ADAM 17 (TNF-α converting enzyme, TACE) is a potential target for cancer therapy, but the small molecule inhibitors reported to date are not specific to this ADAM family member. This membrane-bound metalloproteinase is responsible for ectodomain shedding of pathologically significant substrates including TNF-α and EGFR ligands. The aim of this study was to evaluate the pharmacokinetics, pharmacodynamics and anti-tumour efficacy of the first specific inhibitor, an anti-human ADAM17 IgG antibody, clone D1(A12). We used intraperitoneal xenografts of the human ovarian cancer cell line IGROV1-Luc in Balb/c nude mice, chosen because it was previously reported that growth of these xenografts is inhibited by knock-down of TNF-α. In vitro, 200 nM D1(A12) inhibited shedding of ADAM17 substrates TNF-α, TNFR1-α, TGF-α, amphiregulin (AREG), HB-EGF and IL-6Rα, from IGROV1-Luc cells, (4.7 nM IC(50) for TNF-α shedding). In IGROV1-Luc xenografts in vivo, D1(A12) IgG showed pharmacokinetic properties suitable for efficacy studies, with a single i.p. dose of 10 mg/kg D1(A12) sufficient to maintain IgG plasma and ascites fluid concentrations above 100 nM for more than 7 days. The plasma half life was 8.6 days. Next, an efficacy study was performed, dosing D1(A12) or anti-human TNF-α antibody infliximab at 10 mg/kg q7d, quantifying IGROV1-Luc tumour burden by bioluminescence. D1(A12) IgG showed a significant reduction in tumour growth (p = 0.005), 56% of vehicle control. Surprisingly, D1(A12) did not reduce the concentration of circulating human TNF-α, suggesting that another enzyme may compensate for inhibition of ADAM17 in vivo (but not in vitro). However, D1(A12) did show clear pharmacodynamic effects in the mice, with significant inhibition of shedding from tumour of ADAM17 substrates TNFR1-α, AREG, and TGF-α (4-15-fold reductions, p<0.0001 for all three). Thus, D1(A12) has anti-ADAM17 activity in vivo, inhibits shedding of EGFR ligands and has potential for use in EGF ligand-dependent tumours.