Prevalence of Delta-like protein 3 expression in patients with small cell lung cancer

Kentaro Tanaka, Kumiko Isse, Tomomichi Fujihira, Mitsuhiro Takenoyama, Laura Saunders, Sheila Bheddah, Yoichi Nakanishi, Isamu Okamoto

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

75 Citations (Scopus)


Objectives Rovalpituzumab tesirine (Rova-T), an antibody-drug conjugate directed against Delta-like protein 3 (DLL3), is under development for patients with small cell lung cancer (SCLC) positive for this protein. However, the prevalence of DLL3 expression and its association with patient ethnicity and other characteristics have remained unclear. Materiais and methods Tumor samples from 63 patients with SCLC were subjected to immunohistochemical staining for DLL3. The relation of patient characteristics including sex, age, disease stage, and smoking history to DLL3 expression status was analyzed. Results and conlusions Fifty-two patients (83%) were positive for DLL3 expression, with 20 patients (32%) being positive in at least 50% of cancer cells (DLL3-high). DLL3 expression was not associated with any of the patient characteristics examined. In addition, overall survival did not differ between DLL3-high and DLL3-low patients. Our results reveal that DLL3 is expressed in tumor specimens from most patients with SCLC, and they should inform the undertaking of clinical trials of Rova-T including an ongoing phase I study (NCT03086239) in Japan as well as global phase III trials (NCT03061812 and NCT03033511).

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)116-120
Number of pages5
JournalLung Cancer
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2018

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Oncology
  • Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine
  • Cancer Research


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