This phase I study, which to our knowledge is the first-in-human study of this kind, investigates the safety, tolerability, pharmacokinetics, and clinical activity of anetumab ravtansine, an antibody-drug conjugate of anti-mesothelin antibody linked to maytansinoid DM4, in patients with advanced, metastatic, or recurrent solid tumors known to express the tumor-differentiation antigen mesothelin.This phase I, open-label, multicenter, dose-escalation and dose-expansion study of anetumab ravtansine enrolled 148 adult patients with multiple solid tumor types. Ten dose-escalation cohorts of patients with advanced or metastatic solid tumors (0.15-7.5 mg/kg) received anetumab ravtansine once every 3 weeks, and 6 expansion cohorts of patients with advanced, recurrent ovarian cancer or malignant mesothelioma received anetumab ravtansine at the maximum tolerated dose once every 3 weeks, 1.8 mg/kg once per week, and 2.2 mg/kg once per week.Forty-five patients were enrolled across the 10 dose-escalation cohorts. The maximum tolerated dose of anetumab ravtansine was 6.5 mg/kg once every 3 weeks or 2.2 mg/kg once per week. Thirty-two patients were enrolled in the 6.5 mg/kg once-every-3-weeks, 35 in the 1.8 mg/kg once-per-week, and 36 in the 2.2 mg/kg once-per-week expansion cohorts. The most common drug-related adverse events were fatigue, nausea, diarrhea, anorexia, vomiting, peripheral sensory neuropathy, and keratitis/keratopathy. There were no drug-related deaths. Anetumab ravtansine pharmacokinetics were dose proportional; the average half-life was 5.5 days. Among 148 patients with mesothelioma or ovarian, pancreatic, non-small-cell lung, and breast cancers, 1 had a complete response, 11 had partial responses, and 66 had stable disease. High levels of tumor mesothelin expression were detected in patients with clinical activity.Anetumab ravtansine exhibited a manageable safety and favorable pharmacokinetic profile with encouraging preliminary antitumor activity in heavily pretreated patients with mesothelin-expressing solid tumors. The results allowed for the determination of recommended doses, schedules, and patient populations for anetumab ravtansine in phase II studies.