Bavencio – News – Merck Global | Merck global

18 Sep 2020 | Darmstadt, Germany
Not intended for US-, Canada- and UK-based media

Darmstadt, Germany, and New York, US, September 18, 2020 – Merck and Pfizer Inc. (NYSE: PFE) today announced the publication of detailed results from the Phase III JAVELIN Bladder 100 study online ahead of print in The New England Journal of Medicine. These results were published simultaneously with additional analyses being presented at the European Society for Medical Oncology (ESMO) Virtual Congress 2020 and describe the efficacy of BAVENCIO® (avelumab) as a first-line maintenance treatment across various subgroups of patients with locally advanced or metastatic urothelial carcinoma (UC) and highlight exploratory biomarkers as well as patient-reported outcomes. In June, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved BAVENCIO for the maintenance treatment of patients with locally advanced or metastatic UC that has not progressed with first-line platinum-containing chemotherapy based on the JAVELIN Bladder 100 results.

In the JAVELIN Bladder 100 study, BAVENCIO plus best supportive care (BSC) significantly extended overall survival (OS) compared with BSC alone in the two primary populations of all randomized patients and patients whose tumors were PD-L1+, and significantly more patients who received BAVENCIO as first-line maintenance were alive at one year.1 The clinical benefits of BAVENCIO were seen across a range of patient populations.1,2

“These data, which supported the recent FDA approval and updates to NCCN and ESMO guidelines, establish that BAVENCIO first-line maintenance treatment could fundamentally change clinical practice for the treatment of patients with locally advanced or metastatic urothelial carcinoma,” said Thomas Powles, MBBS, MRCP, MD, Professor of Genitourinary Oncology, Lead for Solid Tumour Research at Barts Cancer Institute, Queen Mary University of London, and Director of Barts Cancer Centre, London, UK. “It is notable that the longer overall survival with BAVENCIO maintenance therapy was observed across all pre-specified subgroups examined and that this prolonged overall survival was gained without a detrimental impact on patients’ quality of life.”

Primary Analysis

In the JAVELIN Bladder 100 study, OS was significantly longer with BAVENCIO plus BSC compared to BSC alone in the primary population of all randomized patients (n=700) whose disease had not progressed on first-line platinum-containing chemotherapy:

  • Median OS was 21.4 months (95% CI, 18.9 to 26.1) vs 14.3 months (95% CI, 12.9 to 17.9), respectively (HR 0.69; 95% CI, 0.56 to 0.86; P<0.001).1
  • At one year, 71.3% of patients (95% CI, 66.0% to 76.0%) in the BAVENCIO arm were alive vs 58.4% (95% CI, 52.7% to 63.7%) of patients who received BSC alone.1

In the other primary population of patients with PD-L1+ tumors (n=358):

  • OS was also significantly longer with BAVENCIO plus BSC vs BSC alone (HR 0.56; 95% CI, 0.40 to 0.79; P<0.001).1
  • At one year, 79.1% (95% CI, 72.1% to 84.5%) of patients who received BAVENCIO were alive vs 60.4% (95% CI, 52.0% to 67.7%) in the BSC arm.1

All endpoints were measured from the time of randomization, after completion of four to six cycles of chemotherapy.

Subgroup Analysis

Results of an exploratory subgroup analysis show that consistent results were observed with the JAVELIN Bladder regimen of BAVENCIO first-line maintenance across pre-specified subgroups, including best response to first-line chemotherapy, type of chemotherapy regimen, site of baseline metastasis, and other baseline factors.1 In particular, hazard ratios for OS based on response to first-line chemotherapy were as follows:

  • 0.69 for complete or partial response
  • 0.70 for stable disease

With regard to first-line chemotherapy regimen, hazard ratios were as follows:

  • 0.69 with gemcitabine plus cisplatin
  • 0.66 with gemcitabine plus carboplatin

Further detail from the subgroup analysis were presented in an on-demand mini oral session at the meeting (Presentation #704MO). Additional data evaluating the association between clinical outcomes and exploratory biomarkers will be presented in the Proffered Paper 1 – GU, non prostate session on Saturday, September 19 (Presentation #699O), and patient-reported outcomes are featured in an on-demand e-poster display (Presentation #745P).

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No new safety signals were identified in the JAVELIN Bladder 100 study, and the safety profile was consistent with previous studies of BAVENCIO monotherapy.1 Treatment-related adverse events of grade 3 or higher occurred in 57 patients (16.6%) treated with BAVENCIO plus BSC; no grade 3 or higher treatment-related events occurred in the control arm.1 No grade 4 or fatal immune-related adverse events occurred.1 Investigators attributed two patient deaths in the BAVENCIO plus BSC arm (0.6%), due to sepsis and ischemic stroke, to study treatment toxicity.1

JAVELIN Bladder 100

JAVELIN Bladder 100 (NCT02603432) is a Phase III, multicenter, multinational, randomized, open-label, parallel-arm study investigating first-line maintenance treatment with BAVENCIO plus BSC versus BSC alone in patients with locally advanced or metastatic UC. The primary endpoint was OS in the two primary populations of all patients and patients with PD-L1+ tumors defined by the Ventana SP263 assay. Secondary endpoints included progression-free survival, anti-tumor activity, safety, pharmacokinetics, immunogenicity, predictive biomarkers and patient-reported outcomes in the co-primary populations. All primary and secondary endpoints are measured from the time of randomization.

Urothelial Carcinoma

Bladder cancer is the tenth most common cancer worldwide.4 In 2018, there were over half a million new cases of bladder cancer diagnosed, with around 200,000 deaths from the disease globally.4 In the US, an estimated 80,470 cases of bladder cancer were diagnosed in 2019, with around 12,500 locally advanced or metastatic cases presented annually.5,6 UC, which accounts for about 90% of all bladder cancers,7 becomes harder to treat as it advances, spreading through the layers of the bladder wall.8 Only 25% to 55% of patients receive any second-line therapy after first-line chemotherapy9-15 In the US and EU5 markets, approximately 40% to 50% of patients receive an immune checkpoint inhibitor in second-line therapy.3 For patients with advanced UC, the five-year survival rate is 5%.5

BAVENCIO® (avelumab)

BAVENCIO is a human anti-programmed death ligand-1 (PD-L1) antibody. BAVENCIO has been shown in preclinical models to engage both the adaptive and innate immune functions. By blocking the interaction of PD-L1 with PD-1 receptors, BAVENCIO has been shown to release the suppression of the T cell-mediated antitumor immune response in preclinical models.16-18 In November 2014, Merck and Pfizer announced a strategic alliance to co-develop and co-commercialize BAVENCIO.

BAVENCIO Approved Indications

The European Commission (EC) has authorized the use of BAVENCIO in combination with axitinib for the first-line treatment of adult patients with advanced renal cell carcinoma (RCC). BAVENCIO is also authorized by the EC for use as a monotherapy for the treatment of adult patients with metastatic Merkel cell carcinoma (MCC).

In the US, BAVENCIO® (avelumab) is indicated for the maintenance treatment of patients with locally advanced or metastatic urothelial carcinoma (UC) that has not progressed with first-line platinum-containing chemotherapy. BAVENCIO is also indicated for the treatment of patients with locally advanced or metastatic urothelial carcinoma who have disease progression during or following platinum-containing chemotherapy, or have disease progression within 12 months of neoadjuvant or adjuvant treatment with platinum-containing chemotherapy.

BAVENCIO in combination with axitinib is indicated in the US for the first-line treatment of patients with advanced renal cell carcinoma (RCC). Additionally, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) granted accelerated approval for avelumab (BAVENCIO®) for the treatment of adults and pediatric patients 12 years and older with metastatic Merkel cell carcinoma (MCC). This indication is approved under accelerated approval based on tumor response rate and duration of response. Continued approval for this indication may be contingent upon verification and description of clinical benefit in confirmatory trials.

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BAVENCIO is currently approved for patients with MCC in 50 countries globally, with the majority of these approvals in a broad indication that is not limited to a specific line of treatment.

BAVENCIO Safety Profile from the EU Summary of Product Characteristics (SmPC)

The special warnings and precautions for use for BAVENCIO monotherapy include infusion-related reactions, as well as immune-related adverse reactions that include pneumonitis and hepatitis (including fatal cases), colitis, pancreatitis (including fatal cases), myocarditis (including fatal cases), endocrinopathies, nephritis and renal dysfunction, and other immune-related adverse reactions. The special warnings and precautions for use for BAVENCIO in combination with axitinib include hepatotoxicity.

The SmPC list of the most common adverse reactions with BAVENCIO monotherapy in patients with solid tumors includes fatigue, nausea, diarrhea, decreased appetite, constipation, infusion-related reactions, weight decreased and vomiting. The list of most common adverse reactions with BAVENCIO in combination with axitinib includes diarrhea, hypertension, fatigue, nausea, dysphonia, decreased appetite, hypothyroidism, cough, headache, dyspnea, and arthralgia.


1.    Powles T, Park SH, Voog E, et al. Avelumab maintenance therapy for advanced or metastatic urothelial cancer. N Engl J Med. 2020. [Epub ahead of print]. DOI: 10.1056/NEJMoa2002788.

2.    Grivas P, Park SE, Voog E, et al. Avelumab 1L maintenance + best supportive care (BSC) vs BSC alone with 1L chemotherapy for advanced urothelial carcinoma: subgroup analyses from JAVELIN Bladder 100. Presented at ESMO 2020.

3.    Kantar Health. CANCERMPACT – treatment architecture. Accessed September 2020

4.    Bray F, et al. Global cancer statistics 2018: GLOBOCAN estimates of incidence and mortality worldwide for 36 cancers in 185 countries. CA: A Cancer Journal. 2018;68(6):394-424.   

5.    SEER. Cancer stat facts: bladder cancer. Accessed September 2020.

6.    Galsky M, et al. Cisplatin ineligibility for patients with metastatic urothelial carcinoma: a survey of clinical practice perspectives among US oncologists. Bladder Cancer. 2019;5:281-288.

7. Bladder cancer: introduction. Accessed September 2020.

8.    American Cancer Society. What is bladder cancer? Accessed September 2020.

9.    Cheeseman S, et al. Current treatment and outcomes benchmark for locally advanced or metastatic urothelial cancer from a large UK-based single centre. Front Oncol. 2020;10:167.

10.  Aly A, et al. Overall survival, costs, and healthcare resource use by line of therapy in Medicare patients with newly diagnosed metastatic urothelial carcinoma. J Med Econ 2019;22:662-670.

11.  Galsky MD, et al. Real-world effectiveness of chemotherapy in elderly patients with metastatic bladder cancer in the United States. Bladder Cancer. 2018;4(2):227-238.

12.  Fisher MD, et al. Treatment patterns and outcomes in stage IV bladder cancer in a community oncology setting: 2008-2015. Clin Genitourin Cancer 2018;16:e1171-e1179.

13.  Niegisch G, et al. A real-world data study to evaluate treatment patterns, clinical characteristics and survival outcomes for first- and second-line treatment in locally advanced and metastatic urothelial cancer patients in Germany. J Cancer. 2018;9(8):1337-1348.

14.  Flannery K, et al. Outcomes in patients with metastatic bladder cancer in the USA: a retrospective electronic medical record study. Future Oncol. 2019;15:1323-1334.

15.  Simeone JC, et al. Treatment patterns and overall survival in metastatic urothelial carcinoma in a real-world, US setting. Cancer Epidemiol 2019;60:121-127.

16.  Dolan DE, Gupta S. PD-1 pathway inhibitors: changing the landscape of cancer immunotherapy. Cancer Control. 2014;21(3):231-237.

17.  Dahan R, Sega E, Engelhardt J, et al. FcγRs modulate the anti-tumor activity of antibodies targeting the PD-1/PD-L1 axis. Cancer Cell. 2015;28(3):285-295.

18.  Boyerinas B, Jochems C, Fantini M, et al. Antibody-dependent cellular cytotoxicity activity of a novel anti-PD-L1 antibody avelumab (MSB0010718C) on human tumor cells. Cancer Immunol Res. 2015;3(10):1148-1157.

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