for people ages 18 years and up (full criteria)
at Orange, California and other locations
study started
completion around
Principal Investigator
by Krishnansu Tewari
Headshot of Krishnansu Tewari
Krishnansu Tewari



TAK-981 is being tested in combination with pembrolizumab to treat participants who have select advanced or metastatic solid tumors.

The study aims are to evaluate the safety, tolerability, and preliminary efficacy of TAK-981 in combination with pembrolizumab.

Participants will be on this combination treatment for 21-day cycles. They will continue with this treatment for up to 24 months or until participants meet any discontinuation criteria.

Official Title

A Phase 1b/2 Study of TAK-981 Plus Pembrolizumab to Evaluate the Safety, Tolerability, and Antitumor Activity of the Combination in Patients With Select Advanced or Metastatic Solid Tumors


The drug being tested in this study is called TAK-981. TAK-981 is being tested to treat people who have select advanced or metastatic solid tumors. The study will include a dose escalation phase and a dose expansion phase.

The study will enroll approximately 231 participants, approximately 32 participants in the dose escalation phase 1 and approximately 76 to 199 participants in the 8 cohorts of dose expansion phase 2. Participants will receive escalating doses of TAK-981 and fixed dose of pembrolizumab until recommended phase 2 dose (RP2D) is determined:

• Dose Escalation: TAK-981 + Pembrolizumab (Fixed Dose)

Once Phase 2 doses are identified, participants of select advanced or metastatic solid tumors will receive TAK-981 in below defined cohorts in the expansion phase 2:

  • Dose Expansion Phase: Cohort A: Non-squamous Non-small Cell Lung Cancer (NSCLC)
  • Dose Expansion Phase: Cohort B: Cervical Cancer
  • Dose Expansion Phase: Cohort C: Microsatellite Stable Colorectal Cancer (MSS-CRC)
  • Dose Expansion Phase: Cohort D: Cutaneous Melanoma
  • Dose Expansion Phase: Cohort E: Squamous NSCLC
  • Dose Expansion Phase: Cohort F: Checkpoint Inhibitors (CPI) Refractory Squamous or Nonsquamous NSCLC

This multi-center trial will be conducted worldwide. The overall time to participate in this study is 60 months. Participants will make multiple visits to the clinic, and progression-free survival follow-up for maximum up to 12 months after last dose of study drug.


Advanced or Metastatic Solid Tumors, Drug Therapy, Neoplasms, Pembrolizumab, TAK-981


You can join if…

Open to people ages 18 years and up

  1. Has a histologically or cytologically documented, advanced (metastatic and/or unresectable) cancer as listed below that is incurable: Note: Prior neoadjuvant or adjuvant therapy included in initial treatment may not be considered first- or later-line standard of care treatment unless such treatments were completed less than 12 months prior to the current tumor recurrence.
    1. Non-squamous NSCLC for which prior standard first-line treatment containing an anti-programmed cell death protein 1/programmed cell death protein 1 ligand (PD-1/PD-L1) checkpoint inhibitor (CPI) alone or in combination has failed and that has progressed on no more than 1 prior systemic therapy. In Phase 2, participants with nonsquamous NSCLC must have not received more than 1 prior systemic therapy and must not have presented with disease progression during the first 6 months of treatment with first-line CPI/anti-PD-(1/L1)-containing therapy.

    Note: In Phase 1, participants with nonsquamous NSCLC and known driver mutations/genomic aberrations (e.g., epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR), B-Raf proto-oncogene mutation V600E [BRAF V600E], and ROS proto-oncogene 1 [ROS1] sensitizing mutations, neurotrophic receptor tyrosine kinase [NRTK] gene fusions, and anaplastic lymphoma kinase [ALK] rearrangements) must have also shown progressive disease after treatment with a commercially available targeted therapy. In Phase 2, participants with driver mutations are not eligible.

    1. CPI-naive cervical cancer (squamous cell carcinoma, adenosquamous carcinoma or adenocarcinoma of the cervix) participants for whom prior standard first-line treatment has failed and who have received no more than 1 prior systemic line of therapy for recurrent or Stage IVB cervical cancer. Note: The following cervical tumors are not eligible: minimal deviation/adenoma malignum, gastric-type adenocarcinoma, clear-cell carcinoma, and mesonephric carcinoma. Histologic confirmation of the original primary tumor is required via pathology report. Note: First-line treatment must have consisted of platinum-containing doublet. Chemotherapy administered concurrently with primary radiation (e.g., weekly cisplatin) is not counted as a systemic chemotherapy regimen.
    2. CPI-naïve microsatellite stable-colorectal cancer (MSS-CRC) participants for whom prior standard first-line treatment has failed and who have progressed on no more than 3 chemotherapy regimens.

    Note: Participants must have received prior treatment with fluoropyrimidine-, oxaliplatin-, and irinotecan-containing regimens if indicated.

    1. Unresectable Stage III or Stage IV cutaneous melanoma that has not received prior therapy in the metastatic setting.

    Note: Participants with acral melanoma are not eligible. Participants who have presented with disease relapse after ≥6 months of the last dose of CPI or BRAF-mitogen-activated protein kinase kinase (MEK) inhibitor in the adjuvant setting are eligible.

    1. Squamous NSCLC for which prior standard first-line treatment containing an anti-PD-(1/L1) checkpoint inhibitor alone or in combination has failed. Participant must have not received more than 1 prior systemic therapy and must not have presented with disease progression during the first 6 months of treatment with first-line CPI/anti-PD-(1/L1)-containing therapy.
    2. Squamous or nonsquamous NSCLC for which prior standard first-line treatment containing an anti-PD-(1/L1) checkpoint inhibitor alone or in combination has failed within 6 months from the initiation of the CPI. Participants must not have received more than 1 prior systemic therapy in the metastatic setting.

    Note: Participants with driver mutations are not eligible.

  2. Has at least 1 radiologically measurable lesion based on RECIST, Version 1.1. Tumor lesions situated in a previously irradiated area are considered measurable if progression has been demonstrated in such lesions.
  3. Has a performance status of 0 or 1 on the Eastern Cooperative Group Oncology (ECOG) Performance Scale.
  4. Has left ventricular ejection fraction (LVEF) ≥40%; as measured by echocardiogram (ECHO) or multiple-gated acquisition (MUGA) scan.
  5. Has recovered to Grade 1 or baseline from all toxicity associated with previous therapy or have the toxicity established as sequela. Note: Has a neuropathy ≤Grade 2, any grade alopecia, or autoimmune endocrinopathies with stable replacement therapy are permitted.
  6. Demonstrate adequate organ function as described below:

    A. Platelet count ≥75.0 × 10^9/L. B. Absolute neutrophil count (ANC) ≥1.0 × 10^9/L. C. Hemoglobin ≥85 g/L (red blood cell [RBC] transfusion allowed ≥14 days before assessment). D. Calculated creatinine clearance ≥30 mL/min using the Cockcroft-Gault formula. E. Aspartate aminotransferase (AST, GOT) and alanine aminotransferase (ALT, GPT) ≤3.0 times the upper limit of normal (ULN), <5.0 times the ULN if liver enzyme elevations are due to liver metastases; bilirubin ≤1.5 times the ULN. Participants with Gilbert's syndrome may have a bilirubin level >1.5 times the ULN, per discussion between the investigator and the medical monitor.

You CAN'T join if...

  1. History of uncontrolled brain metastasis (evidence of progression by imaging over a period of 4 weeks and/or neurologic symptoms that have not returned to baseline). Participant with treated brain metastases are allowed provided they are radiologically stable, without evidence of progression for at least 4 weeks by repeat imaging, clinically stable, and without requirement of steroid treatment for at least 14 days prior to first dose of study treatment. Note: For asymptomatic participants, screening brain imaging is not required.
  2. Second malignancy within the previous 3 years, except treated basal cell or localized squamous skin carcinomas, localized prostate cancer, cervical carcinoma in situ, resected colorectal adenomatous polyps, breast cancer in situ, or other malignancy for which the participant is not on active anticancer therapy.
  3. Major surgery ≤14 days from the first dose of study drug and not recovered fully from any complications from surgery.
  4. History of immune-related AEs related to treatment with immune CPIs that required treatment discontinuation.
  5. Receiving or requires the continued use of medications that are known to be strong or moderate inhibitors and inducers of cytochrome P-450 (CYP) 3A4/5 and strong P-glycoprotein (Pgp) inhibitors.
  6. Baseline prolongation of the QT interval corrected using Fridericia's formula (QTcF) (e.g., repeated demonstration of QTcF interval >480 milliseconds (ms), history of congenital long QT syndrome, or torsades de pointes).
  7. Has a history of autoimmune disease requiring systemic immunosuppressive therapy with daily doses of prednisone >10 mg/day or equivalent doses, or any other form of immunosuppressive therapy. Hormone replacement therapy (e.g., thyroxine, insulin, or physiologic corticosteroid replacement therapy for thyroid, adrenal or pituitary insufficiency) for endocrinopathies are not considered prohibited forms of systemic treatment of an autoimmune disease.
  8. Has a history of noninfectious pneumonitis that required steroids or a history of interstitial lung disease.
  9. Has an evidence of active, non-infectious pneumonitis.

    10. Has a history of allogeneic tissue or solid organ transplant. 11. Has an active infection requiring systemic therapy. 12. Has a known history of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection or any other

    relevant congenital or acquired immunodeficiency.

    13. Has a known hepatitis B virus surface antigen seropositive or detectable hepatitis C

    infection viral load. Note: Participants who have positive hepatitis B core antibody or hepatitis B surface antigen antibody can be enrolled but must have an undetectable hepatitis B viral load.

    14. History of any of the following ≤6 months before first dose: congestive heart failure

    New York Heart Association Grade III or IV, unstable angina, myocardial infarction, unstable symptomatic ischemic heart disease, uncontrolled hypertension despite appropriate medical therapy, ongoing symptomatic cardiac arrhythmias >Grade 2, pulmonary embolism or symptomatic cerebrovascular events, or any other serious cardiac condition (e.g., pericardial effusion or restrictive cardiomyopathy). Chronic atrial fibrillation on stable anticoagulant therapy is allowed.

    15. Psychiatric illness/social circumstances that would limit compliance with study

    requirements and substantially increase the risk of AEs or has compromised ability to provide written informed consent.


  • University of California Irvine Medical Center accepting new patients
    Orange California 92868 United States
  • HonorHealth accepting new patients
    Scottsdale Arizona 85258 United States

Lead Scientist at UC Irvine

  • Krishnansu Tewari
    Professor, Obstetrics and Gynecology, School of Medicine. Authored (or co-authored) 231 research publications


accepting new patients
Start Date
Completion Date
Phase 1/2 research study
Study Type
Expecting 231 study participants
Last Updated