Accelerated Checkpoint Therapy for Any Steroid Dependent Patient With Brain Metastases

Study Purpose

Immunotherapy treatments are intended to boost a person's immune system to fight their cancer. Treatment with immunotherapy has been shown to be effective in a wide range of cancers, including melanoma skin cancer, lung cancer and kidney cancer, among others. Steroids are anti-inflammatory medications which may suppress the immune system. For this reason, persons requiring treatment with steroids have not previously been allowed to participate in immunotherapy clinical trials. Therefore, we do not know whether or not immunotherapy treatments are effective in patients who are also receiving treatment with steroids. When cancer has spread to the brain swelling may occur around the tumors, and headache, nausea, seizures or stroke-like symptoms may occur. In this instance, steroids are important to reduce swelling within the brain, thus alleviating these symptoms. Because patients requiring treatment with steroids have not previously been allowed to participate in immunotherapy clinical trials, we do not know whether treatment with immunotherapy is effective when steroid treatments are also used. This study will investigate this question, and also attempt to determine whether treatment with one steroid versus another results in a better response to immunotherapy.

Recruitment Criteria

Accepts Healthy Volunteers

Healthy volunteers are participants who do not have a disease or condition, or related conditions or symptoms

Study Type

An interventional clinical study is where participants are assigned to receive one or more interventions (or no intervention) so that researchers can evaluate the effects of the interventions on biomedical or health-related outcomes.

An observational clinical study is where participants identified as belonging to study groups are assessed for biomedical or health outcomes.

Searching Both is inclusive of interventional and observational studies.

Eligible Ages 18 Years and Over
Gender All
More Inclusion & Exclusion Criteria

Inclusion Criteria:

1. Patients with the following histologically confirmed diagnoses will be eligible for enrolment: malignant melanoma, non-small cell lung cancer and renal cell carcinoma and genitourinary carcinoma not-otherwise specified. 2. At the time of enrolment patients must have central nervous system metastases requiring corticosteroid therapy and have already started corticosteroid therapy. 3. Patients eligible for treatment with an available, standard-of-care immune checkpoint inhibitor regimen. 4. Patients with extracranial disease will be eligible for enrolment, however the presence of extracranial measurable disease is not a requirement for enrolment. 5. Patients must be 18 years of age or older. 6. Patients must be capable of providing consent to enrolment and willing to comply with study treatment and follow-up. 7. Patients with a performance status of ECOG 0-2 will be eligible for enrolment. 8. Measurable intracranial disease must be present according to RECIST 1.1 criteria. 9. Patients with hyperthyroidism or hypothyroidism but that are stable on hormone replacement will not be excluded. 10. Women of child bearing potential (WOCBP) must have a negative serum (or urine) pregnancy test within 72 hours prior to the first dose of study treatment. WOCBP is defined as any female who has experienced menarche and who has not undergone surgical sterilization (hysterectomy or bilateral oophorectomy or bilateral salpingectomy) and is not postmenopausal. Menopause is defined as 12 months of amenorrhea in a woman over age 45 years in the absence of other biological or physiological causes. 11. Patients of childbearing / reproductive potential should use adequate birth control methods, as defined by the investigator, during the study treatment period and for a period of 30 days after the last dose of study drug. 12. Absence of any condition hampering compliance with the study protocol and follow- up schedule; those conditions should be discussed with the patient before registration in the trial. 13. The following adequate organ function laboratory values must be met: Hematological:
  • - Absolute neutrophil count (ANC) >1.0.
  • - Platelet count >100.
  • - Hemoglobin >90 mg/dL.
  • - Serum creatinine <2x ULN.
  • - Total serum bilirubin <1.5x ULN.
  • - AST and ALT <3x ULN.
  • - International Normalized Ratio (INR) <1.5x ULN (unless patient is receiving anticoagulant therapy as long as PT or PTT is within therapeutic range of intended use of anticoagulants) - Activated Partial Thromboplastin Time (aPTT) <1.5x ULN (unless patient is receiving anticoagulant therapy as long as PT or PTT is within therapeutic range of intended use of anticoagulants)

    Exclusion Criteria:

Known history of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), active Hepatitis B or Hepatitis C. Testing for HIV, HBV or HCV is not mandatory for enrolment to study, but may occur at the discretion of the investigator. 2. Active autoimmune disease that has required systemic treatment in past 2 years (i.e. with use of disease modifying agents, corticosteroids or immunosuppressive drugs). Replacement therapy (e.g. thyroxine, insulin, or physiologic corticosteroid replacement therapy for adrenal or pituitary insufficiency, etc.) is not considered a form of systemic treatment. 3. Patients receiving non-steroid immunosuppressive agents (examples may include anti-TNF biologic agents, methotrexate, mycophenylate mofetil, tacrolimus) will be excluded from this study. 4. Known prior severe hypersensitivity to study drugs or any component in its formulations.

Trial Details

Trial ID:

This trial id was obtained from, a service of the U.S. National Institutes of Health, providing information on publicly and privately supported clinical studies of human participants with locations in all 50 States and in 196 countries.


Phase 1: Studies that emphasize safety and how the drug is metabolized and excreted in humans.

Phase 2: Studies that gather preliminary data on effectiveness (whether the drug works in people who have a certain disease or condition) and additional safety data.

Phase 3: Studies that gather more information about safety and effectiveness by studying different populations and different dosages and by using the drug in combination with other drugs.

Phase 4: Studies occurring after FDA has approved a drug for marketing, efficacy, or optimal use.

Phase 2
Lead Sponsor

The sponsor is the organization or person who oversees the clinical study and is responsible for analyzing the study data.

AHS Cancer Control Alberta
Principal Investigator

The person who is responsible for the scientific and technical direction of the entire clinical study.

Principal Investigator Affiliation N/A
Agency Class

Category of organization(s) involved as sponsor (and collaborator) supporting the trial.

Overall Status Recruiting
Countries Canada

The disease, disorder, syndrome, illness, or injury that is being studied.

Brain Metastases, Adult
Arms & Interventions


Active Comparator: Dexamethasone

Dose starting at 4 mg daily (for patients randomized to the Dexamethasone arm).

Active Comparator: Prednisone

Dose starting at 25 mg/day (a calculation of equipotent steroid equivalencies will be used).


Drug: - Glucocorticoid therapy

The study intervention is defined as treatment with either prednisone or dexamethasone as palliative therapy for the control of neurological symptoms; patients with symptomatic brain metastases with a requirement for glucocorticoid therapy will be treated with an available, standard-of-care immune checkpoint inhibitor regimen.

Contact a Trial Team

If you are interested in learning more about this trial, find the trial site nearest to your location and contact the site coordinator via email or phone. We also strongly recommend that you consult with your healthcare provider about the trials that may interest you and refer to our terms of service below.

International Sites

Cross Cancer Institute, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada




Cross Cancer Institute

Edmonton, Alberta, T6G1Z2

Site Contact

John Walker, MD


Stay Informed & Connected