A phase Ib dose-escalation study of troriluzole (BHV-4157), an oral glutamatergic signaling modulator, in combination with nivolumab in patients with advanced solid tumors

Ann W. Silk, Biren Saraiya, Roman Groisberg, Nancy Chan, Kristen Spencer, Eugenia Girda, Weichung Shih, Marisa Palmeri, Tracie Saunders, Robert M. Berman, Vlad Coric, Suzie Chen, Andrew Zloza, Joshua Vieth, Janice M. Mehnert, Jyoti Malhotra

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Glutamate signaling activates MAPK and PI3K/AKT pathways in tumor cells. Treatment with riluzole, a glutamate release inhibitor, has been previously shown to be safe in melanoma patients and produced biologic effects, but did not lead to radiographic responses, possibly due to poor pharmacokinetic properties. Therefore, we conducted a phase Ib trial to determine the safety and tolerability of the combination of the riluzole prodrug troriluzole (BHV-4157, trigriluzole) and the PD-1 antibody nivolumab in patients with advanced solid tumors. Methods: Patients with advanced or refractory solid tumors and measurable disease per RECIST 1.1 were treated with increasing doses of troriluzole using a semi-Bayesian modified toxicity probability interval dose escalation procedure. Troriluzole monotherapy was orally self-administered for a 14-day lead-in period followed by continuation of troriluzole in combination with nivolumab 240 mg IV every 2 weeks. Endpoints included safety, pharmacokinetics (PK) and efficacy. Results: We enrolled 14 patients with advanced solid tumors (melanoma = 3, NSCLC = 3, renal cell carcinoma = 2, bladder/urothelial = 2, ovarian cancer = 1, adenoid cystic carcinoma = 1, pleural mesothelial = 1, head and neck cancer = 1). Eleven patients had cancer progression on prior therapy with PD-1 or PD-L1 agent. Patients received troriluzole total daily doses from 140 to 560 mg (divided). The most common treatment-related adverse events (TRAE) occurring in ≥ 5 patients (> 35%) were transaminitis and increased lipase. DLT (dose-limiting toxicity) occurred in 3 patients: (1) grade 3 anorexia, (2) grade 3 fatigue and, (3) grade 3 atrial fibrillation. Six patients were treated at the MTD (maximum tolerated dose). No subjects discontinued treatment due to AEs. One response occurred (7%), which was a partial response in a subject who had PD-1 refractory disease. The 6-month PFS rate was 21%. PK data showed that the prodrug troriluzole was efficiently cleaved into riluzole by 2-h post-dosing in all dose cohorts tested. Conclusion: The combination of troriluzole and nivolumab was safe and well-tolerated. The MTD of troriluzole was determined to be 420 mg total daily dose. The observed antitumor activity, primarily disease stabilization, is of interest in patients with PD-1 resistant tumors. Trial Registration ClinicalTrials.gov Identifier NCT03229278.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number107
JournalEuropean Journal of Medical Research
Issue number1
StatePublished - Dec 2022
Externally publishedYes


  • Glutamate
  • Immunotherapy resistance
  • Prodrug

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Medicine


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