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1.  A phase I study of the safety and pharmacokinetics of trabectedin in combination with pegylated liposomal doxorubicin in patients with advanced malignancies 
Annals of Oncology  2008;19(10):1802-1809.
Background: To determine the maximum tolerated dose (MTD), safety, potential pharmacokinetic (PK) interactions, and effect on liver histology of trabectedin in combination with pegylated liposomal doxorubicin (PLD) for advanced malignancies.
Patients and methods: Entry criteria for the 36 patients included normal liver function, prior doxorubicin exposure <250 mg/m2, and normal cardiac function. A 1-h PLD (30 mg/m2) infusion was followed immediately by one of six trabectedin doses (0.4, 0.6, 0.75, 0.9, 1.1, and 1.3 mg/m2) infused over 3 h, repeated every 21 days until evidence of complete response (CR), disease progression, or unacceptable toxicity. Plasma samples were obtained to assess PK profiles.
Results: The MTD of trabectedin was 1.1 mg/m2. Drug-related grade 3 and 4 toxic effects were neutropenia (31%) and elevated transaminases (31%). Six patients responded (one CR, five partial responses), with an overall response rate of 16.7%, and 14 had stable disease (less than a 50% reduction and less than a 25% increase in the sum of the products of two perpendicular diameters of all measured lesions and the appearance of no new lesions) >4 months (39%). Neither drug had its PK affected significantly by concomitant administration compared with trabectedin and PLD each given as a single agent.
Conclusion: Trabectedin combined with PLD is generally well tolerated at therapeutic doses of both drugs in pretreated patients with diverse tumor types and appears to provide clinical benefit. These results support the need for additional studies of this combination in appropriate cancer types.
PMCID: PMC2598415  PMID: 18497430
ET-743; ovarian cancer; pegylated liposomal doxorubicin (PLD); sarcomas; trabectedin
2.  A Phase I Combination Study of Trabectedin and Doxorubicin in Patients With Soft Tissue Sarcoma 
To determine the dose of trabectedin plus doxorubicin with granulocyte colony stimulating factor (G-CSF) support associated with manageable neutropenia and acceptable dose-limiting toxicities (DLTs) in patients with recurrent or persistent soft tissue sarcoma (STS).
In this phase I, open-label, multicenter trial, patients previously treated with 0–1 prior chemotherapy regimens excluding doxorubicin, an ECOG performance status 0–1, and adequate organ function received a 10–15-minute intravenous (IV) infusion of doxorubicin 60 mg/m2 immediately followed by a 3-hour IV infusion of trabectedin 0.9–1.3 mg/m2 on day 1 of a 3-week cycle. Because four of the first six patients experienced DLT-defining neutropenia during cycle 1, all subsequent patients received primary prophylactic G-CSF. The maximum tolerated dose (MTD) was the highest dose level with ≥6 patients in which less than one third of the patients experienced severe neutropenia or DLT. Blood was collected during cycle 1 for pharmacokinetic analyses. Adverse events (AEs), tumor response, and survival were assessed.
Patients (N = 41) received a median of six cycles of treatment (range, 2–13). The MTD was trabectedin 1.1 mg/m2 and doxorubicin 60 mg/m2. Common grade 3/4 treatment-emergent AEs were neutropenia (71%), ALT increase (46%), and thrombocytopenia (37%). Overall, five (12%) patients achieved a partial response, and 34 (83%) maintained stable disease. Median progression-free survival was 9.2 months. Doxorubicin and trabectedin pharmacokinetics were not altered substantially with concomitant administration.
The combination of doxorubicin 60 mg/m2 followed by trabectedin 1.1 mg/m2 every 21 days is safe and active in patients with STS.
PMCID: PMC2777645  PMID: 18927308
trabectedin; ET-743; doxorubicin; sarcoma; pharmacokinetics; YONDELIS
3.  New developments in treatment of ovarian carcinoma: focus on trabectedin 
Trabectedin is a new marine-derived compound that binds the DNA minor groove and interacts with proteins of the DNA repair machinery. Trabectedin has shown promising single-agent activity in pretreated patients with soft tissue sarcoma, and ovarian and breast cancer, and combination with various other chemotherapeutic drugs seems feasible. Toxicities are mainly hematologic and hepatic, with Grade 3–4 neutropenia and thrombocytopenia observed in approximately 50% and 20% of patients, respectively, and Grade 3–4 elevation of liver enzymes observed in 35%–50% of patients treated with trabectedin. The recently reported results of a large Phase III trial comparing pegylated liposomal doxorubicin (PLD) alone with a combination of PLD and trabectedin in patients with recurrent ovarian cancer showed improved progression-free survival with the combination of trabectedin and PLD, albeit at the price of increased toxicity. Current research focuses on the identification of predictive factors for patients treated with trabectedin, as well as the development of other combinations.
PMCID: PMC3004573  PMID: 21188115
chemotherapy; ovarian cancer; combination; drug development; DNA repair
4.  Phase I trial of weekly trabectedin (ET-743) and gemcitabine in patients with advanced solid tumors 
To determine the maximum tolerated dose (MTD) of trabectedin plus gemcitabine administered on a weekly schedule in patients with advanced solid tumors.
Patients with ECOG performance status 0–1 and adequate organ function were enrolled. On days 1, 8, and 15 of a 28-day cycle, patients received gemcitabine (starting dose, 800 mg/m2) followed by trabectedin (starting dose, 0.3 mg/m2). Strict liver function test treatment criteria were employed to avoid hepatic toxicity seen in previous trabectedin studies. Plasma samples were collected during cycles 1 and 2 for pharmacokinetic analyses.
Fifteen patients received ≥1 dose, with a median of two treatment cycles (range 1–10). The most common drug-related toxicity was hepatic. Dose reductions were required for trabectedin in four (27%) patients and gemcitabine in six (40%) patients. Cycle delays/dose holds were required in 11 (73%) patients and doses above trabectedin 0.4 mg/m2 and gemcitabine 1,000 mg/m2, which is the recommended phase II dose, were not feasible. Seven patients maintained stable disease after two cycles. Gemcitabine and trabectedin pharmacokinetics were not altered substantially with concomitant administration.
Given the lack of pharmacokinetic interaction and potential efficacy of trabectedin and gemcitabine combination therapy, further study is warranted with alternate schedules.
PMCID: PMC3556988  PMID: 18379785
Dose-finding; Phase I; Gemcitabine; Pharmacokinetics; Trabectedin
5.  Trabectedin plus pegylated liposomal doxorubicin in relapsed ovarian cancer: outcomes in the partially platinum-sensitive (platinum-free interval 6–12 months) subpopulation of OVA-301 phase III randomized trial 
Annals of Oncology  2010;22(1):39-48.
Background: OVA-301 is a large randomized trial that showed superiority of trabectedin plus pegylated liposomal doxorubicin (PLD) over PLD alone in relapsed ovarian cancer. The optimal management of patients with partially platinum-sensitive relapse [6–12 months platinum-free interval (PFI)] is unclear.
Patients and methods: Within OVA-301, we therefore now report on the outcomes for the 214 cases in this subgroup.
Results: Trabectedin/PLD resulted in a 35% risk reduction of disease progression (DP) or death [hazard ratio (HR) = 0.65, 95% confidence interval (CI), 0.45–0.92; P = 0.0152; median progression-free survival (PFS) 7.4 versus 5.5 months], and a significant 41% decrease in the risk of death (HR = 0.59; 95% CI, 0.43–0.82; P = 0.0015; median survival 23.0 versus 17.1 months). The safety of trabectedin/PLD in this subset mimicked that of the overall population. Similar proportions of patients received subsequent therapy in each arm (76% versus 77%), although patients in the trabectedin/PLD arm had a slightly lower proportion of further platinum (49% versus 55%). Importantly, patients in the trabectedin/PLD arm survived significantly longer after subsequent platinum (HR = 0.63; P = 0.0357; median 13.3 versus 9.8 months).
Conclusion: This hypothesis-generating analysis demonstrates that superior benefits with trabectedin/PLD in terms of PFS and survival in the overall population appear particularly enhanced in patients with partially sensitive disease (PFI 6–12 months).
PMCID: PMC3003616  PMID: 20643862
pegylated liposomal doxorubicin; platinum-free interval; relapsed ovarian cancer; trabectedin
6.  Combination of Trabectedin and Gemcitabine for Advanced Soft Tissue Sarcomas: Results of a Phase I Dose Escalating Trial of the German Interdisciplinary Sarcoma Group (GISG) 
Marine Drugs  2015;13(1):379-388.
Background: Evaluation of the potential efficacy and safety of combination therapies for advanced soft tissue sarcomas (STS) has increased substantially after approval of trabectedin and pazopanib. Trabectedin’s introduction in Europe in 2007 depended mainly on its activity in so-called L-sarcomas (liposarcoma and leiomyosarcoma); combination of trabectedin with other chemotherapies used in STS seems of particular interest. Methods: We initiated within the German Interdisciplinary Sarcoma Group (GISG) a phase I dose escalating trial evaluating the combination of trabectedin and gemcitabine in patients with advanced and/or metastatic L-sarcomas (GISG-02; NCT01426633). Patients were treated with increasing doses of trabectedin and gemcitabine. The primary endpoint was to determine the maximum tolerated dose. Results: Five patients were included in the study. Two patients were treated on dose level 1 comprising trabectedin 0.9 mg/m2 on day 1 and gemcitabine 700 mg/m2 on days 1 + 8, every 3 weeks. Due to dose-limiting toxicity (DLT) in both patients (elevated transaminases and thrombocytopenia), an additional three patients were treated on dose level −1 with trabectedin 0.7 mg/m2 plus gemcitabine 700 mg/m2. Of these three patients, two demonstrated another DLT; therefore, the trial was stopped and none of the dose levels could be recommended for phase II testing. Conclusion: The GISG-02 phase I study was stopped with the conclusion that the combination of gemcitabine and trabectedin is generally not recommended for the treatment of patients with advanced and/or metastatic leiomyosarcoma or liposarcoma. Also, this phase I study strongly supports the necessity for careful evaluation of combination therapies.
PMCID: PMC4306943  PMID: 25591040
gemcitabine; pazopanib; phase I; safety; soft tissue sarcoma; trabectedin
7.  A Phase I Trial and Pharmacokinetic Study of a 24-hour Infusion of Trabectedin (Yondelis®, ET-743) in Children and Adolescents with Relapsed or Refractory Solid Tumors 
Pediatric blood & cancer  2012;59(5):865-869.
The objectives of this phase I study were to determine the maximum tolerated dose (MTD), toxicity profile and pharmacokinetics of a 24-hour continuous intravenous infusion of trabectedin administered to children and adolescents with refractory or relapsed solid tumors.
Patients between the ages of 4 and 16 years old with refractory solid tumors received trabectedin as a 24-hour infusion every 21 days. Dexamethasone and prophylactic growth factor support were administered with each cycle. Pharmacokinetic studies were conducted during cycle 1.
Patients (n=12) median (range) age 14.5 (8–16) years received trabectedin at 1.1 (n=3), 1.5 (n=6) or 1.7 (n=3) mg/m2. At the 1.5 mg/m2 dose level, one patient had dose limiting anorexia and fatigue. At 1.7 mg/m2, 2 patients experienced dose limiting toxicity, dehydration and gamma-glutamyl transpeptidase (GGT) elevation. Non-dose limiting toxicities included elevated serum transaminases, myelosuppression, nausea, emesis and fatigue. Plasma pharmacokinetic parameters were similar to historical data in adults. One partial response (PR) was observed in a patient with neuroendocrine carcinoma. Stable disease (SD) (≥6 cycles) was achieved in 3 patients (osteosarcoma n=2, desmoplastic small round cell tumor n=1).
The MTD of trabectedin in pediatric patients with refractory solid tumors is 1.5 mg/m2 IV over 24 hours every 21 days. Dexamethasone to ameliorate hepatic toxicity and prophylactic growth factor support are required.
PMCID: PMC3442122  PMID: 22847981
trabectedin; phase I clinical trial; pediatrics; pharmacokinetics
8.  Trabectedin: the evidence for its place in therapy in the treatment of soft tissue sarcoma 
Core evidence  2010;4:191-198.
Soft tissue sarcoma accounts for less than 1% of all malignant neoplasms and is comprised of a very heterogeneous group of tumors with over 50 different subtypes. Due to its diversity and rarity, developing new therapeutics has been difficult, at best. The standard of care in the treatment of advanced and metastatic disease over the last 30 years has been doxorubicin and ifosfamide, either alone or in combination. There has been significant focus on developing new therapeutics to treat primary and metastatic disease. Trabectedin (ecteinascidin-743) is a tetrahydroiso-quinoline alkaloid which has been evaluated in the treatment of metastatic soft tissue sarcoma.
To review the current evidence for the therapeutic use of trabectedin in patients with soft tissue sarcoma.
Evidence review:
Five phase I studies in patients with solid tumors, all of which include sarcoma patients, evaluating the dosing and toxicity of trabectedin were performed with efficacy being evaluated as a secondary endpoint. Additionally, there are four phase I trials evaluating trabectedin in combination with frontline therapeutic drugs in soft tissue sarcoma. Four phase II studies were performed in soft-tissue sarcoma patients with objective response rates ranging from 3.7% to 17.1%. Additionally, in two compassionate use trials, objective response rates between 14% and 51% were seen, the largest response resulting from a study specifically focusing on liposarcoma.
Place in therapy:
Trabectedin is a potential therapeutic option for the management of soft-tissue sarcoma. It appears to have specific activity in a select group of histologies, most notably myxoid/round cell liposarcoma. Although it would be helpful to study the use of trabectedin in a randomized, controlled fashion, the relative rarity of soft-tissue sarcoma, and heterogeneity of the histologic subtypes, makes phase III trials a difficult prospect.
PMCID: PMC2899778  PMID: 20694075
soft tissue sarcoma; metastatic; trabectedin; ET-743; Yondelis®
9.  A phase II study of Yondelis® (trabectedin, ET-743) as a 24-h continuous intravenous infusion in pretreated advanced breast cancer 
British Journal of Cancer  2006;94(11):1610-1614.
Yondelis® (trabectedin, ET-743) is a novel marine-derived anticancer compound found in the ascidian Ecteinascidia turbinata. It is currently under phase II/III development in breast cancer, hormone refractory prostate cancer, sarcomas and ovarian cancer. Activity in breast cancer experimental models has been reported, and preliminary evidence of activity in this setting during the phase I programme has also been observed. The present study assessed the activity and feasibility of trabectedin in women with advanced breast cancer previously treated with conventional therapies. Patients with advanced disease previously treated with at least one but not more than two regimens that included taxanes or anthracyclines as palliative therapy were eligible. Trabectedin 1.5 mg m−2 was administered as a 24-h continuous infusion every 3 weeks. Patients were kept on therapy until disease progression, unacceptable toxicity or patient refusal. Twenty-seven patients were included between April 1999 and September 2000. Their median age was 54 years (range: 36–67) and 63% of them had two metastatic sites. Twenty-two patients were performance status 1. All patients had previously received anthracyclines, and 23 out of 27 patients had received taxanes. Of 21 patients with measurable disease, three confirmed partial responses, one unconfirmed partial response and two minor responses (49 and 32% tumour shrinkage) were observed; six patients had stable disease. Median survival was 10 months (95% confidence interval: 4.88–15.18). Transient and noncumulative transaminitis was observed in most of the patients. The pharmacokinetic profile of trabectedin in this patient's population is in line with the overall data available with this schedule. The policy of dose adjustments based on the intercycle peaks of bilirubin and alkaline phosphatase appears to have a positive impact in the therapeutic index of trabectedin. Trabectedin can induce response and tumour control in previously treated advanced breast cancer, with manageable toxicity, thus warranting further development as a single agent or in combination regimens.
PMCID: PMC2361304  PMID: 16736024
Yondelis; trabectedin; breast cancer
10.  Tolerability, Efficacy, and Safety of Pegylated Liposomal Doxorubicin in Combination with Carboplatin Versus Gemcitabine–Carboplatin for the Treatment of Platinum-Sensitive Recurrent Ovarian Cancer: A Systematic Review 
The Oncologist  2010;15(10):1073-1082.
A review of the literature was used to compare the tolerability, efficacy, and safety profiles of pegylated liposomal doxorubicin in combination with carboplatin with those of gemcitabine–carboplatin for the treatment of patients with platinum-sensitive recurrent ovarian cancer.
To compare the tolerability, efficacy, and safety profiles of pegylated liposomal doxorubicin in combination with carboplatin (PLD–Carbo) with those of gemcitabine–carboplatin (Gem–Carbo) for the treatment of patients with platinum-sensitive recurrent ovarian cancer (PSROC) by reviewing the published literature.
Using the PubMed database, a systematic review of peer-reviewed literature published between January 2000 and September 2009 was undertaken to identify studies related to the treatment of patients with PSROC with PLD–Carbo or Gem–Carbo. Studies reporting either response rate, progression-free survival (PFS), and/or overall survival (OS) were included. Treatment regimens, efficacy endpoints, and safety profiles were compared between the two combination therapies.
Ten studies evaluating 608 patients (PLD–Carbo: 5 studies, 278 patients; Gem–Carbo: 5 studies, 330 patients) were identified. The mean planned doses were: PLD, 34.8 mg/m2 and Gem, 993 mg/m2. The dose intensity reported in Gem trials was lower (75% of the planned dose) than the dose intensity reported in PLD trials (93.7% of the planned dose), suggesting better tolerability for the PLD–Carbo regimen. Among patients receiving PLD–Carbo, 60.2% achieved a response (complete, 27.0%; partial, 33.2%), versus 51.4% of patients treated with Gem–Carbo (complete, 19.2%; partial, 32.2%). The median PFS times were 10.6 months and 8.9 months in the PLD–Carbo and the Gem–Carbo populations, respectively. The median OS was longer for the PLD–Carbo regimen (27.1 months) than for the Gem–Carbo regimen (19.7 months). The hematological safety profiles were comparable in the two groups, although grade III or IV anemia (PLD–Carbo, 13.6%; Gem–Carbo, 24.5%) and neutropenia (PLD–Carbo, 45.5%; Gem–Carbo, 62.9%) were more common in patients receiving Gem–Carbo.
Results from this systematic analysis of peer-reviewed literature suggest that PLD–Carbo therapy is a rational alternative to Gem–Carbo for the treatment of patients with PSROC.
PMCID: PMC3227899  PMID: 20930103
Ovarian cancer; Platinum; Pegylated liposomal doxorubicin; Gemcitabine; Carboplatin
11.  Clinical utility of trabectedin for the treatment of ovarian cancer: current evidence 
OncoTargets and therapy  2014;7:1273-1284.
Among the pharmaceutical options available for treatment of ovarian cancer, attention has been increasingly focused on trabectedin (ET-743), a drug which displays a unique mechanism of action and has been shown to be active in several human malignancies. Currently, single agent trabectedin is approved for treatment of patients with advanced soft tissue sarcoma after failure of anthracyclines and ifosfamide, and in association with pegylated liposomal doxorubicin for treatment of patients with relapsed partially platinum-sensitive ovarian cancer. This review aims at summarizing the available evidence about the clinical role of trabectedin in the management of patients with epithelial ovarian cancer. Novel perspectives coming from a better understanding of trabectedin mechanisms of action and definition of patients subgroups likely susceptible to benefit of trabectedin treatment are also presented.
PMCID: PMC4103925  PMID: 25050069
ET-743; ovarian cancer; clinical trials
12.  Response to trabectedin in a patient with advanced synovial sarcoma with lung metastases 
Anti-Cancer Drugs  2014;25(10):1227-1230.
Trabectedin is an alkylating agent registered in Europe for the treatment of advanced metastatic soft-tissue sarcomas, whose activity has been documented mainly in liposarcomas or leiomyosarcomas. Here, we report the response achieved in a patient with lung metastases from synovial sarcoma. A man with a large synovial sarcoma of the axilla underwent three cycles of neoadjuvant epirubicin+ifosfamide before complete excision, followed by three additional cycles of chemotherapy and radiotherapy. After 14 months, bilateral lung metastases appeared and were first treated with a prolonged 14-day continuous infusion of high-dose ifosfamide without response, and then with second-line trabectedin. A partial radiological response was achieved; dosage was reduced to 1.1 mg/m2 because of mild asthenia, grade 3 neutropenia, grade 3 nausea and vomiting, and reversible transaminase elevation. After 9 months of treatment, the lung nodules progressed, the patient received sorafenib, but further progressed and died 19 months after the first appearance of lung metastases. Trabectedin was the only drug that led to a radiological response in this patient with synovial sarcoma, despite being administered at 75% of the standard dose because of dose-limiting nausea and vomiting, in line with more recent data demonstrating activity in translocated sarcomas. We believe that trabectedin represents an attractive option for the treatment of metastatic synovial sarcoma and further clinical studies are warranted.
PMCID: PMC4222791  PMID: 25075796
advanced synovial sarcoma; lung metastases; trabectedin
13.  Trabectedin for Metastatic Soft Tissue Sarcoma: A Retrospective Single Center Analysis 
Marine Drugs  2010;8(10):2647-2658.
Soft tissue sarcoma (STS) comprises a large variety of rare malignant tumors. Development of distant metastasis is frequent, even in patients undergoing initial curative surgery. Trabectedin, a tetrahydroisoquinoline alkaloid isolated from the Caribbean marine tunicate Ecteinascidia turbinata, was approved in 2007 for patients with advanced STS after failure of anthracyclines and ifosfamide, or for patients unsuited to receive these agents. In this study, we retrospectively analyzed 25 patients who had been treated with trabectedin at our institution between 2007 and 2010. The majority (72%) had been heavily pre-treated with ≥2 previous lines of chemotherapy. Response assessed by conventional RECIST criteria was low, with only one patient achieving a partial remission (PR) and 10 stable disease (SD) after three cycles of treatment. However, median progression-free survival (PFS) and overall survival (OS) were significantly prolonged in this population compared to non-responders, with 7.7 months versus 2.1 months (p < 0.0001; HR 15.37, 95% CI 4.3 to 54.5) and 12.13 months versus 5.54 months (p = 0.0137; HR 3.7, 95% CI 1.3 to 10.5), respectively. PFS for all patients was 58% at three months and 37% at six months. Side effects, including neutropenia, elevation of liver transaminases/liver function tests, and nausea/vomiting, were usually mild and manageable. However, dose reductions due to side effects were necessary in five patients. We conclude that trabectedin is an effective and generally well tolerated treatment for STS even in a heavily pre-treated patient population.
PMCID: PMC2992998  PMID: 21116412
trabectedin; soft tissue sarcoma; metastatic; advanced; chemotherapy
14.  A phase I study of irinotecan and pegylated liposomal doxorubicin in recurrent ovarian cancer (Tohoku Gynecologic Cancer Unit 104 study) 
A phase I clinical study was conducted to determine the maximum tolerated dose (MTD) and the recommended dose (RD) of irinotecan hydrochloride (CPT-11) in CPT-11/pegylated liposomal doxorubicin (PLD) combination therapy, a novel treatment regimen for platinum- and taxane-resistant recurrent ovarian cancer.
Pegylated liposomal doxorubicin was administered intravenously on day 3 at a fixed dose of 30 mg/m2. CPT-11 was administered intravenously on days 1 and 15, at a dose of 50 mg/m2 on both days. One course of chemotherapy was 28 days, and patients were given a maximum of six courses, with the CPT-11 dose being increased in increments of 10 mg/m2 (level 1, 50 mg/m2; level 2, 60 mg/m2; level 3, 70 mg/m2; level 4, 80 mg/m2) to determine MTD and RD.
During the period from April 2010 to March 2013, three patients were enrolled for each level. In the first course, no dose-limiting toxicity occurred in any of the patients. Grade 4 neutropenia was observed in two of three patients at level 4. At level 4, the antitumor effect was a partial response (PR) in two of the three patients and stable disease (SD) in one. At level 3, one of the three patients showed PR and two had SD. At level 4, the start of the next course was postponed in two of three patients. In addition, one patient at level 4 experienced hemotoxicity that met the criteria for dose reduction in the next course. The above results suggested that administration of CPT-11 at dose level 5 (90 mg/m2) would result in more patients with severe neutropenia and in more patients requiring postponement of the next course or a dose reduction. Based on the above, the RD of CPT-11 was determined to be 80 mg/m2.
The results suggest that CPT-11/PLD combination therapy for recurrent ovarian cancer is a useful treatment method with a high response rate and manageable adverse reactions. In the future phase II study, the safety and efficacy of this therapy will be assessed at 80 mg/m2 of CPT-11 and 30 mg/m2 of PLD.
PMCID: PMC4000409  PMID: 24585045
Recurrent ovarian cancer; Chemotherapy; CPT-11; PLD
15.  A dose escalation and pharmacokinetic study of biweekly pegylated liposomal doxorubicin, paclitaxel and gemcitabine in patients with advanced solid tumours 
British Journal of Cancer  2007;97(1):43-49.
To determine the maximum tolerated doses (MTDs) and dose-limiting toxicities (DLTs) of pegylated liposomal doxorubicin (PLD), paclitaxel (PCX) and gemcitabine (GEM) combination administered biweekly in patients with advanced solid tumours. Twenty-two patients with advanced-stage solid tumours were treated with escalated doses of PLD on day 1 and PCX plus GEM on day 2 (starting doses: 10, 100 and 800 mg m−2, respectively) every 2 weeks. DLTs and pharmacokinetic (PK) parameters of all drugs were determined during the first cycle of treatment. All but six (73%) patients had previously received at least one chemotherapy regimen. The DLT dose level was reached at PLD 12 mg m−2, PCX 110 mg m−2 and GEM 1000 mg m−2 with neutropaenia being the dose-limiting event. Of the 86 chemotherapy cycles delivered, grade 3 and 4 neutropaenia occurred in 20% with no cases of febrile neutropaenia. Non-haematological toxicities were mild. The recommended MTDs are PLD 12 mg m−2, PCX 100 mg m−2 and GEM 1000 mg m−2 administered every 2 weeks. The PK data revealed no obvious drug interactions. Biweekly administration of PLD, PCX and GEM is a well-tolerated chemotherapy regimen, which merits further evaluation in various types of solid tumours.
PMCID: PMC2359662  PMID: 17551496
doxorubicin; gemcitabine; paclitaxel; pharmacokinetics
16.  Trabectedin in metastatic soft tissue sarcomas: Role of pretreatment and age 
Trabectedin has mostly been studied in metastatic leiomyosarcoma and liposarcomas. Only limited data are available in other sarcoma subtypes, heavily pretreated and elderly patients. We retrospectively analyzed 101 consecutive sarcoma patients treated with trabectedin at our center. We recorded progression-free survival (PFS), clinical benefit rate (CBR, defined as complete or partial response or stable disease for at least 6 weeks) and toxicity. Covariates were sarcoma subtype, age and pretreatment. On average, trabectedin was administered for 2nd relapse/progression (range 1st to 12th line). A median of 2 cycles and a dose of 1.5 mg/m2 (range 1–21 cycles; 1.3–1.5 mg/m2) was administered. The median PFS under treatment with trabectedin was 2.1 months in the overall population. Different clinical outcomes were observed with respect to sarcoma subtypes: in patients with L-sarcoma [defined as leiosarcoma and liposarcoma (n=25)] the CBR was 55%. Notably, long lasting remissions were even observed in 7th-line treatment. In contrast, the majority of patients with non-L-sarcomas quickly progressed (median PFS 1.6 months). Nevertheless, a CBR of 34% was achieved, including long-lasting disease stabilization in subtypes such as rhabdomyosarcoma. Patients treated with trabectedin at 1st or 2nd line (n=16) achieved an improved PFS (median 5.7 months, range) and a CBR of 59%. No differences in terms of toxicity or efficacy were observed between patients older than 65 years (n=23) and younger patients (n=78). In this non-trial setting, port-associated complications were more frequent (14%) with trabectedin compared to other continuous infusion protocols administered at our outpatient therapy center. The majority of patients with relapsing L-sarcomas and a substantial fraction of patients with non-L-sarcomas derive a clinically meaningful benefit from trabectedin. Outpatient treatment is well tolerated also in elderly and heavily pretreated patients. Port-associated complications were observed at an unusually high rate. This suggests a drug-specific local toxicity that merits further investigation.
PMCID: PMC3742158  PMID: 23652821
sarcoma; trabectedin; port complication
17.  Trabectedin therapy as an emerging treatment strategy for recurrent platinum-sensitive ovarian cancer 
Chinese Journal of Cancer  2015;34(1):41-49.
Epithelial ovarian cancer (OC) is a common gynecologic malignancy in women. The standard treatment for OC is maximal cytoreductive surgical debulking followed by platinum-based chemotherapy. Despite the high response rate to primary therapy, approximately 85% of patients will develop recurrent ovarian cancer (ROC). This review identifies the clinical use of trabectedin in the treatment algorithm for ROC, with specific emphasis on platinum-sensitive ROC, for which trabectedin in combination with pegylated liposomal doxorubicin has been approved as a treatment protocol. The main mechanisms of action of trabectedin at the cellular level and in the tumor microenvironment is also discussed as bases for identifying biomarkers for selecting patients who may largely benefit from trabectedin-based therapies.
PMCID: PMC4302088  PMID: 25556617
Trabectedin; ovarian cancer; DNA repair; platinum-sensitive ovarian cancer
18.  Phase I and pharmacokinetic study of trabectedin, a DNA minor groove binder, administered as a 24-h continuous infusion in Japanese patients with soft tissue sarcoma 
Investigational New Drugs  2014;32(4):691-699.
Background Trabectedin is a novel anticancer agent used to treat soft tissue sarcoma (STS). This phase I study of trabectedin was performed to determine the recommended dose for phase II studies in Japanese patients with STS. Methods Patients who had STS refractory to, or who could not tolerate, anthracycline-based chemotherapy were enrolled. The starting dose of trabectedin was 0.9 mg/m2, given as a 24-h continuous infusion every 21 days. The dose was escalated to 1.2 mg/m2 and then to 1.5 mg/m2, using a “3 + 3” cohort expansion design. Plasma samples were collected for pharmacokinetic analysis. Results Fifteen patients received 1 of 3 dose levels of trabectedin. Dose-limiting toxicity occurred in two of three patients at 1.5 mg/m2: 1 had a grade 3 increase in creatine phosphokinase and grade 3 anorexia, and the other had grade 4 platelet count decreased. Frequent grade 3 or 4 adverse events (AEs) included elevations of alanine aminotransferase and aspartate aminotransferase and decrease in neutrophil count. The frequency and severity of AEs were clearly greater at 1.5 mg/m2 than at the lower doses. Pharmacokinetic analysis showed that the area under the concentration-time curve at a dose of 1.2 mg/m2 was adequate to produce antitumor activity. A partial response was obtained in three patients with translocation-related sarcomas (1 each with myxoid liposarcoma, synovial sarcoma, and extraskeletal Ewing sarcoma). Conclusions The recommended dose of trabectedin for phase II studies is 1.2 mg/m2 in Japanese patients with STS. Trabectedin may be especially effective against translocation-related sarcomas.
PMCID: PMC4101250  PMID: 24696229
Pharmacokinetics; Clinical trial phase I; Soft tissue sarcoma; Trabectedin; Chromosomal translocation
19.  A Phase I and Pharmacologic Study of the Combination of Bortezomib and Pegylated Liposomal Doxorubicin in Patients with Refractory Solid Tumors 
Pre-clinical studies combining the proteasome inhibitor bortezomib with anthracyclines have shown enhanced anti-tumor activity. We therefore conducted a phase I trial of bortezomib and pegylated liposomal doxorubicin (PLD) in patients with refractory solid tumors.
Patients received bortezomib, 0.9-1.5 mg/m2, on days 1, 4, 8, and 11 of every 21-day cycle, along with PLD, 30 mg/m2, on day 4. The goals were to determine the dose limiting toxicity (DLT) and maximum tolerated dose (MTD), and to investigate pharmacokinetic and pharmacodynamic interactions of the combination.
A total of 37 patients with 4 median prior therapies were treated. Frequent grade 1-2 toxicities included fatigue, nausea, thrombocytopenia, anemia, neutropenia, constipation, myalgias, and peripheral neuropathy. DLTs included grade 3 nausea and vomiting in 1/6 patients receiving bortezomib at 1.2 mg/m2, and grade 3 nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea in 1/6 patients receiving bortezomib at 1.5 mg/m2. Grade 3 toxicities in later cycles included hand-foot syndrome, thrombocytopenia, anemia, neutropenia, nausea, diarrhea, and abdominal pain. Because of frequent dose-delays, dose-reductions, and gastrointestinal toxicity at the 1.4 and 1.5 mg/m2 levels, bortezomib at 1.3 mg/m2 and PLD at 30 mg/m2 are recommended for further testing. Among 19 patients with breast cancer, four had evidence of a clinical benefit. Pharmacokinetic and pharmacodynamic studies did not show any significant interactions between the two drugs.
A regimen of bortezomib, 1.3 mg/m2 on days 1, 4, 8, and 11 with PLD, 30 mg/m2, on day 4 of a 21-day cycle, was safe in this study, and merits further investigation.
PMCID: PMC4312589  PMID: 18327587
phase I; proteasome inhibition; bortezomib; pegylated liposomal doxorubicin; breast cancer
20.  Multicenter phase II study of trabectedin in patients with metastatic castration-resistant prostate cancer 
Annals of Oncology  2011;23(5):1234-1240.
This multicenter phase II trial evaluated the efficacy and safety of trabectedin in metastatic castration-resistant prostate cancer (CRPC).
Patients and methods:
Two schedules were evaluated in three cohorts: weekly as 3-h i.v. infusion at 0.58 mg/m2 for 3 out of 4 weeks (Cohort A, n = 33), and every 3 weeks (q3wk) as 24-h infusion at 1.5 mg/m2 (Cohort B1, n = 5) and 1.2 mg/m2 (Cohort B2, n = 20). The primary end point was prostate-specific antigen (PSA) response; secondary end points included safety, tolerability and time to progression (TTP).
Trabectedin resulted in PSA declines ≥50% in 12.5% (Cohort A) and 10.5% (Cohort B2) of patients. Among men pretreated with taxane-based chemotherapy, PSA response was 13.6% (Cohort A) and 15.4% (Cohort B2). PSA responses lasted 4.1–8.6 months, and median TTP was 1.5 months (Cohort A) and 1.9 months (Cohort B2). The dose of 1.5 mg/m2 (approved for soft tissue sarcoma) given as 24-h infusion q3wk was not tolerable in these patients. At 1.2 mg/m2 q3wk and 0.58 mg/m2 weekly, the most common adverse events were nausea, fatigue and transient neutropenia and transaminase increase.
Two different trabectedin schedules showed modest activity in metastatic CRPC. Further studies may require identification of predictive factors of response in prostate cancer.
PMCID: PMC3945398  PMID: 21930687
chemotherapy; docetaxel; prostate cancer; second-line; trabectedin
21.  Phase 2 study of canfosfamide in combination with pegylated liposomal doxorubicin in platinum and paclitaxel refractory or resistant epithelial ovarian cancer 
Canfosfamide is a novel glutathione analog activated by glutathione S-transferase P1-1. This study evaluated the safety and efficacy of canfosfamide in combination with pegylated liposomal doxorubicin (PLD) in patients with platinum resistant ovarian cancer. Patients with platinum resistant ovarian carcinoma and measurable disease received canfosfamide at 960 mg/m2 in combination with PLD at 50 mg/m2, intravenously day 1 in every 28 day cycles until tumor progression or unacceptable toxicities. The primary endpoints were objective response rate (ORR) and progression-free survival (PFS).
Canfosfamide plus PLD combination therapy was administered at 960/50 mg/m2, respectively. Thirty-nine patients received a median number of 4 cycles (range 1.0-18.0). The ORR was 27.8% (95% CI, 14.2-45.2) with a disease stabilization rate of 80.6% (95% CI, 64.0-91.8) in the evaluable population. The CA-125 marker responses correlated with the radiological findings of complete response or partial response. The median PFS was 6.0 months (95% CI, 4.2-7.9) and median survival was 17.8 months. The combination was well tolerated. Myelosuppression was managed with dose reductions and growth factor support. Grade 3 febrile neutropenia was observed in 2 patients (5.1%). Non-hematologic adverse events occurred at the expected frequency and grade for each drug alone, with no unexpected or cumulative toxicities.
Canfosfamide in combination with PLD is well tolerated and active in platinum and paclitaxel refractory or resistant ovarian cancer. A randomized phase 3 study was conducted based on this supportive phase 2 study.
Trial Registration
This study was registered at NCT00052065.
PMCID: PMC2851575  PMID: 20222977
22.  Trabectedin plus pegylated liposomal doxorubicin in relapsed ovarian cancer delays third-line chemotherapy and prolongs the platinum-free interval 
Annals of Oncology  2010;22(1):49-58.
Background: OVA-301 is a large randomized trial that showed superiority of trabectedin plus pegylated liposomal doxorubicin (PLD; CentoCor Ortho Biotech Products L.P., Raritan, NJ, USA). over single-agent PLD in 672 patients with relapsed ovarian cancer, particularly in the partially platinum-sensitive subgroup [platinum-free interval (PFI) of 6–12 months]. This superiority has been suggested to be due to the differential impact of subsequent (platinum) therapy.
Patients and methods: A detailed analysis of subsequent therapies and survival outcomes in the overall population and in the subsets according to platinum sensitivity was therefore conducted.
Results: Similar proportions of patients received subsequent therapy in each arm (76% versus 77%), including further platinum-based regimens (49% versus 55%). Patients in the trabectedin/PLD arm received subsequent chemotherapy at a later time (median delay 2.5 months versus PLD arm). Overall survival from subsequent platinum was significantly prolonged in the partially platinum-sensitive disease subset (hazard ratio = 0.63; P = 0.0357).
Conclusion: The superiority of trabectedin/PLD over single-agent PLD in OVA-301 cannot be explained by differences in the extent or nature of subsequent therapies administered to these patients. On the other hand, these exploratory analyses support the hypothesis that the enhanced survival benefits in the partially platinum-sensitive subset might be due to an extended PFI leading to longer survival with subsequent platinum.
PMCID: PMC3003617  PMID: 20643863
pegylated liposomal doxorubicin; platinum-free interval; relapsed ovarian cancer; trabectedin
23.  The safety parameters of the study on intraductal cytotoxic agent delivery to the breast before mastectomy 
Intraductal administration of cytotoxic agents has been shown to inhibit the development of breast cancer in animal models. The object of this study was to demonstrate the safety of intraductal delivery cytotoxic agents in patients prior to mastectomy. This method is hopeful to be developed as a chemoprevention approach in patients with pre-malignant or non-invasive ductal lesions to prevent breast cancer which will be further developed.
Two drugs, pegylated liposomal doxorubicin (PLD) and carboplatin were administered at three dose levels (PLD: 10, 20, 50 mg and carboplatin 60, 120, 300 mg). There were five subjects in each group with 15 subjects treated with each drug once. Venous blood samples were obtained for pharmacokinetic analysis. The breast was removed surgically 2-5 days post administration and the treated ducts were marked to enable identification on pathological evaluation.
Intraductal administration was generally well-tolerated with mild, transient breast discomfort. In the carboplatin arm, three women at the 300 mg dose experienced mild nausea and vomiting. In the PLD arm most women had mild erythema and swelling of the breast over the 72 hours following the drug administration. Patients receiving the 50 mg dose experienced local erythema until the time of surgery. Pharmacokinetic analysis showed that carboplatin rapidly entered systemic circulation with an early peak time (Tmax ~30 min) with a corresponding plasma ultrafiltrate area under the curve (AUC) consistent with the Calvert Formula using estimated glomerular filtration rate (GFR). Total plasma doxorubicin had delayed peak concentration times (Tmax >48 hours) with a linear dose response and peak concentrations substantially lower than expected from equivalent intravenous injection dosing. No doxorubicinol metabolite was detected in the plasma.
This study demonstrates that cytotoxic drugs can be safely administered into breast ducts with minimal toxicity.
PMCID: PMC4220263  PMID: 25400424
Safety; intraductal therapy; cytotoxic agents; breast cancer
24.  Trabectedin, a drug acting on both cancer cells and the tumour microenvironment 
British Journal of Cancer  2014;111(4):646-650.
Trabectedin is the first marine-derived anti-neoplastic drug approved for the treatment of advanced soft tissue sarcoma and, in combination with pegylated liposomal doxorubicin, for the treatment of patients with relapsed platinum-sensitive ovarian cancer. From the beginning of its development, trabectedin showed some peculiar properties that clearly distinguished it from other anti-cancer drugs. In this mini-review, we will outline the current state of knowledge regarding the mode of action of trabectedin, which appears to represent a new class of anti-neoplastic drugs acting both on cancer cells and on the tumour microenvironment.
PMCID: PMC4134488  PMID: 24755886
trabectedin; sarcoma; macrophages; microenvironment
25.  Kinetic Targeting of pegylated liposomal Doxorubicin: a new Approach to Reduce Toxicity during Chemotherapy (CARL-trial) 
BMC Cancer  2011;11:337.
The therapeutic success of chemotherapeutic agents is often limited by severe adverse effects. To reduce toxicity of these drugs, nanoscale particle-based drug delivery systems (DDS) are used. DDS accumulate to some extent in tumor tissues, but only a very small portion of a given dose reaches this target. Accumulation of DDS in tumor tissues is supposed to be much faster than in certain other tissues in which side effects occur ("Kinetic Targeting"). Once saturation in tumor tissue is achieved, most of the administered DDS still circulate in the plasma. The extracorporeal elimination of these circulating nanoparticles would probably reduce toxicity.
For the CARL-trial (Controlled Application and Removal of Liposomal chemotherapeutics), pegylated liposomal doxorubicin (PLD) was used as chemotherapeutic agent and double filtration plasmapheresis (DFPP) was performed for extracorporeal elimination of liposomes. PLD was given as 40 mg/m2 every 3 weeks in combination with vinorelbine 2 × 25 mg/m2 (neoadjuvant treatment of breast cancer, 12 patients), or as 40 mg/m2 every 4 weeks (recurrent ovarian cancer, 3 patients). Primary endpoints were the efficiency and safety profile of DFPP, and secondary endpoints were side effects and tumor response.
DFPP eliminated ~62% of circulating PLD, corresponding to ~45% of the total dose (n = 57 cycles). AUC of doxorubicin was reduced by 50%. No leakage of doxorubicin was detected during elimination, and no relevant DFPP-related side effects occurred. Reduction in tumor size > 30% occurred in 10/12 (neoadjuvant) and in 1/3 patients (recurrent). Only five grade 2 events and one grade 3 event (mucositis, neutropenia or leucopenia) and a single palmar-plantar erythrodysesthesia grade 2 were reported.
Extracorporeal elimination of PLD by DFPP is safe and efficient. CARL can diminish the main dose-limiting side effects of PLD, and probably many different DDS alike.
Trial registration
PMCID: PMC3175222  PMID: 21816044

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