The novel anti-interleukin 1-alpha antibody, xilonix, is the first immunotherapy to target interleukin-1 alpha, and promises to be an effective treatment for patients with metastatic colorectal cancer, according to a study presented at the 18th annual World Congress of Gastrointestinal Cancer in Barcelona, Spain.1

Interleukin-1 alpha promotes angiogenesis within tumors, causes the body to burn muscle, and can lead to fatigue, anxiety, and anorexia for patients with advanced cancer. Researchers enrolled 309 patients to this phase 3, 2:1 randomized study; patients were assigned to receive either xilonix or placebo; each patient had metastatic colorectal cancer, had failed standard chemotherapy treatment, and displayed a high number of symptoms, including systemic inflammation.

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Patients who received xilonix had a 76% increased clinical response rate, and had an average overall survival of 7.3 months longer, than patients who received placebo (11.5 versus 4.2 months, respectively, P = .0045). Improvements were recorded for almost all other health-related measures for patients who received xilonix, including reduced systemic inflammation. These patients were also 25% less likely to experience adverse events.

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The researchers concluded that this novel therapy is promising for patients with advanced colorectal cancer, and further that an examination of a patient’s “health status,” understood as observable symptoms relating to disease, ought to be considered a measure of treatment efficacy for patients in this disease group.


1. Hickish T, Thierry A, Lucjan W, et al. A pivotal phase 3 trial of MABp1 in advanced colorectal cancer. Paper presented at: European Society for Medical Oncology’s 18th World Congress of Gastrointestinal Cancer; July 2016; Barcelona, Spain.