Background: Tumour necrosis factor-alpha (TNF-alpha) is an important regulator of the chronic inflammation contributing to tumour progression. Infliximab, an anti-TNF-alpha monoclonal antibody was investigated in this trial of patients with advanced cancer. The primary objectives were to determine the safety profile and biological response of infliximab in a cancer population. Clinical response was a secondary objective.
Patients and methods: Forty-one patients received infliximab at 5 mg/kg (n = 21) or 10 mg/kg (n = 20) i.v. at 0 and 2 weeks and then every 4 weeks. Post-treatment samples were measured for changes in plasma and serum TNF-alpha, CCL2, IL-6 and C-reactive protein (CRP).
Results: Infliximab was well tolerated with no dose-limiting toxic effects. At both doses of infliximab, neutralisation of serum TNF-alpha was observed after 1 h while plasma CCL2, IL-6 and serum CRP were decreased 24 and 48 h following infliximab administration. Seven patients experienced disease stablisation (range 10-50+ weeks). There was no evidence of disease acceleration in any patient.
Conclusions: Infliximab treatment was safe and well tolerated in patients with advanced cancer. There was evidence of biological activity with baseline TNF-alpha and CCL2 being correlated with infliximab response.