Rindopepimut (Rintega®) is an investigational immunotherapy that targets the tumor specific oncogene EGFRvIII (v3), a functional and permanently activated variant of the epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR), a protein that has been well validated as a target for cancer therapy. Expression of EGFRvIII correlates with increased tumorigenicity in mouse models and poor long term survival in clinical studies of patients with glioblastoma (GBM). In addition, EGFRvIII-positive cells are believed to stimulate proliferation of non-EGFRvIII cells through IL-6 cell-to-cell signaling and to release microvesicles containing EGFRvIII, which can merge with neighboring cells, transferring tumor-promoting activity. EGFRvIII expression may also be associated with tumor stem cells that have been identified in GBM. These stem cells contribute to resistance to cytotoxic therapy and tumor recurrence. EGFRvIII is expressed in tumors in about 30% of patients with GBM. It has not been detected at a significant level in normal tissues; therefore, targeting of this tumor-specific molecule is not likely to impact healthy tissues.
Three Phase 2 trials of rindopepimut—ACTIVATE, ACT II, and ACT III—have been completed in newly diagnosed EGFRvIII-positive GBM and have shown consistent improvements in both overall survival and median progression-free survival. The most common adverse events for rindopepimut include injection site reactions, fatigue, rash, nausea and pruritus. Rindopepimut is currently being studied in two clinical trials in EGFRvIII-positive GBM—an international Phase 3 study called ACT IV in newly diagnosed GBM and a Phase 2 study called ReACT in recurrent GBM.