NBI-3001 is a novel immunotoxin of attenuated Pseudomonas exotoxin fused to circularly permutated IL-4, which has shown some antitumor effects in glioblastoma multiforme with intratumoral administration. The authors evaluated the safety and tolerability of NBI-3001 administered intravenously in a dose-escalation design to patients with renal cell and non-small cell lung carcinoma whose tumors showed at least 10% IL-4 receptor expression. Cohorts of three to six patients were treated at dose levels of 0.008, 0.016, and 0.027 mg/m2 daily x 5 days every 28 days. Neutralizing antibody (NAB) titers, plasma levels of NBI-3001, and patient tolerability were monitored sequentially. 14 patients received a total of 36 cycles of NBI-3001 (range 1-6). No dose-limiting toxicities were noted at dose levels 0.008 and 0.016 mg/m2. At 0.027 mg/m2, two patients developed self-limiting, grade 3 or 4 transaminase elevation during cycle 1. NAB titers of more than 1:100 were detected in five of the seven patients treated with at least two cycles; the median titer after cycle 1 and the median maximum titer in subsequent cycles were 1:50 and approximately 1:1,710, respectively. No objective tumor responses were noted. Eight of 12 evaluable patients with renal cell carcinoma had stable disease; four patients had disease progression. High NAB titers resulted in four patients being withdrawn from the study. The dose-limiting toxicity for intravenous NBI-3001 was transaminase elevation at 0.027 mg/m2. NBI-3001 at 0.016 mg/m2 was well tolerated. Low circulating levels of NBI-3001, coupled with rising NAB titers, may have contributed to the lack of response in tumors that express IL-4R.