Bavituximab is a chimeric monoclonal antibody that targets phosphatidylserine (PS). PS is externalized on cells in the tumor microenvironment when exposed to hypoxia and/or other physiological stressors. On attaching to PS, bavituximab is thought to promote antitumor immunity through its effects on PS receptors in monocytes, and myeloid-derived suppressor cells, as well as trigger antitumor effects by inducing an antibody-dependent cellular cytotoxicity on tumor-associated endothelial cells. We conducted a phase I clinical trial of bavituximab in combination with paclitaxel in patients with HER2-negative metastatic breast cancer. Patients were treated with weekly paclitaxel (80 mg/m(2) for 3/4 weeks) and weekly bavituximab (3 mg/kg for 4/4 weeks). Correlative studies included the measurement of circulating microparticles, endothelial cells, and apoptotic tumor cells by flow cytometry. Fourteen patients with metastatic breast cancer were enrolled; all were evaluable for toxicity and 13 were evaluable for response. Treatment resulted in an overall response rate (RR) of 85% with a median progression-free survival (PFS) of 7.3 months. Bone pain, fatigue, headache, and neutropenia were the most common adverse effects. Infusion-related reactions were the most common adverse event related to bavituximab therapy. Correlative studies showed an increase in the PS-expressing apoptotic circulating tumor cells in response to bavituximab, but not with paclitaxel. No changes in the number of circulating endothelial cells or apoptotic endothelial cells were observed with therapy. Platelet and monocyte-derived microparticles decreased after initiation of bavituximab. Bavituximab in combination with paclitaxel is well tolerated for treatment of patients with metastatic breast cancer with promising results observed in terms of clinical RRs and PFS. The toxicity profile of bavituximab is notable for manageable infusion-related reactions with no evidence for increased thrombogenicity. Recent preclinical data suggest that bavituximab can also promote antitumor immune activity that should be explored in future clinical trials.
Keywords: Bavituximab; circulating tumor cells; metastatic breast cancer; microparticles; paclitaxel.
© 2015 The Authors. Cancer Medicine published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd.