Background: The impact of stroma-targeting therapy on tumor immune suppression is largely unexplored. An RNA oligonucleotide, STNM01, has been shown to repress carbohydrate sulfotransferase 15 (CHST15) responsible for tumor proteoglycan synthesis and matrix remodeling. This phase I/IIa study aimed to evaluate the safety and efficacy of STNM01 in patients with unresectable pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC). Methods: This was an open-label, dose-escalation study of STNM01 as second-line therapy in gemcitabine plus nab-paclitaxel-refractory PDAC. A cycle comprised three 2-weekly endoscopic ultrasound-guided locoregional injections of STNM01 at doses of 250, 1,000, 2,500, or 10,000 nM in combination with S-1 (80–120 mg twice a day for 14 days every 3 weeks). The primary outcome was the incidence of dose-liming toxicity (DLT). The secondary outcomes included overall survival (OS), tumor response, changes in tumor microenvironment on immunohistopathology, and safety (jRCT2031190055). Findings: A total of 22 patients were enrolled, and 3 cycles were repeated at maximum; no DLT was observed. The median OS was 7.8 months. The disease control rate was 77.3%; 1 patient showed complete disappearance of visible lesions in the pancreas and tumor-draining lymph nodes. Higher tumoral CHST15 expression was associated with poor CD3+ and CD8+ T cell infiltration at baseline. STNM01 led to a significant reduction in CHST15, and increased tumor-infiltrating CD3+ and CD8+ T cells in combination with S-1 at the end of cycle 1. Higher fold increase in CD3+ T cells correlated with longer OS. There were 8 grade 3 adverse events. Interpretation: Locoregional injection of STNM01 was well tolerated in patients with unresectable PDAC as combined second-line therapy. It prolonged survival by enhancing T cell infiltration in tumor microenvironment. Funding: The present study was supported by the Japan Agency for Medical Research and Development ( AMED).
- Carbohydrate sulfotransferase 15 (CHST15)
- Endoscopic ultrasound-guided fine needle injection
- Tumor-infiltrating CD3+ and CD8+ T cells
- Unresectable pancreatic cancer
ASJC Scopus subject areas