A Review of RRx-001: A Late-Stage Multi-Indication Inhibitor of NLRP3 Activation and Chronic Inflammation

Drugs. 2023 Apr;83(5):389-402. doi: 10.1007/s40265-023-01838-z. Epub 2023 Mar 15.


Chronic unresolving inflammation is emerging as a key underlying pathological feature of many if not most diseases ranging from autoimmune conditions to cardiometabolic and neurological disorders. Dysregulated immune and inflammasome activation is thought to be the central driver of unresolving inflammation, which in some ways provides a unified theory of disease pathology and progression. Inflammasomes are a group of large cytosolic protein complexes that, in response to infection- or stress-associated stimuli, oligomerize and assemble to generate a platform for driving inflammation. This occurs through proteolytic activation of caspase-1-mediated inflammatory responses, including cleavage and secretion of the proinflammatory cytokines interleukin (IL)-1β and IL-18, and initiation of pyroptosis, an inflammatory form of cell death. Several inflammasomes have been characterized. The most well-studied is the nucleotide-binding domain (NOD)-like receptor protein 3 (NLRP3) inflammasome, so named because the NLRP3 protein in the complex, which is primarily present in immune and inflammatory cells following activation by inflammatory stimuli, belongs to the family of nucleotide-binding and oligomerization domain (Nod) receptor proteins. Several NLRP3 inflammasome inhibitors are in development, all with multi-indication activity. This review discusses the current status, known mechanisms of action, and disease-modifying therapeutic potential of RRx-001, a direct NLRP3 inflammasome inhibitor under investigation in several late-stage anticancer clinical trials, including a phase 3 trial for the treatment of third-line and beyond small cell lung cancer (SCLC), an indication with no treatment, in which RRx-001 is combined with reintroduced chemotherapy from the first line, carboplatin/cisplatin and etoposide (ClinicalTrials.gov Identifier: NCT03699956). Studies from multiple independent groups have now confirmed that RRx-001 is safe and well tolerated in humans. Additionally, emerging evidence in preclinical animal models suggests that RRx-001 could be effective in a wide range of diseases where immune and inflammasome activation drives disease pathology.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Humans
  • Inflammasomes* / metabolism
  • Inflammation / drug therapy
  • Inflammation / metabolism
  • NLR Family, Pyrin Domain-Containing 3 Protein* / metabolism
  • Nucleotides


  • Inflammasomes
  • NLR Family, Pyrin Domain-Containing 3 Protein
  • RRx-001
  • Nucleotides

Associated data

  • ClinicalTrials.gov/NCT03699956