Phase i study of ABBV-428, a mesothelin-CD40 bispecific, in patients with advanced solid tumors

Jason J. Luke, Fabrice Barlesi, Ki Chung, Anthony W. Tolcher, Karen Kelly, Antoine Hollebecque, Christophe Le Tourneau, Vivek Subbiah, Frank Tsai, Steven Kao, Philippe A. Cassier, Mustafa Khasraw, Hedy L. Kindler, Hua Fang, Frances Fan, Kathryn Allaire, Maulik Patel, Shiming Ye, Debra T. Chao, William R. HennerJoel S. Hayflick, Michael A. McDevitt, Lawrence Fong

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Background CD40 agonist immunotherapy can potentially license antigen-presenting cells to promote antitumor T-cell activation and re-educate macrophages to destroy tumor stroma. Systemic administration of CD40 agonists has historically been associated with considerable toxicity, providing the rationale for development of tumor-targeted immunomodulators to improve clinical safety and efficacy. This phase I study assessed the safety, tolerability, preliminary antitumor activity, and preliminary biomarkers of ABBV-428, a first-in-class, mesothelin-targeted, bispecific antibody designed for tumor microenvironment-dependent CD40 activation with limited systemic toxicity. Methods ABBV-428 was administered intravenously every 2 weeks to patients with advanced solid tumors. An accelerated titration (starting at a 0.01 mg/kg dose) and a 3+3 dose escalation scheme were used, followed by recommended phase II dose cohort expansions in ovarian cancer and mesothelioma, tumor types associated with high mesothelin expression. Results Fifty-nine patients were treated at doses between 0.01 and 3.6 mg/kg. The maximum tolerated dose was not reached, and 3.6 mg/kg was selected as the recommended phase II dose. Seven patients (12%) reported infusion-related reactions. Treatment-related grade ≥3 treatment-emergent adverse events were pericardial effusion, colitis, infusion-related reaction, and pleural effusion (n=1 each, 2%), with no cytokine release syndrome reported. The pharmacokinetic profile demonstrated roughly dose-proportional increases in exposure from 0.4 to 3.6 mg/kg. Best response was stable disease in 9/25 patients (36%) treated at the recommended phase II dose. CD40 receptor occupancy >90% was observed on peripheral B-cells starting from 0.8 mg/kg; however, no consistent changes from baseline in intratumoral CD8+ T-cells, programmed death ligand-1 (PD-L1+) cells, or immune-related gene expression were detected post-ABBV-428 treatment (cycle 2, day 1). Mesothelin membrane staining showed greater correlation with progression-free survival in ovarian cancer and mesothelioma than in the broader dose escalation population. Conclusions ABBV-428 monotherapy exhibited dose-proportional pharmacokinetics and an acceptable safety profile, particularly for toxicities characteristic of CD40 agonism, illustrating that utilization of a tumor-targeted, bispecific antibody can improve the safety of CD40 agonism as a therapeutic approach. ABBV-428 monotherapy had minimal clinical activity in dose escalation and in a small expansion cohort of patients with advanced mesothelioma or ovarian cancer. Trial registration number NCT02955251.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere002015
JournalJournal for ImmunoTherapy of Cancer
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 19 2021


  • immunomodulation
  • investigational
  • therapies
  • tumor microenvironment

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Immunology
  • Molecular Medicine
  • Oncology
  • Pharmacology
  • Cancer Research


Dive into the research topics of 'Phase i study of ABBV-428, a mesothelin-CD40 bispecific, in patients with advanced solid tumors'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this