Agilent Technologies Inc. (NYSE: A) today announced that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved its Dako PD-L1 IHC 22C3 pharmDx assay for expanded use in urothelial carcinoma.

The assay is now approved to identify patients with urothelial carcinoma who may benefit from KEYTRUDA, an anti-PD-1 therapy manufactured by Merck (known as MSD outside the United States and Canada), as a first-line treatment option. KEYTRUDA is approved for patients with locally advanced or metastatic urothelial carcinoma who are not eligible for cisplatin-containing chemotherapy and whose tumors express PD-L1 [Combined Positive Score (CPS) ≥ 10] as determined by an FDA-approved test, or in patients who are not eligible for any platinum-containing chemotherapy regardless of PD-L1 status.

PD-L1 IHC 22C3 pharmDx is the only FDA-approved companion diagnostic to identify patients with urothelial carcinoma for treatment with KEYTRUDA. This follows previous FDA approvals for PD-L1 IHC 22C3 pharmDx in non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC), gastric or gastroesophageal junction (GEJ) adenocarcinoma, and cervical cancer.

"Anti-PD-1 therapies are a promising treatment class for many cancer types, and early PD-L1 testing can provide critical information to physicians managing urothelial carcinoma patients," said Sam Raha, president of Agilent's Diagnostics and Genomics Group. "By expanding the use of PD-L1 IHC 22C3 pharmDx, Agilent strives to address the unmet need for treatment options in patients who are ineligible for cisplatin-containing chemotherapy. Through these efforts, we maintain our commitment to bringing companion diagnostics to the market in support of groundbreaking immuno-oncology therapeutics."

Urothelial carcinoma is the fifth most common cancer in the United States, with an estimated incidence of 81,000 new cases in 2018 alone.1  For patients with advanced/metastatic urothelial carcinoma, cancer-related mortality has not improved in the past 30 years and the five-year survival rate is approximately 15%.2 Additionally, age- and disease-associated comorbidities affect patient eligibility for standard cisplatin-containing chemotherapy.3-5 For patients ineligible for cisplatin-containing chemotherapy, there is a significant unmet need for new, effective treatments.3,4

KEYTRUDA is a humanized monoclonal antibody that increases the ability of the body's immune system to help detect and fight tumor cells. KEYTRUDA blocks the interaction between PD-1 and its ligands, PD-L1 and PD-L2, thereby activating T lymphocytes, which may affect both tumor cells and healthy cells. KEYTRUDA and other targeted immunotherapies are revolutionizing cancer treatment, and their therapeutic value is being demonstrated across a growing list of cancer types.

Agilent is a worldwide leader in partnering with pharmaceutical companies to develop immunohistochemical-based diagnostics for cancer therapy. Agilent developed PD-L1 IHC 22C3 pharmDx in partnership with Merck PD-L1 IHC 22C3 pharmDx also helps physicians identify NSCLC, cervical cancer, and gastric or GEJ adenocarcinoma patients for treatment with KEYTRUDA. PD-L1 expression in urothelial carcinoma, cervical cancer, and gastric or GEJ adenocarcinoma tissues is interpreted using Combined Positive Score (CPS). PD-L1 expression in NSCLC tissues is interpreted using Tumor Proportion Score (TPS).

References: (1.) Noone AM, Howlader N, Krapcho M, Miller D, Brest A, Yu M, Ruhl J, Tatalovich Z, Mariotto A, Lewis DR, Chen HS, Feuer EJ, Cronin KA, eds. SEER Cancer Statistics Review, 1975-2015. National Cancer Institute. November 2017 SEER data submission. Published April 2018. Accessed August 16, 2018. (2.) Gupta S, Gill D, Poole A, Agarwal N. Systemic immunotherapy for urothelial cancer: current trends and future directions. Cancers. 2017;9(15):1-14. (3.). Bellmunt J, Mottet N, De Santis M. Urothelial carcinoma management in elderly or unfit patients. EJC Suppl. 2016;14(1):1-20. (4.) Balar AV, Castellano D, O'Donnell PH, et al. First-line pembrolizumab in cisplatin-ineligible patients with locally advanced and unresectable or metastatic urothelial cancer (KEYNOTE-052): A multicentre, single-arm, phase 2 study. Lancet. 2017;18(11):1483-1492. (5.) Galsky MD, Hahn NM, Rosenberg J, et al. Treatment of patients with metastatic urothelial cancer "unfit" for cisplatin-based chemotherapy. J Clin Oncol. 2011;29(17):2432-2438.