PURPOSE: Tigatuzumab (TIG), an agonistic anti-DR5 antibody, triggers apoptosis in DR5(+) human tumor cells without crosslinking. TIG has strong in vitro/in vivo activity against basal-like breast cancer cells enhanced by chemotherapy agents. This study evaluates activity of TIG and chemotherapy in patients with metastatic triple-negative breast cancer (TNBC). EXPERIMENTAL DESIGN: Randomized 2:1 phase II trial of albumin-bound paclitaxel (nab-PAC) ± TIG in patients with TNBC stratified by prior chemotherapy. Patients received nab-PAC weekly × 3 ± TIG every other week, every 28 days. Primary objective was within-arm objective response rate (ORR). Secondary objectives were safety, progression-free survival (PFS), clinical benefit, and TIG immunogenicity. Metastatic research biopsies were required. RESULTS: Among 64 patients (60 treated; TIG/nab-PAC n = 39 and nab-PAC n = 21), there were 3 complete remissions (CR), 8 partial remissions (PR; 1 almost CR), 11 stable diseases (SD), and 17 progressive diseases (PD) in the TIG/nab-PAC arm (ORR, 28%), and no CRs, 8 PRs, 4 SDs, and 9 PDs in the nab-PAC arm (ORR, 38%). There was a numerical increase in CRs and several patients had prolonged PFS (1,025+, 781, 672, 460, 334) in the TIG/nab-PAC arm. Grade 3 toxicities were 28% and 29%, respectively, with no grade 4-5. Exploratory analysis suggests an association of ROCK1 gene pathway activation with efficacy in the TIG/nab-PAC arm. CONCLUSIONS: ORR and PFS were similar in both. Preclinical activity of TIG in basal-like breast cancer and prolonged PFS in few patients in the combination arm support further investigation of anti-DR5 agents. ROCK pathway activation merits further evaluation.