC).


This is a randomized, parallel, open label Phase II single-arm window trial to assess the clinical and biological effects of 10-21 days of neoadjuvant abemaciclib in patients with HPV-negative HNSCC who are planned for oncologic surgery, with pre-clinically informed genetic and immune biomarker correlatives.

In the window-of-opportunity clinical trial, patients planned for oncologic surgery are briefly exposed to a novel cancer agent(s) in the window between diagnostic biopsy and definitive surgery. Paired, pre- and post-surgical tumor specimens permit ex vivo analysis of target modulation in both tumor and the tumor microenvironment - providing insight into mechanism of action and paving the way for rigorous companion biomarker development. Clinical activity is assessed by quantitative change in tumor size (∆T), which is correlated to hypothesis-driven genomic and immune biomarkers of interest.

Investigators hypothesize that abemaciclib will significantly reduce tumor burden as measured by ∆T. Further, investigators will test the primary biomarker hypothesis that the clinical activity of abemaciclib is associated with an increased proportion of tumors that are T-cell inflamed. Investigators will evaluate tumor-intrinsic, tumor microenvironment (TME), and microbiome biomarker hypotheses in specific genetic contexts, including tumors with specific classes of tumor protein 53 (TP53) mutations, p16 loss, and/or CCND1 amplification.

Condition HNSCC
Treatment Abemaciclib, Abemaciclib plus nivolumab
Clinical Study IdentifierNCT04169074
SponsorUniversity of Arizona
Last Modified on12 March 2022


Yes No Not Sure

Inclusion Criteria

Cytologic or histologic diagnosis of squamous cell carcinoma of the oral cavity, p16-negative oropharynx, hypopharynx, or larynx
Tumors must be HPV-negative. For eligibility, tumors of the oral cavity, hypopharynx, or larynx will be considered HPV-negative without specialized testing. Tumors of the oropharynx must be HPV-negative as determined by p16 immunohistochemistry and/or HPV-DNA per local standard
Clinical stage I-IVa based upon the American Joint Committee on Cancer (AJCC) staging manual, 8th edition
Appropriate and planned for oncologic resection of the primary tumor and/or neck dissection
Clinically or radiologically measurable disease; the primary tumor and/or cervical nodes may be measurable according to RECIST 1.1 (tumor diameter ≥ 1 cm; short-axis lymph node diameter ≥ 1.5 cm) OR by caliper/ruler measurement (tumor diameter ≥ 1 cm)
No prior treatment for the index (study-qualifying) HNSCC
Patients with two simultaneous primary tumors or bilateral tumors are included
The index HNSCC may be a second primary HNSCC, provided the following criteria are
The previously treated HNSCC was treated with curative intent. b. The index HNSCC is at least 1 cm from the previously treated HNSCC. c. At least 2 years have elapsed since curative treatment of the previous HNSCC without evidence for recurrence
Eastern Cooperative Oncology Group (ECOG) performance status 0-1. (See Appendix 1.)
Adequate hematologic function, as defined by
Absolute neutrophil count (ANC) ≥ 1,500/µl b. Platelets ≥ 100,000/µl c. Hemoglobin ≥ 8 g/dL
Adequate liver function, as defined by
Bilirubin ≤ 1.5 x institutional upper limit of normal (ULN). Patients with Gilbert's syndrome with a total bilirubin ≤ 2.0 x ULN and direct bilirubin within normal limits are permitted
aspartate aminotransferase (AST) and alanine aminotransferase (ALT) ≤ 3 x ULN
Adequate renal function, as defined by creatinine ≤ 1.5 x ULN
Able to swallow oral medications
Have signed written informed consent
Consent to biomarker collection requirements, including mandatory baseline and intra-operative research biopsies of the index tumor

Exclusion Criteria

Prior treatment with any cyclin-dependent kinase (CDK) 4/6 inhibitor or anti-programmed death (PD)-1/L1 inhibitor is not allowed
Current or prior use of immunosuppressive medication within 14 days before the first dose of their assigned protocol treatment. The following are exceptions to this criterion unless otherwise indicated
Intranasal, inhaled, or topical steroids, or local steroid injections (eg, intra articular injection)
Systemic corticosteroids at physiologic doses not to exceed 10 mg/day of prednisone or its equivalent
Steroids as premedication for hypersensitivity reactions (eg, CT premedication) and/or as anti-emetics
Active or previously documented autoimmune or inflammatory disorders (including
inflammatory bowel disease [eg, colitis, Crohn's disease], diverticulitis
Patients with vitiligo or alopecia
[with the exception of diverticulosis], systemic lupus erythematosus
Patients with hypothyroidism (eg, following Hashimoto syndrome) stable on hormone replacement. Subclinical hypothyroidism (eg. Elevated thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH), low or normal free T4, and asymptomatic) observed on screening labs is not an exclusion
sarcoidosis syndrome, Wegener syndrome [granulomatosis with polyangiitis]
Any chronic skin condition that does not require systemic therapy
Graves' disease, rheumatoid arthritis, hypophysitis, uveitis, etc.). The
Patients without active disease in the last 5 years may be included but only after consultation with the study PI
following are exceptions to this
Patients with celiac disease controlled by diet alone
Patient has a personal history of any of the following cardiac or pulmonary
Syncope of cardiovascular etiology
Ventricular arrhythmia of pathologic origin (including, but limited to, ventricular tachycardia and ventricular fibrillation)
Sudden cardiac arrest
Documented history of New York Heart Association functional classification III-IV congestive heart failure
Current unstable angina pectoris
Interstitial lung disease
Severe dyspnea at rest or requiring oxygen therapy
Patients who require the chronic administration of drugs that are strong and moderate inducers of Cytochrome P450, family 3, subfamily A, (CYP3A) and/or strong inhibitors of CYP3A, and no acceptable substitute can be identified, are not eligible for study (See Appendix 2). Such drugs should be discontinued at least 7 days before the start of study treatment
Myocardial infarction ≤ 6 months prior to enrollment
The patient has active bacterial infection (requiring intravenous [IV] antibiotics at time of initiating study treatment), fungal infection, or detectable viral infection (such as known human immunodeficiency virus positivity or known active hepatitis B or C [e.g. hepatitis B surface antigen positive or hepatitis C antibody positive with detectable viral load]). Screening for HIV or hepatitis is not required for enrollment
Patient with any other condition that would, in the Investigator's judgment, preclude patient's participation in the clinical study due to safety concerns or compliance with clinical study procedures, e.g. social/psychological complications
Pregnant or nursing (lactating) women
Patient who does not apply highly effective contraception during the study and through the duration as defined below after the final dose of study treatment
Patient with impaired gastrointestinal (GI) function or GI disease that may
Sexually active males should use a condom during intercourse while taking abemaciclib and for 4 weeks after the final dose of abemaciclib
significantly alter the absorption of oral abemaciclib (e.g. history of major
Males who are sexually active with a woman of child-bearing potential should apply highly effective contraception during the study as defined below, in order not to father a child in this period
surgical resection involving the stomach or small bowel, malabsorption
Women of child-bearing potential (WOCBP), defined as all women physiologically capable of becoming pregnant, must use highly effective contraception during the study and through at least 3 weeks after the final dose of abemaciclib. Highly effective contraception is defined as
syndrome, preexisting Crohn's disease or ulcerative colitis, preexisting
Total abstinence: When this is in line with the preferred and usual lifestyle of the subject. [Periodic abstinence (e.g., calendar, ovulation, symptothermal, postovulation methods) and withdrawal are not acceptable methods of contraception]
chronic condition resulting in baseline Grade 2 or higher diarrhea)
ii. Female sterilization: have had surgical bilateral oophorectomy (with or without
hysterectomy) or tubal ligation at least six weeks before taking study treatment
iii. Male partner sterilization (with the appropriate post-vasectomy documentation of the
absence of sperm in the ejaculate). [For female study subjects, the vasectomized male
partner should be the sole partner for that patient.] iv. Use a combination of the
following (both 1+2)
Placement of an intrauterine device (IUD) or intrauterine system (IUS) 2. Barrier
methods of contraception: Condom or Occlusive cap (diaphragm or cervical/vault caps) with
spermicidal foam/gel/film/cream/vaginal suppository
v. Note: Hormonal contraception methods (e.g. oral, injected, and implanted) are not
allowed as abemaciclib may decrease the effectiveness of hormonal contraceptives
vi. Note: Women are considered post-menopausal and not of child-bearing potential if they
have had 12 months of natural (spontaneous) amenorrhea with an appropriate clinical profile
(e.g. age appropriate, history of vasomotor symptoms) or have had surgical bilateral
oophorectomy (with or without hysterectomy) at least six weeks ago
Prisoners or subjects who are compulsorily detained (involuntarily incarcerated) for
treatment of either a psychiatric or physical (e.g., infectious) illness
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