A maytansine-based antibody-drug conjugate (ADC) that targets CD205 showed antitumor activity in pancreatic cancer preclinical models, as well as in preclinical models of triple-negative breast cancer and bladder cancer.1

“These are cancers where we need better therapies and where nonchemotherapy options are pretty sparse,” said Brandon Smaglo, MD, assistant professor of internal medicine at the Dan L Duncan Comprehensive Cancer Center at Baylor College of Medicine, Houston, Texas, during an interview with Cancer Therapy Advisor.

Recently published in Molecular Cancer Therapeutics, the study findings have led to a phase 1 clinical trial (ClinicalTrials.gov Identifier: NCT03403725) to evaluate the investigational ADC in patients with CD205-positive metastatic solid tumors — including pancreatic cancer — and relapsed or refractory non-Hodgkin lymphoma.

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Although he is not involved in the current study, Dr Smaglo said that for pancreatic cancer, it’s “always good” when there’s a nonchemotherapy, “out-of-the-box” approach. Several drugs, such as immune checkpoint inhibitors, have been investigated in pancreatic cancer, but have had limited success.2

The investigational ADC, currently named MEN1309/OBT076, is the first agent to target CD205 and harbors the conventional ADC design: a monoclonal antibody that targets a specific tumor antigen and is connected to a cytotoxic agent by a chemical linker. Upon entry of the ADC into the cancer cell, the linker releases the cytotoxic agent, which in this case is DM4, a maytansinoid derivative.