Pegilodecakin, an investigational, first-in-class drug currently in clinical trials, is demonstrating positive safety results and measurable responses when used in combination with pembrolizumab or nivolumab in patients with non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) or kidney cancer. The findings from the multicenter, phase IB study were published in Lancet Oncology.

Researchers followed 111 patients with kidney cancer, NSCLC, or melanoma with advanced malignant solid tumors. They observed objective response rates in 43% of patients with NSCLC, 40% of those with kidney cancer, and 10% with melanoma. The most common side effects were anemia, fatigue, low blood platelet counts, and high triglycerides.

Pegilodecakin combines interleukin-10, a protein that stimulates CD8+ T cells, with polyethylene glycol, which prolongs its circulation in the body. The action complements the anti-PD-1 monoclonal antibodies that block immunosuppressive effects on T cells.

“The activity of pegilodecakin in combination with anti-PD-1 monoclonal antibodies introduces a new class of drugs to the treatment of advanced solid tumors,” the researchers said. They hope the drug can be used as a single and combination agent to treat a range of solid tumors.