Purpose: Surgery often represents the best chance for disease control in locoregionally recurrent squamous cell carcinoma of the head and neck (SCCHN). We investigated dual immune-checkpoint inhibition [anti-PD-1, nivolumab (N), and anti-KIR, lirilumab (L)] before and after salvage surgery to improve disease-free survival (DFS). Patients and Methods: In this phase II study, patients receivedN (240 mg) L (240 mg) 7 to 21 days before surgery, followed by six cycles of adjuvant N L. Primary endpoint was 1-year DFS; secondary endpoints were safety, pre-op radiologic response, and overall survival (OS). Correlatives included tumor sequencing, PDL1 scoring, and immunoprofiling. Results: Among 28 patients, the median age was 66, 86% were smokers; primary site: 9 oral cavity, 9 oropharynx, and 10 larynx/ hypopharynx; 96% had prior radiation. There were no delays to surgery. Grade 3 adverse events: 11%. At the time of surgery, 96% had stable disease radiologically, one had progression. Pathologic response to N L was observed in 43% (12/28): 4/28 (14%) major (tumor viability,TV≤ 10%) and 8/28 (29%) partial (TV ≤ 50%). PDL1 combined positive score (CPS) at surgery was similar regardless of pathologic response (P = 0.71). Thirteen (46%) recurred (locoregional = 10, distant = 3). Five of 28 (18%) had positive margins, 4 later recurred. At median follow-up of 22.8 months, 1-year DFS was 55.2% (95% CI, 34.8-71.7) and 1-year OS was 85.7% (95% CI, 66.3-94.4). Two-year DFS and OS were 64% and 80% among pathologic responders. Conclusions: (Neo)adjuvantN L was well tolerated, with a 43% pathologic response rate. We observed favorable DFS and excellent 2-year OS among high-risk, previously treated patients exhibiting a pathologic response. Further evaluation of this strategy is warranted.
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