Although most patients with epithelial ovarian cancer respond to frontline platinum-based chemotherapy, around 70% will relapse within 3 years. The phase 3 JAVELIN Ovarian 100 trial compared avelumab (anti-PD-L1 monoclonal antibody) in combination with chemotherapy followed by avelumab maintenance, or chemotherapy followed by avelumab maintenance, versus chemotherapy alone in patients with treatment-naive epithelial ovarian cancer.
JAVELIN Ovarian 100 was a global, open-label, three-arm, parallel, randomised, phase 3 trial run at 159 hospitals and cancer treatment centres in 25 countries. Eligible women were aged 18 years and older with stage III-IV epithelial ovarian, fallopian tube, or peritoneal cancer (following debulking surgery, or candidates for neoadjuvant chemotherapy), and had an Eastern Cooperative Oncology Group performance status of 0 or 1. Patients were randomly assigned (1:1:1) via interactive response technology to receive chemotherapy (six cycles; carboplatin dosed at an area under the serum-concentration-time curve of 5 or 6 intravenously every 3 weeks plus paclitaxel 175 mg/m every 3 weeks or 80 mg/m once a week [investigators’ choice]) followed by avelumab maintenance (10 mg/kg intravenously every 2 weeks; avelumab maintenance group); chemotherapy plus avelumab (10 mg/kg intravenously every 3 weeks) followed by avelumab maintenance (avelumab combination group); or chemotherapy followed by observation (control group). Randomisation was in permuted blocks of size six and stratified by paclitaxel regimen and resection status. Patients and investigators were masked to assignment to the two chemotherapy groups without avelumab at the time of randomisation until completion of the chemotherapy phase. The primary endpoint was progression-free survival assessed by blinded independent central review in all randomly assigned patients (analysed by intention to treat). Safety was analysed in all patients who received at least one dose of study treatment. This trial is registered with, NCT02718417. The trial was fully enrolled and terminated at interim analysis due to futility, and efficacy is no longer being assessed.
Between May 19, 2016 and Jan 23, 2018, 998 patients were randomly assigned (avelumab maintenance n=332, avelumab combination n=331, and control n=335). At the planned interim analysis (data cutoff Sept 7, 2018), prespecified futility boundaries were crossed for the progression-free survival analysis, and the trial was stopped as recommended by the independent data monitoring committee and endorsed by the protocol steering committee. Median follow-up for progression-free survival for all patients was 10·8 months (IQR 7·1-14·9); 11·1 months (7·0-15·3) for the avelumab maintenance group, 11·0 months (7·4-14·5) for the avelumab combination group, and 10·2 months (6·7-14·0) for the control group. Median progression-free survival was 16·8 months (95% CI 13·5-not estimable [NE]) with avelumab maintenance, 18·1 months (14·8-NE) with avelumab combination treatment, and NE (18·2 months-NE) with control treatment. The stratified hazard ratio for progression-free survival was 1·43 (95% CI 1·05-1·95; one-sided p=0·99) with the avelumab maintenance regimen and 1·14 (0·83-1·56; one-sided p=0·79) with the avelumab combination regimen, versus control treatment. The most common grade 3-4 adverse events were anaemia (69 [21%] patients in the avelumab maintenance group, 63 [19%] in the avelumab combination group, and 53 [16%] in the control group), neutropenia (91 [28%], 99 [30%], and 88 [26%]), and neutrophil count decrease (49 [15%], 45 [14%], and 59 [18%]). Serious adverse events of any grade occurred in 92 (28%) patients in the avelumab maintenance group, 118 (36%) in the avelumab combination group, and 64 (19%) in the control group. Treatment-related deaths occurred in one (<1%) patient in the avelumab maintenance group (due to atrial fibrillation) and one (<1%) patient in the avelumab combination group (due to disease progression).
Although no new safety signals were observed, results do not support the use of avelumab in the frontline treatment setting. Alternative treatment regimens are needed to improve outcomes in patients with advanced epithelial ovarian cancer.
Pfizer and Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany.

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