The aim of the present phase I first-in-human study was to investigate the safety/efficacy of dTCApFs (a novel hormone peptide that enters cells through the T1/ST2 receptor), in advanced/metastatic solid tumors. The primary objective of this open-label dose-escalation study was to determine the safety profile of dTCApFs. The study enrolled patients (aged ≥18 years) with pathologically confirmed locally advanced/metastatic solid malignancies, who experienced treatment failure or were unable to tolerate previous standard therapy. The study included 17 patients (64% male; median age, 65 years; 47% colorectal cancer, 29% pancreatic cancer). The patients received 1-3 cycles of escalating dTCApFs doses (6-96 mg/m2). The mean number ± standard deviation of treatment cycles/patient was 3.2±1.4; no dose-limiting toxicities were observed up to a dose of 96 mg/m2, and the maximum tolerated dose was not reached. Half-life, maximal plasma concentration, and dTCApFs exposure were found to be linearly correlated with dose. Five patients were treated for ≥3 months (12, 24, 48 mg/m2) and experienced stable disease throughout the treatment period, and 1 experienced pathological complete response. Analysis of serum biomarkers revealed decreased levels of angiogenic factors at dTCApFs concentrations of 12-48 mg/m2, increased levels of anticancer cytokines, and induction of the endoplasmic reticulum (ER) stress biomarker GRP78/BiP. Efficacy and biomarker data suggest that patients whose tumors were T1/ST2-positive exhibited a better response to dTCApFs. In conclusion, dTCApFs was found to be safe/well-tolerated, and potentially efficacious, with linear pharmacokinetics. Consistent with preclinical studies, the mechanism through which dTCApFs exerts anticancer effects appears to involve induction of ER stress, suppression of angiogenesis, and activation of the innate immune response. However, further studies are warranted.
Keywords: T1/ST2; dTCApFs; metastatic cancer; phase 1; solid tumor.