Clinical development strategies and outcomes in first-in-human trials of monoclonal antibodies

Diego Tosi, Yassine Laghzali, Marie Vinches, Marie Alexandre, Krisztian Homicsko, Angelica Fasolo, Gianluca Del Conte, Anna Durigova, Nadia Hayaoui, Sophie Gourgou, Luca Gianni, Caroline Mollevi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Purpose: We conducted a comprehensive review of the design, implementation, and outcome of first-in-human (FIH) trials of monoclonal antibodies (mAbs) to clearly determine early clinical development strategies for this class of compounds. Methods: We performed a PubMed search using appropriate terms to identify reports of FIH trials of mAbs published in peer-reviewed journals between January 2000 and April 2013. Results: A total of 82 publications describing FIH trials were selected for analysis. Only 27 articles (33%) reported the criteria used for selecting the starting dose (SD). Dose escalation was performed using rule-based methods in 66 trials (80%). The median number of planned dose levels was five (range, two to 13). The median of the ratio between the highest planned dose and the SD was 27 (range, two to 3,333). Although in 56 studies (68%) at least one grade 3 or 4 toxicity event was reported, no dose-limiting toxicity was observed in 47 trials (57%). The highest planned dose was reached in all trials, but the maximum-tolerated dose (MTD) was defined in only 13 studies (16%). The median of the ratio between MTD and SD was eight (range, four to 1,000). The recommended phase II dose was indicated in 34 studies (41%), but in 25 (73%) of these trials, this dose was chosen without considering toxicity as the main selection criterion. Conclusion: This literature review highlights the broad design heterogeneity of FIH trials testing mAbs. Because of the limited observed toxicity, the MTD was infrequently reached, and therefore, the recommended phase II dose for subsequent clinical trials was only tentatively defined.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2158-2165
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Clinical Oncology
Issue number19
Publication statusPublished - Jul 1 2015

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cancer Research
  • Oncology
  • Medicine(all)


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