A new drug called varlilumab has demonstrated clinical activity and was well-tolerated by patients with solid tumours, including melanoma, prostate cancer, and renal cell carcinoma (RCC).

Varlilumab is an anti-CD27 antibody and is the first drug of this class to be tested for the treatment of cancer. The open-label, phase I, dose-escalation study was published in the Journal of Clinical Oncology, and enrolled 56 patients with stage IV disease. Various doses of varlilumab were looked at to find the best dose for people with solid tumours.

Most treatment-related adverse events were mild-moderate, and included fatigue, rash, nausea, and diarrhoea. Anti-tumour activity was seen in 9 patients. A patient with RCC experienced tumour regression and stable disease for at least 3.9 years. Four patients with RCC, 3 with melanoma, and 1 with colorectal cancer had stable disease for over 3 months.

Additional studies of varlilumab are ongoing.

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