A Phase III Randomized, Placebo-Controlled Study of Pembrolizumab (MK-3475, NSC #776864) in Addition to Paclitaxel and Carboplatin for Measurable Stage III or IVA, Stage IVB or Recurrent Endometrial Cancer


This phase III trial studies how well the combination of pembrolizumab, paclitaxel and carboplatin works compared with paclitaxel and carboplatin alone in treating patients with endometrial cancer that is stage III or IV, or has come back (recurrent). Immunotherapy with monoclonal antibodies, such as pembrolizumab, may help the body's immune system attack the cancer, and may interfere with the ability of tumor cells to grow and spread. Paclitaxel and carboplatin are chemotherapy drugs used as part of the usual treatment approach for this type of cancer. This study aims to assess if adding immunotherapy to these drugs is better or worse than the usual approach for treatment of this cancer.

Study Arms

  • Active Comparator: Arm I (placebo, paclitaxel, carboplatin)
  • Experimental: Arm II (pembrolizumab, paclitaxel, carboplatin)


  • Measurable stage III, measurable stage IVA, stage IVB (with or without measurable disease) or recurrent (with or without measurable disease) endometrial cancer.
  • Pathology report showing results of institutional MMR IHC testing.
  • Histologic confirmation of the original primary tumor is required (submission of pathology report(s) is required). Patients with the following histologic types are eligible: Endometrioid adenocarcinoma, serous adenocarcinoma, dedifferentiated/undifferentiated carcinoma, clear cell adenocarcinoma, mixed epithelial carcinoma, adenocarcinoma not otherwise specified (N.O.S.).
  • Submission of tumor specimens for centralized MMR IHC testing is required after Step 1 and before Step 2 registration.
  • In patients with measurable disease (stage III and IVA), lesions will be defined and monitored by RECIST version (v) 1.1. Measurable disease is defined as at least one lesion that can be accurately measured in at least one dimension (longest diameter to be recorded). Each lesion must be >= 10 mm when measured by computed tomography (CT) or magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). Lymph nodes must be >= 15 mm in short axis when measured by CT or MRI.
  • Patients may have received:
    • NO prior chemotherapy for treatment of endometrial cancer OR
    • Prior adjuvant chemotherapy (e.g., paclitaxel/carboplatin alone or as a component of concurrent chemotherapy and radiation therapy [with or without cisplatin]) provided adjuvant chemotherapy was completed >= 12 months prior to STEP 1 registration.
  • Patients may have received prior radiation therapy for treatment of endometrial cancer. Prior radiation therapy may have included pelvic radiation therapy, extended field pelvic/para aortic radiation therapy, and/or intravaginal brachytherapy. All radiation therapy must be completed at least 4 weeks prior to STEP 1 registration.
  • Patients may have received prior hormonal therapy for treatment of endometrial cancer. All hormonal therapy must be discontinued at least three weeks prior to STEP 1 registration.
  • Performance status of 0, 1 or 2.
  • Platelets >= 100,000/mcl.
  • Absolute neutrophil count (ANC) >= 1,500/mcl.
  • Creatinine =< 1.5 x institutional/laboratory upper limit of normal (ULN).
  • Total serum bilirubin level =< 1.5 x upper limit of normal (ULN) (patients with known Gilbert's disease who have bilirubin level =< 3 x ULN may be enrolled).
  • Aspartate aminotransferase (AST) and alanine aminotransferase (ALT) =< 3 x ULN.
  • Thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH) within normal limits (TSH < ULN allowed in euthyroid patients on thyroid replacement therapy).
  • Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)-infected patients on effective anti-retroviral therapy with undetectable viral load within 6 months of Step 1 registration are eligible for this trial.
  • For patients of child bearing potential: negative urine or serum pregnancy test within 72 hours prior to Step 2 registration. If the urine test is positive or cannot be confirmed as negative, a serum pregnancy test is required.
  • Administration of study drugs (pembrolizumab, paclitaxel, carboplatin) may have an adverse effect on pregnancy and poses a risk to the human fetus, including embryo-lethality. Women of childbearing potential (WOCBP) must agree to use adequate contraception (hormonal or barrier method of birth control; abstinence) from up to 14 days prior to Step 2 registration (for oral contraceptives), during treatment, and for 120 days after the last dose of study medication. Should a woman become pregnant or suspect she is pregnant while she is participating in this study, she should inform her treating physician immediately. Patients will be considered of nonreproductive potential if they are either:
    • Postmenopausal (defined as at least 12 months with no menses without an alternative medical cause; in women < 45 years of age, a high follicle stimulating hormone (FSH) level in the postmenopausal range may be used to confirm a postmenopausal state in women not using hormonal contraception or hormonal replacement therapy. In the absence of 12 months of amenorrhea, a single FSH measurement is insufficient); OR
    • Have a hysterectomy and/or bilateral oophorectomy, bilateral salpingectomy or bilateral tubal ligation/occlusion, at least 6 weeks prior to Step 2 registration; OR
    • Have a congenital or acquired condition that prevents childbearing.
  • Patients with a prior or concurrent malignancy whose natural history or treatment does not have the potential to interfere with the safety or efficacy assessment of the investigational regimen are eligible for this trial.