Purpose: In this first-in-human study (NCT03564691) in advanced solid tumors, we investigated a novel first-in-class human IgG4 monoclonal antibody targeting the immunoglobulin-like transcript 4 (ILT4) receptor, MK-4830, as monotherapy and in combination with pembrolizumab.
Patients and methods: Patients with histologically/cytologically confirmed advanced solid tumors, measurable disease by RECIST v1.1, and evaluable baseline tumor sample received escalating doses of intravenous MK-4830 every 3 weeks as monotherapy (parts A and B) and in combination with pembrolizumab (part C). Safety and tolerability were the primary objectives. Pharmacokinetics, objective response rate per RECIST v1.1, and molecular biomarkers were also evaluated.
Results: Of 84 patients, 50 received monotherapy and 34 received combination therapy. No dose-limiting toxicities were observed; maximum tolerated dose was not reached. MK-4830 showed dose-related target engagement. Eleven of 34 patients in the dose-escalation phase who received combination therapy achieved objective responses; 5 previously had progressive disease on anti-PD-1/PD-L1 therapies. Exploratory evaluation of the association between response and pretreatment gene expression related to interferon-gamma signaling in tumors suggested higher sensitivity to T-cell inflammation with combination therapy than historically expected with pembrolizumab monotherapy, with greater response at more moderate levels of inflammation.
Conclusions: This first-in-class MK-4830 antibody dosed as monotherapy and in combination with pembrolizumab was well tolerated with no unexpected toxicities, and demonstrated dose-related evidence of target engagement and antitumor activity. Inflammation intrinsic to the ILT4 mechanism may be facilitated by alleviating the myeloid-suppressive components of the tumor microenvironment, supporting the target of ILT4 as a potential novel immunotherapy in combination with an anti-PD-1/PD-L1 agent.
©2021 The Authors; Published by the American Association for Cancer Research.