First-in-human phase I/Ib open-label dose-escalation study of GWN323 (anti-GITR) as a single agent and in combination with spartalizumab (anti-PD-1) in patients with advanced solid tumors and lymphomas

J Immunother Cancer. 2021 Aug;9(8):e002863. doi: 10.1136/jitc-2021-002863.


Background: GWN323 is an IgG1 monoclonal antibody (mAb) against the glucocorticoid-induced tumor necrosis factor receptor-related protein. This first-in-human, open-label phase I/Ib study aimed to investigate the safety and tolerability and to identify the recommended doses of GWN323 with/without spartalizumab, an anti-programmed cell death receptor-1 agent, for future studies. Pharmacokinetics, preliminary efficacy and efficacy biomarkers were also assessed.

Methods: Patients (aged ≥18 years) with advanced/metastatic solid tumors with Eastern Cooperative Oncology Group performance status of ≤2 were included. GWN323 (10-1500 mg) or GWN323+spartalizumab (GWN323 10-750 mg+spartalizumab 100-300 mg) were administered intravenously at various dose levels and schedules during the dose-escalation phase. Dose-limiting toxicities (DLTs) were assessed during the first 21 days in a single-agent arm and 42 days in a combination arm. Adverse events (AEs) were graded per National Cancer Institute-Common Toxicity Criteria for Adverse Events V.4.03 and efficacy was assessed using Response Evaluation Criteria in Solid Tumors V.1.1.

Results: Overall, 92 patients (single-agent, n=39; combination, n=53) were included. The maximum administered doses (MADs) in the single-agent and combination arms were GWN323 1500 mg every 3 weeks (q3w) and GWN323 750 mg+spartalizumab 300 mg q3w, respectively. No DLTs were observed with single-agent treatment. Three DLTs (6%, all grade ≥3) were noted with combination treatment: blood creatine phosphokinase increase, respiratory failure and small intestinal obstruction. Serious AEs were reported in 30.8% and 34.0%, and drug-related AEs were reported in 82.1% and 77.4% of patients with single-agent and combination treatments, respectively. Disease was stable in 7 patients and progressed in 26 patients with single-agent treatment. In combination arm patients, 1 had complete response (endometrial cancer); 3, partial response (rectal cancer, adenocarcinoma of colon and melanoma); 14, stable disease; and 27, disease progression. GWN323 exhibited a pharmacokinetic profile typical of mAbs with a dose-dependent increase in the pharmacokinetic exposure. Inconsistent decreases in regulatory T cells and increases in CD8+ T cells were observed in the combination arm. Gene expression analyses showed no significant effect of GWN323 on interferon-γ or natural killer-cell signatures.

Conclusions: GWN323, as a single agent and in combination, was well tolerated in patients with relapsed/refractory solid tumors. The MAD was 1500 mg q3w for single-agent and GWN323 750 mg+spartalizumab 300 mg q3w for combination treatments. Minimal single-agent activity and modest clinical benefit were observed with the spartalizumab combination.

Trial registration number: NCT02740270.

Keywords: antibodies; clinical trials as topic; combination; drug therapy; investigational; neoplasm; therapies.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial, Phase I
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Antibodies, Monoclonal, Humanized / administration & dosage
  • Antineoplastic Agents, Immunological / administration & dosage
  • Antineoplastic Agents, Immunological / immunology
  • Antineoplastic Combined Chemotherapy Protocols / therapeutic use*
  • Dose-Response Relationship, Drug
  • Female
  • Glucocorticoid-Induced TNFR-Related Protein / antagonists & inhibitors
  • Glucocorticoid-Induced TNFR-Related Protein / immunology
  • Humans
  • Immune Checkpoint Inhibitors / administration & dosage
  • Lymphoma / drug therapy*
  • Male
  • Maximum Tolerated Dose
  • Middle Aged
  • Neoplasms / drug therapy*


  • Antibodies, Monoclonal, Humanized
  • Antineoplastic Agents, Immunological
  • Glucocorticoid-Induced TNFR-Related Protein
  • Immune Checkpoint Inhibitors
  • TNFRSF18 protein, human
  • spartalizumab

Associated data