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1.  Phase II Study of Irinotecan and Temozolomide in Children With Relapsed or Refractory Neuroblastoma: A Children's Oncology Group Study 
Journal of Clinical Oncology  2010;29(2):208-213.
Purpose
This phase II study was conducted to determine the response rate associated with use of irinotecan and temozolomide for children with relapsed/refractory neuroblastoma.
Patients and Methods
Patients with relapsed/refractory neuroblastoma measurable by cross-sectional imaging (stratum 1) or assessable by bone marrow aspirate/biopsy or metaiodobenzylguanidine (MIBG) scan (stratum 2) received irinotecan (10 mg/m2/dose 5 days a week for 2 weeks) and temozolomide (100 mg/m2/dose for 5 days) every 3 weeks. Response was assessed after three and six courses using International Neuroblastoma Response Criteria. Of the first 25 evaluable patients on a given stratum, five or more patients with complete or partial responses were required to conclude that further study would be merited.
Results
Fifty-five eligible patients were enrolled. The objective response rate was 15%. Fourteen patients (50%) on stratum 1 and 15 patients (56%) on stratum 2 had stable disease. Objective responses were observed in three of the first 25 evaluable patients on stratum 1 and five of the first 25 evaluable patients on stratum 2. Less than 6% of patients experienced ≥ grade 3 diarrhea. Although neutropenia was observed, less than 10% of patients developed evidence of infection while neutropenic.
Conclusion
The combination of irinotecan and temozolomide was well tolerated. The objective response rate of 19% in stratum 2 suggests that this combination may be effective for patients with neuroblastoma detectable by MIBG or marrow analysis. Although fewer objective responses were observed in patients with disease measurable by computed tomography/magnetic resonance imaging, patients in both strata seem to have derived clinical benefit from this therapy.
doi:10.1200/JCO.2010.31.7107
PMCID: PMC3058276  PMID: 21115869
2.  Antitumor Activity of Hu14.18-IL2 in Patients With Relapsed/Refractory Neuroblastoma: A Children's Oncology Group (COG) Phase II Study 
Journal of Clinical Oncology  2010;28(33):4969-4975.
Purpose
The hu14.18-IL2 fusion protein consists of interleukin-2 molecularly linked to a humanized monoclonal antibody that recognizes the GD2 disialoganglioside expressed on neuroblastoma cells. This phase II study assessed the antitumor activity of hu14.18-IL2 in two strata of patients with recurrent or refractory neuroblastoma.
Patients and Methods
Hu14.18-IL2 was given intravenously (12 mg/m2/daily) for 3 days every 4 weeks for patients with disease measurable by standard radiographic criteria (stratum 1) and for patients with disease evaluable only by [123I]metaiodobenzylguanidine (MIBG) scintigraphy and/or bone marrow (BM) histology (stratum 2). Response was established by independent radiology review as well as BM histology and immunocytology, and durability was assessed by repeat evaluation after more than 3 weeks.
Results
Thirty-nine patients were enrolled (36 evaluable). No responses were seen in stratum 1 (n = 13). Of 23 evaluable patients in stratum 2, five patients (21.7%) responded; all had a complete response (CR) of 9, 13, 20, 30, and 35+ months duration. Grade 3 and 4 nonhematologic toxicities included capillary leak, hypoxia, pain, rash, allergic reaction, elevated transaminases, and hyperbilirubinemia. Two patients required dopamine for hypotension, and one patient required ventilatory support for hypoxia. Most toxicities were reversible within a few days of completing a treatment course and were expected based on phase I results.
Conclusion
Patients with disease evaluable only by MIBG and/or BM histology had a 21.7% CR rate to hu14.8-IL2, whereas patients with bulky disease did not respond. Hu14.18-IL2 warrants further testing in children with nonbulky high-risk neuroblastoma.
doi:10.1200/JCO.2009.27.8861
PMCID: PMC3020698  PMID: 20921469
3.  Phase II Study of Fenretinide (NSC 374551) in Adults With Recurrent Malignant Gliomas: A North American Brain Tumor Consortium Study 
Purpose
Fenretinide induces apoptosis in malignant gliomas in vitro. This two-stage phase II trial was conducted to determine the efficacy of fenretinide in adults with recurrent malignant gliomas.
Patients and Methods
Twenty-two patients with anaplastic gliomas (AG) and 23 patients with glioblastoma (GBM) whose tumors had recurred after radiotherapy and no more than two chemotherapy regimens were enrolled. Fenretinide was given orally on days 1 to 7 and 22 to 28 in 6-week cycles in doses of 600 or 900 mg/m2 bid.
Results
Six of 21 (29%) patients in the AG arm and two of 23 (9%) patients in the GBM arm had stable disease at 6 months. One patient with AG treated at 900 mg/m2 bid dosage had a partial radiologic response. Median progression-free survival (PFS) was 6 weeks for the AG arm and 6 weeks for the GBM arm. PFS at 6 months was 10% for the AG arm and 0% for the GBM arm. Grade 1 or 2 fatigue, dryness of skin, anemia, and hypoalbuminemia were the most frequent toxicities reported. The trial was closed after the first stage because of the inadequate activity at the fenretinide doses used. The first-administration mean plasma Cmax for fenretinide was 832 ± 360 ng/mL at the 600 mg/m2 bid dosage and 1,213 ± 261 ng/mL at the 900 mg/m2 bid dosage.
Conclusion
Fenretinide was inactive against recurrent malignant gliomas at the dosage used in this trial. However, additional studies using higher doses of the agent are warranted based on the tolerability of the agent and the potential for activity of a higher fenretinide dosage, as suggested in this trial.
doi:10.1200/JCO.2004.09.096
PMCID: PMC3820102  PMID: 15514370
4.  Combination of Cladribine plus Topotecan for Relapsed or Refractory Pediatric Acute Myeloid Leukemia 
Cancer  2010;116(1):98-105.
BACKGROUND
The prognosis after relapse of pediatric acute myeloid leukemia (AML) is poor and effective salvage regimens are urgently needed.
METHODS
In Phase I and pilot studies, we evaluated the maximum tolerated dose (MTD) and dose-limiting toxicities (DLTs) of a 5-day course of cladribine (2-CDA) followed by topotecan in pediatric patients with relapsed/refractory AML. The 2-CDA dose was escalated as follows: 9.1, 13.6, 16.3, and 19.5 mg/m2 per day (8.9 mg/m2 per day in the pilot study). Outcome was analyzed according to the absence (stratum 1) vs. presence (stratum 2) of previous allogeneic hematopoietic stem cell transplantation. Twenty-six patients (20 in stratum 1, 6 in stratum 2) were treated.
RESULTS
The MTD was not reached in stratum 1, but DLT occurred at the lowest 2-CDA dosage (9.1 mg/m2 per day) in stratum 2. Febrile neutropenia was common in both strata. Nine (34.6%) of 26 patients experienced a complete response and 7 (30.4%) had a partial response; 5 (19.2%) are long-term survivors. Clinical outcome was not associated with 2-CDA or topotecan systemic exposure.
CONCLUSION
The combination was well tolerated in stratum 1, and the response rate is encouraging. This regimen offers a post-relapse treatment alternative for patients, especially those who have received anthracycline-containing chemotherapy.
doi:10.1002/cncr.24712
PMCID: PMC2920745  PMID: 19885837
acute myeloid leukemia; cladribine; pediatric; relapse; topotecan
5.  Probable fatal drug interaction between intravenous fenretinide, ceftriaxone, and acetaminophen: a case report from a New Approaches to Neuroblastoma (NANT) Phase I study 
BMC Research Notes  2014;7:256.
Background
Patients with relapsed/refractory stage 4 high-risk neuroblastoma were enrolled on a phase I study (NANT2004-03) of intravenous fenretinide emulsion. Pharmacokinetic samples were collected during and after the infusion, and the levels were measured using an HPLC system. A likely case of a fatal drug interaction between fenretinide, ceftriaxone, and acetaminophen is described, including the pharmacokinetics of fenretinide, laboratory data, and post-mortem autopsy in a pediatric neuroblastoma patient treated on this study.
Case presentation
On Day 4 of a scheduled 5-day-infusion of intravenous fenretinide, the patient developed a fever, acetaminophen was started, ceftriaxone initiated for possible bacteremia, and fenretinide level doubled from 56 to 110 μM. Over the next three days, although blood cultures remained negative, the patient’s condition deteriorated rapidly. Acute liver failure was diagnosed on Day 7, and the patient expired on Day 20 of fulminant hepatic failure with associated renal, cardiac, and hemorrhagic/coagulation toxicities. Autopsy showed extensive hemorrhagic necrosis of the liver, marked bile duct proliferation, and abundant hemosiderin, consistent with cholestasis and drug toxicity.
Conclusions
After extensive review of patient data, the clinical course, and the literature, we conclude that observed hepatic toxicity was likely due to a drug interaction between fenretinide and concomitant ceftriaxone and acetaminophen. None of the other 16 patients treated on this study experienced significant hepatic toxicity. Although the prevalence of cholestasis with ceftriaxone usage is relatively high, the potential drug interaction with these concomitant medications has not been previously reported. Concomitant use of fenretinide, ceftriaxone, and acetaminophen should be avoided.
doi:10.1186/1756-0500-7-256
PMCID: PMC4006848  PMID: 24755475
Ceftriaxone; Fenretinide; Acetaminophen; Drug interaction; Biliary sludge; Fulminant hepatic failure
6.  Phase 2 study of idarubicin in pediatric brain tumors: Pediatric Oncology Group study POG 9237. 
Neuro-Oncology  2003;5(4):261-267.
Idarubicin (IDA), the 4-demethoxy analog of daunomycin, has had significant cytotoxicity in many malignancies. In previous reports, the alcohol metabolite of IDA, 4-demethoxydaunorubicinol (idarubicinol, or IDOL), had cytotoxic activity and the ability to penetrate the blood-brain barrier. For this reason, the Pediatric Oncology Group conducted a Phase 2 trial of IDA for children with recurrent or progressive brain tumors. Ninety-one eligible children were entered on this study, with ages ranging from 3 months to 19 years. Patients were stratified by tumor types into 6 categories: stratum 1, low-grade astrocytoma; stratum 2, malignant glioma (glioblastoma multiforme and anaplastic astrocytoma); stratum 3, medulloblastoma; stratum 4, brainstem glioma; stratum 5, ependymoma; and stratum 6, miscellaneous malignant tumors not included in the previous diagnoses. IDA(18 mg/m2) was infused over 4 h and followed by granulocyte colony-stimulating factor (G-CSF) beginning day 5 after infusion of IDA. G-CSF was continued until blood cell count recovery. Cycles were repeated at approximately 21-day intervals until patients developed progressive disease or had completed 6 cycles with stable or improved disease. Pharmacokinetic plasma and cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) samples were collected from a subset of these patients. Response was poor in all strata. Most patients developed progressive disease; however, in 21 patients with medulloblastoma there was 1 partial response, and 6 patients had stable disease (SD) that in 4 patients lasted more than 20 weeks. Grades 3/4 hematopoietic toxicities were the most common toxic events, and 14 infection-related events resulted in hospitalization of patients. Only 1 patient developed reduced cardiac function. The systemic clearance data for IDA and IDOL were nearly identical to those published on patients with leukemia, and the plasma elimination of the IDOL metabolite was substantially longer than that of the parent drug IDA. The peak CSF:plasma ratios of IDA and IDOL were very low. The overall response rates to IDA were disappointing despite periods of prolonged SD in nearly a fourth of the patients. We conclude from this data and from that in nonhuman primates that it is unlikely that IDA, daunomycin, or other related anthracyclines will be useful for treating primary CNS tumors.
doi:10.1215/S115285170200056X
PMCID: PMC1920677  PMID: 14565163
7.  Phase I Trial of Lapatinib in Children With Refractory CNS Malignancies: A Pediatric Brain Tumor Consortium Study 
Journal of Clinical Oncology  2010;28(27):4221-4227.
Purpose
To estimate the maximum-tolerated dose, dose-limiting toxicities (DLTs), and pharmacokinetic properties of lapatinib, a selective epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) and ERBB2 inhibitor, in children with refractory or recurrent CNS malignancies.
Patients and Methods
Lapatinib was administered orally twice daily at escalating doses starting at 300 mg/m2 to patients who were not (stratum I) or were (stratum II) receiving steroids. Pharmacokinetic studies were performed during the first two courses. Expression of the four ERBB receptors and downstream signaling elements in tumor tissue was evaluated by immunohistochemistry.
Results
Fifty-nine patients were enrolled (stratum I, n = 32; stratum II, n = 27). Of 29 patients evaluable for toxicity in stratum I, one experienced a DLT (diarrhea) at 520 mg/m2 twice daily, and all three receiving 1,150 mg/m2 twice daily experienced DLTs (one each of rash, diarrhea, and fatigue). Two of 21 patients evaluable for toxicity in stratum II experienced DLTs of rash at 900 mg/m2 twice daily. Lapatinib dosage was related linearly to area under the [concentration-time] curve from start time to 12 hours later (AUC0-12) and dose-normalized maximum serum concentration and AUC values for patients in stratum II were both significantly higher (P = .001) than those for patients in stratum I. Frequent, high-level expression of activated (phosphorylated) EGFR and ERBB2 receptors and downstream signal intermediates were observed in tumors, particularly in ependymomas that displayed prolonged stable disease on lapatinib therapy.
Conclusion
Lapatinib is well tolerated in children with recurrent CNS malignancies, with rash, diarrhea, and fatigue identified as DLTs. The recommended phase II dose, regardless of steroid use, is 900 mg/m2 twice daily.
doi:10.1200/JCO.2010.28.4687
PMCID: PMC2953974  PMID: 20713864
8.  Phase I Pharmacokinetic and Pharmacodynamic Study of the Multikinase Inhibitor Sorafenib in Combination With Clofarabine and Cytarabine in Pediatric Relapsed/Refractory Leukemia 
Journal of Clinical Oncology  2011;29(24):3293-3300.
Purpose
To assess the toxicity, pharmacokinetics, and pharmacodynamics of multikinase inhibitor sorafenib in combination with clofarabine and cytarabine in children with relapsed/refractory leukemia.
Patients and Methods
Twelve patients with acute leukemia (11 with acute myeloid leukemia [AML]) received sorafenib on days 1 to 7 and then concurrently with cytarabine (1 g/m2) and clofarabine (stratum one: 40 mg/m2, n = 10; stratum two [recent transplantation or fungal infection]: 20 mg/m2, n = 2) on days 8 to 12. Sorafenib was continued until day 28 if tolerated. Two sorafenib dose levels (200 mg/m2 and 150 mg/m2 twice daily) were planned. Sorafenib pharmacokinetic and pharmacodynamic studies were performed on days 7 and 8.
Results
At sorafenib 200 mg/m2, two of four patients in stratum one and one of two patients in stratum two had grade 3 hand-foot skin reaction and/or rash as dose-limiting toxicities (DLTs). No DLTs were observed in six patients in stratum one at sorafenib 150 mg/m2. Sorafenib inhibited the phosphorylation of AKT, S6 ribosomal protein, and 4E-BP1 in leukemia cells. The rate of sorafenib conversion to its metabolite sorafenib N-oxide was high (mean, 33%; range, 17% to 69%). In vitro, the N-oxide potently inhibited FLT3–internal tandem duplication (ITD; binding constant, 70 nmol/L) and the viability of five AML cell lines. On day 8, sorafenib decreased blast percentages in 10 of 12 patients (median, 66%; range, 9% to 95%). After combination chemotherapy, six patients (three FLT3-ITD and three FLT3 wild-type AML) achieved complete remission, two (both FLT3-ITD AML) had complete remission with incomplete blood count recovery, and one (FLT3 wild-type AML) had partial remission.
Conclusion
Sorafenib in combination with clofarabine and cytarabine is tolerable and shows activity in relapsed/refractory pediatric AML.
doi:10.1200/JCO.2011.34.7427
PMCID: PMC3158600  PMID: 21768474
9.  Phase I Study of Decitabine with Doxorubicin and Cyclophosphamide in Children with Neuroblastoma and Other Solid Tumors: A Children’s Oncology Group Study 
Pediatric blood & cancer  2010;55(4):629-638.
Background
Demethylating agents may alter the expression of genes involved in chemotherapy resistance. We conducted a phase I trial to determine the toxicity and molecular effects of the demethylating agent, decitabine, followed by doxorubicin and cyclophosphamide in children with refractory solid tumors.
Procedure
Stratum A included children with any solid tumor; Stratum B included neuroblastoma patients only. Patients received a 1-hour decitabine infusion for 7 days, followed by doxorubicin (45mg/m2) and cyclophosphamide (1g/m2) on day 7. Pharmacokinetic studies were performed after the first dose of decitabine. Biological studies included methylation and gene expression analyses of caspase-8, MAGE-1 and fetal hemoglobin (HbF), and expression profiling of pre- and post-treatment peripheral blood and bone marrow cells.
Results
The maximum-tolerated dose of decitabine was 5 mg/m2/d for 7 days. Dose-limiting toxicities at 10 mg/m2/d were neutropenia and thrombocytopenia. Decitabine exhibited rapid clearance from plasma. Three of 9 patients in Stratum A and 4/12 patients in Stratum B had stable disease for ≥4 months. Sustained MAGE-1 demethylation and increased HbF expression were observed in the majority of patients post-treatment (12/20 and 14/16 respectively). Caspase-8 promoter demethylation and gene expression were seen in 2/7 bone marrow samples. Differentially expressed genes were identified by microarray analysis.
Conclusion
Low-dose decitabine when combined with doxorubicin/cyclophosphamide has tolerable toxicity in children. However, doses of decitabine capable of producing clinically relevant biologic effects were not well tolerated with this combination. Alternative strategies of combining demethylating agents with non-cytotoxic, biologically targeted agents such as histone deactelyase inhibitors should be explored.
doi:10.1002/pbc.22607
PMCID: PMC3025700  PMID: 20589651
demethylation; decitabine; pediatric solid tumor; neuroblastoma
10.  Phase I Study of SU5416, a Small Molecule Inhibitor of the Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor Receptor (VEGFR) in Refractory Pediatric Central Nervous System Tumors 
Pediatric blood & cancer  2009;52(2):169-176.
SU5416 is a novel small molecule tyrosine kinase inhibitor of the VEGF receptors 1 and 2. A phase I dose escalation study stratified by concurrent use (stratum II) or absence (Stratum I) of enzyme-inducing anticonvulsant drugs was undertaken to estimate the maximum-tolerated dose (MTD) and to describe the toxicity profile of SU5416 in pediatric patients with refractory brain tumors. Dose escalations were conducted independently for stratum I starting at 110mg/m2 while stratum II started at 48mg/m2. Thirty-three eligible patients were treated on stratum I (n=23) and stratum II (n=10). Tumor types included 23 glial tumors, 4 neural tumors, 4 ependymomas and 2 choroid plexus carcinomas. The MTD in Stratum I was initially estimated to be 110mg/m2. The protocol was amended to determine the MTD after excluding transient AST elevation. Re-estimation of the MTD began at the 145mg/m2 dose level but due to development of SU5416 being stopped by the sponsor, the trial was closed before completion. The most serious drug-related toxicities were grade 3 liver enzyme abnormalities, arthralgia and hallucinations. The plasma pharmacokinetics of SU5416 was not significantly affected by the concurrent administration of enzyme-inducing anticonvulsant drugs. Mean values of the total body clearance, apparent volume of distribution, and terminal phase half-life of SU5416 for the 19 patients in Stratum I were 26.1 ± 12.5 liter/h/m2, 41.9 ± 21.4 liter/m2, and 1.11 ± 0.41 h, respectively. The plasma pharmacokinetics of SU5416 in children was similar to previously reported findings in adult cancer patients. Prolonged disease stabilization was observed in 4 of 16 stratum 1 patients.
doi:10.1002/pbc.21873
PMCID: PMC2775441  PMID: 19065567
VEGF; Anti-angiogenesis; Brain tumor; SU5416
11.  Evaluation of a mucoadhesive fenretinide patch for local intraoral delivery: a strategy to reintroduce fenretinide for oral cancer chemoprevention 
Carcinogenesis  2012;33(5):1098-1105.
Systemic delivery of fenretinide in oral cancer chemoprevention trials has been largely unsuccessful due to dose-limiting toxicities and subtherapeutic intraoral drug levels. Local drug delivery, however, provides site-specific therapeutically relevant levels while minimizing systemic exposure. These studies evaluated the pharmacokinetic and growth-modulatory parameters of fenretinide mucoadhesive patch application on rabbit buccal mucosa. Fenretinide and blank-control patches were placed on right/left buccal mucosa, respectively, in eight rabbits (30 min, q.d., 10 days). No clinical or histological deleterious effects occurred. LC-MS/MS analyses of post-treatment samples revealed a delivery gradient with highest fenretinide levels achieved at the patch-mucosal interface (no metabolites), pharmacologically active levels in fenretinide-treated oral mucosa (mean: 5.65 μM; trace amounts of 4-oxo-4-HPR) and undetectable sera levels. Epithelial markers for cell proliferation (Ki-67), terminal differentiation (transglutaminase 1—TGase1) and glucuronidation (UDP-glucuronosyltransferase1A1—UGT1A1) exhibited fenretinide concentration-specific relationships (elevated TGase1 and UGT1A1 levels <5 μM, reduced Ki-67 indices >5μM) relative to blank-treated epithelium. All fenretinide-treated tissues showed significantly increased intraepithelial apoptosis (TUNEL) positivity, implying activation of intersecting apoptotic and differentiation pathways. Human oral mucosal correlative studies showed substantial interdonor variations in levels of the enzyme (cytochrome P450 3A4—CYP3A4) responsible for conversion of fenretinide to its highly active metabolite, 4-oxo-4-HPR. Complementary in vitro assays in human oral keratinocytes revealed fenretinide and 4-oxo-4-HPR’s preferential suppression of DNA synthesis in dysplastic as opposed to normal oral keratinocytes. Collectively, these data showed that mucoadhesive patch-mediated fenretinide delivery is a viable strategy to reintroduce a compound known to induce keratinocyte differentiation to human oral cancer chemoprevention trials.
doi:10.1093/carcin/bgs122
PMCID: PMC3334520  PMID: 22427354
12.  A Phase II Study of O6-Benzylguanine and Temozolomide in Pediatric Patients with Recurrent or Progressive High Grade Gliomas and Brainstem Gliomas: A Pediatric Brain Tumor Consortium Study 
Journal of neuro-oncology  2011;106(3):643-649.
Purpose
To estimate the sustained (≥8 weeks) objective response rate in pediatric patients with recurrent or progressive high-grade gliomas (HGG, Stratum A) or brainstem gliomas (BSG, Stratum B) treated with the combination of O6-benzylguanine (O6BG) and temozolomide® (TMZ).
Patients and Methods
Patients received O6BG 120 mg/m2/d IV followed by TMZ 75 mg/m2/d orally daily for 5 consecutive days of each 28-day course. The target objective response rate to consider the combination active was 17%. A two-stage design was employed.
Results
Forty-three patients were enrolled; 41 were evaluable for response, including 25 patients with HGG and 16 patients with BSG. The combination of O6BG and TMZ was tolerable, and the primary toxicities were myelosuppression and gastrointestinal symptoms. One sustained (≥8 weeks) partial response was observed in the HGG cohort; no sustained objective responses were observed in the BSG cohort. Long-term (≥6 courses) stable disease (SD) was observed in 4 patients in Stratum A and 1 patient in Stratum B. Of the 5 patients with objective response or long-term SD, 3 underwent central review with 2 reclassified as low-grade gliomas.
Conclusions
The combination of O6BG and TMZ did not achieve the target response rate for activity in pediatric patients with recurrent or progressive HGG and BSG.
doi:10.1007/s11060-011-0709-z
PMCID: PMC3518022  PMID: 21968943
glioma; pediatric; resistance; alkylating agent; brainstem glioma; AGT; MGMT
13.  Lack of Efficacy of Bevacizumab Plus Irinotecan in Children With Recurrent Malignant Glioma and Diffuse Brainstem Glioma: A Pediatric Brain Tumor Consortium Study 
Journal of Clinical Oncology  2010;28(18):3069-3075.
Purpose
A phase II study of bevacizumab (BVZ) plus irinotecan (CPT-11) was conducted in children with recurrent malignant glioma (MG) and intrinsic brainstem glioma (BSG).
Patients and Methods
Eligible patients received two doses of BVZ intravenously (10 mg/kg) 2 weeks apart and then BVZ plus CPT-11 every 2 weeks until progressive disease, unacceptable toxicity, or a maximum of 2 years of therapy. Correlative studies included diffusion weighted and T1 dynamic contrast–enhanced permeability imaging, BVZ pharmacokinetics, and estimation of vascular endothelial growth factor receptor 2 (VEGFR-2) phosphorylation in peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMC) after single-agent BVZ.
Results
Thirty-one evaluable patients received a median of two courses of BVZ plus CPT-11 (range, 1 to 19). No sustained responses were observed in either stratum. Median time to progression for all 34 eligible patients enrolled was 127 days for MG and 71 days for BSG. Progression-free survival rates at 6 months were 41.8% and 9.7% for MG and BSG, respectively. Toxicities related to BVZ included grade 1 to 3 fatigue in seven patients, grade 1 to 2 hypertension in seven patients, grade 1 CNS hemorrhage in four patients, and grade 4 CNS ischemia in two patients. The mean diffusion ratio decreased after two doses of BVZ in patients with MG only. Vascular permeability parameters did not change significantly after therapy in either stratum. Inhibition of VEGFR-2 phosphorylation in PBMC was detected in eight of 11 patients after BVZ exposure.
Conclusion
BVZ plus CPT-11 was well-tolerated but had minimal efficacy in children with recurrent malignant glioma and brainstem glioma.
doi:10.1200/JCO.2009.26.8789
PMCID: PMC2903337  PMID: 20479404
14.  Fenretinide-induced caspase-8 activation and apoptosis in an established model of metastatic neuroblastoma 
BMC Cancer  2009;9:97.
Background
Resistance of high-risk metastatic neuroblastoma (HR-NB) to high dose chemotherapy (HD-CT) raises a major therapeutic challenge in pediatric oncology. Patients are treated by maintenance CT. For some patients, an adjuvant retinoid therapy is proposed, such as the synthetic retinoid fenretinide (4-HPR), an apoptotic inducer. Recent studies demonstrated that NB metastasis process is enhanced by the loss of caspase-8 involved in the Integrin-Mediated Death (IMD) process. As the role of caspase-8 appears to be critical in preventing metastasis, we aimed at studying the effect of 4-HPR on caspase-8 expression in metastatic neuroblasts.
Methods
We used the human IGR-N-91 MYCN-amplified NB experimental model, able to disseminate in vivo from the primary nude mouse tumor xenograft (PTX) into myocardium (Myoc) and bone marrow (BM) of the animal. NB cell lines, i.e., IGR-N-91 and SH-EP, were treated with various doses of Fenretinide (4-HPR), then cytotoxicity was analyzed by MTS proliferation assay, apoptosis by the propidium staining method, gene or protein expressions by RT-PCR and immunoblotting and caspases activity by colorimetric protease assays.
Results
The IGR-N-91 parental cells do not express detectable caspase-8. However the PTX cells established from the primary tumor in the mouse, are caspase-8 positive. In contrast, metastatic BM and Myoc cells show a clear down-regulation of the caspase-8 expression. In parallel, the caspases -3, -9, -10, Bcl-2, or Bax expressions were unchanged. Our data show that in BM, compared to PTX cells, 4-HPR up-regulates caspase-8 expression that parallels a higher sensitivity to apoptotic cell death. Stable caspase-8-silenced SH-EP cells appear more resistant to 4-HPR-induced cell death compared to control SH-EP cells. Moreover, 4-HPR synergizes with drugs since apoptosis is restored in VP16- or TRAIL-resistant-BM cells. These results demonstrate that 4-HPR in up-regulating caspase-8 expression, restores and induces apoptotic cell death in metastatic neuroblasts through caspase-8 activation.
Conclusion
This study provides basic clues for using fenretinide in clinical treatment of HR-NB patients. Moreover, since 4-HPR induces cell death in caspase-8 negative NB, it also challenges the concept of including 4-HPR in the induction of CT of these patients.
doi:10.1186/1471-2407-9-97
PMCID: PMC2670318  PMID: 19331667
15.  Sorafenib in Patients with Platinum Treated Extensive Stage Small Cell Lung Cancer (SCLC): A Southwest Oncology Group (SWOG 0435) Phase II Trial 
Introduction
Sorafenib is a multi-kinase inhibitor affecting pathways involved in tumor progression and angiogenesis. We conducted a phase II trial of Sorafenib in platinum-treated extensive stage small cell lung cancer (SCLC) patients to determine the tumor response rate, toxicity and overall survival.
Methods
Patients with histologically confirmed, measurable disease, Zubrod performance status 0–1 and no more than 1 prior platinum based treatment were eligible. Patients were stratified by platinum-sensitivity status: sensitive (progression >90 days after platinum) or refractory (progression during or ≤90 days after platinum). Pts were treated with sorafenib 400mg PO BID continuously on a 28 day cycle.
Results
Of 89 pts registered; 82 were evaluable for toxicity assessment and 83 were evaluable for response There were 4 partial responses seen among the 38 patients in the platinum sensitive stratum, for an estimated response rate of 11% (95% confidence interval: 3% – 25%); and one partial response among the 45 patients in the platinum refractory stratum for an estimated response rate of 2% (95% confidence interval: 0% – 12%). The median overall survival estimates were 5.3 months (95% confidence interval: 3.3–7.5 months) and 6.7 months (95% confidence interval: 6.1–9.1 months) for the platinum-refractory and platinum-sensitive strata respectively. Nineteen patients discontinued treatment due to adverse events or side effects from therapy.
Conclusions
Based on the lack of disease control seen in our trial, further investigation of single-agent sorafenib in the SCLC population is not recommended. Combination trials of Sorafenib and chemotherapy are ongoing.
doi:10.1097/JTO.0b013e3181f0bd78
PMCID: PMC3676180  PMID: 20881645
Sorafenib; Platinum Treated; Lung Cancer
16.  Therapy of acute wounds with water-filtered infrared-A (wIRA) 
Water-filtered infrared-A (wIRA) as a special form of heat radiation with a high tissue penetration and with a low thermal load to the skin surface acts both by thermal and thermic as well as by non-thermal and non-thermic effects. wIRA produces a therapeutically usable field of heat in the tissue and increases tissue temperature, tissue oxygen partial pressure, and tissue perfusion. These three factors are decisive for a sufficient tissue supply with energy and oxygen and consequently as well for wound healing and infection defense.
wIRA can considerably alleviate the pain (with remarkably less need for analgesics) and diminish an elevated wound exudation and inflammation and can show positive immunomodulatory effects. wIRA can advance wound healing or improve an impaired wound healing both in acute and in chronic wounds including infected wounds. Even the normal wound healing process can be improved.
A prospective, randomized, controlled, double-blind study with 111 patients after major abdominal surgery at the University Hospital Heidelberg, Germany, showed with 20 minutes irradiation twice a day (starting on the second postoperative day) in the group with wIRA and visible light VIS (wIRA(+VIS), approximately 75% wIRA, 25% VIS) compared to a control group with only VIS a significant and relevant pain reduction combined with a markedly decreased required dose of analgesics: during 230 single irradiations with wIRA(+VIS) the pain decreased without any exception (median of decrease of pain on postoperative days 2-6 was 13.4 on a 100 mm visual analog scale VAS 0-100), while pain remained unchanged in the control group (p<0.001). The required dose of analgesics was 57-70% lower in the subgroups with wIRA(+VIS) compared to the control subgroups with only VIS (median 598 versus 1398 ml ropivacaine, p<0.001, for peridural catheter analgesia; 31 versus 102 mg piritramide, p=0.001, for patient-controlled analgesia; 3.4 versus 10.2 g metamizole, p=0.005, for intravenous and oral analgesia). During irradiation with wIRA(+VIS) the subcutaneous oxygen partial pressure rose markedly by approximately 30% and the subcutaneous temperature by approximately 2.7°C (both in a tissue depth of 2 cm), whereas both remained unchanged in the control group: after irradiation the median of the subcutaneous oxygen partial pressure was 41.6 (with wIRA) versus 30.2 mm Hg in the control group (p<0.001), the median of the subcutaneous temperature was 38.9 versus 36.4°C (p<0.001). The overall evaluation of the effect of irradiation, including wound healing, pain and cosmesis, assessed on a VAS (0-100 with 50 as indifferent point of no effect) by the surgeon (median 79.0 versus 46.8, p<0.001) or the patient (79.0 versus 50.2, p<0.001) was markedly better in the group with wIRA compared to the control group. This was also true for single aspects: Wound healing assessed on a VAS by the surgeon (median 88.6 versus 78.5, p<0.001) or the patient (median 85.8 versus 81.0, p=0.040, trend) and cosmetic result assessed on a VAS by the surgeon (median 84.5 versus 76.5, p<0.001) or the patient (median 86.7 versus 73.6, p=0.001). In addition there was a trend in favor of the wIRA group to a lower rate of total wound infections (3 of 46, approximately 7%, versus 7 of 48, approximately 15%, p=0.208) including late infections after discharge, caused by the different rate of late infections after discharge: 0 of 46 in the wIRA group and 4 of 48 in the control group. And there was a trend towards a shorter postoperative hospital stay: 9 days in the wIRA group versus 11 days in the control group (p=0.037). The principal finding of this study was that postoperative irradiation with wIRA can improve even a normal wound healing process.
A prospective, randomized, controlled, double-blind study with 45 severely burned children at the Children’s Hospital Park Schönfeld, Kassel, Germany, showed with 30 minutes irradiation once a day (starting on the first day, day of burn as day 1) in the group with wIRA and visible light VIS (wIRA(+VIS), approximately 75% wIRA, 25% VIS) compared to a control group with only VIS a markedly faster reduction of wound size. On the fifth day (after 4 days with irradiation) decision was taken, whether surgical debridement of necrotic tissue was necessary because of deeper (second degree, type b) burns (11 of 21 in the group with wIRA, 14 of 24 in the control group) or non-surgical treatment was possible (second degree, type a, burns). The patients treated conservatively were kept within the study and irradiated till complete reepithelialization. The patients in the group with wIRA showed a markedly faster reduction of wound area: a median reduction of wound size of 50% was reached already after 7 days compared to 9 days in the control group, a median reduction of wound size of 90% was already achieved after 9 days compared to 13 days in the control group. In addition the group with wIRA showed superior results till 3 months after the burn in terms of the overall surgical assessment of the wound, cosmesis, and assessment of effects of irradiation compared to the control group.
In a prospective, randomized, controlled study with 12 volunteers at the University Medical Center Charité, Berlin, Germany, within each volunteer 4 experimental superficial wounds (5 mm diameter) as an acute wound model were generated by suction cup technique, removing the roof of the blister with a scalpel and a sterile forceps (day 1). 4 different treatments were used and investigated during 10 days: no therapy, only wIRA(+VIS) (approximately 75% wIRA, 25% VIS; 30 minutes irradiation once a day), only dexpanthenol (= D-panthenol) cream once a day, wIRA(+VIS) and dexpanthenol cream once a day. Healing of the small experimental wounds was from a clinical point of view excellent with all 4 treatments. Therefore there were only small differences between the treatments with slight advantages of the combination wIRA(+VIS) and dexpanthenol cream and of dexpanthenol cream alone concerning relative change of wound size and assessment of feeling of the wound area. However laser scanning microscopy with a scoring system revealed differences between the 4 treatments concerning the formation of the stratum corneum (from first layer of corneocytes to full formation) especially on the days 5-7: fastest formation of the stratum corneum was seen in wounds treated with wIRA(+VIS) and dexpanthenol cream, second was wIRA(+VIS) alone, third dexpanthenol cream alone and last were untreated wounds. Bacterial counts of the wounds (taken every 2 days) showed, that wIRA(+VIS) and the combination of wIRA(+VIS) with dexpanthenol cream were able to inhibit the colonisation with physiological skin flora up to day 5 when compared with the two other groups (untreated group and group with dexpanthenol cream alone). At any investigated time, the amount of colonisation under therapy with wIRA(+VIS) alone was lower (interpreted as more suppressed) compared with the group with wIRA(+VIS) and dexpanthenol cream.
During rehabilitation after hip and knee endoprosthetic operations the resorption of wound seromas and wound hematomas was both clinically and sonographically faster and pain was reduced by irradiation with wIRA(+VIS).
wIRA can be used successfully for persistent postoperative pain e.g. after thoracotomy.
As perspectives for wIRA it seems clinically prudent to use wIRA both pre- and postoperatively, e.g. in abdominal and thoracic operations. wIRA can be used preoperatively (e.g. during 1-2 weeks) to precondition donor and recipient sites of skin flaps, transplants or partial-thickness skin grafts, and postoperatively to improve wound healing and to decrease pain, inflammation and infections at all mentioned sites. wIRA can be used to support routine pre- or intraoperative antibiotic administration or it might even be discussed to replace this under certain conditions by wIRA.
PMCID: PMC2831241  PMID: 20204084
water-filtered infrared-A (wIRA); wound healing; acute wounds; prospective, randomized, controlled, double-blind studies; reduction of pain; problem wounds; wound infections; infection defense; wound exudation; inflammation; thermal and non-thermal effects; thermic and non-thermic effects; energy supply; oxygen supply; tissue oxygen partial pressure; tissue temperature; tissue blood flow; visual analog scales (VAS); quality of life
17.  Fenretinide Targets Chronic Myeloid Leukemia Stem/Progenitor Cells by Regulation of Redox Signaling 
Antioxidants & Redox Signaling  2014;20(12):1866-1880.
Abstract
Aims: We have recently shown that fenretinide preferentially targets CD34+ cells of acute myeloid leukemia (AML), and here, we test whether this agent exerts the effect on CD34+ cells of chronic myeloid leukemia (CML), which are refractory to imatinib. Results: As tested by colony-forming cell assays using clinical specimens, both number and size of total colonies derived from CD34+ CML cells were significantly reduced by fenretinide, and by combining fenretinide with imatinib. In particular, colonies derived from erythroid progenitors and more primitive pluripotent/multipotent progenitors were highly sensitive to fenretinide/fenretinide plus imatinib. Accordantly, fenretinide appeared to induce apoptosis in CD34+ CML cells, particularly with regard to the cells in the subpopulation of CD34+CD38−. Through cell quiescent assays, including Ki-67 negativity test, we added evidence that nonproliferative CD34+ CML cells were largely eliminated by fenretinide. Transcriptome and molecular data further showed that mechanisms underlying the apoptosis in CD34+ CML cells were highly complex, involving multiple events of oxidative stress responses. Innovation and Conclusion: As compared with CD34+ AML cells, the apoptotic effects of fenretinide on CD34+ CML cells were more prominent whereas less varied among the samples of different patients, and also various stress-responsive events appeared to be more robust in fenretinide-treated CD34+ CML cells. Thus, the combination of fenretinide with imatinib may represent a more sophisticated strategy for CML treatment, in which imatinib mainly targets leukemic blast cells through the intrinsic pathway of apopotosis, whereas fenretinide primarily targets CML stem/progenitor cells through the oxidative/endoplasmic reticulum stress-mediated pathway. Antioxid. Redox Signal. 20, 1866–1880.
doi:10.1089/ars.2012.4935
PMCID: PMC3967369  PMID: 24021153
18.  Sorafenib for Patients with Advanced Angiosarcoma: A Phase II Trial from the French Sarcoma Group (GSF/GETO) 
The Oncologist  2012;17(2):260-266.
The antitumor activity of sorafenib in patients with metastatic or advanced angiosarcomas was investigated in a phase II trial. Sorafenib showed limited antitumor activity in pretreated patients only, but tumor control was of short duration.
Background.
Angiosarcomas account for <2% of all soft tissue sarcomas. This subtype is one of the most aggressive forms of soft tissue sarcoma. The prognosis for angiosarcoma patients in the advanced phase remains poor with current cytotoxic agents (progression-free survival [PFS] time of ∼4 months and overall survival [OS] time of ∼8 months). We investigated the antitumor activity of sorafenib in patients with metastatic or advanced angiosarcomas in a phase II trial.
Methods.
We conducted a stratified phase II trial. The primary endpoint was the progression-free rate (PFR) at 9 months according to the Response Evaluation Criteria in Solid Tumors. A two-stage design (optimal Simon design) was used. Patients received sorafenib (400 mg twice daily) for 9 months until unacceptable toxicity or tumor progression. Central pathological and radiological reviews were performed. Data on stratum A (superficial angiosarcoma) and stratum B (visceral angiosarcoma) are currently available. This trial is registered with ClinicalTrials.gov (identifier, NCT00874874).
Findings.
Strata A and B recruited 26 and 15 patients, respectively. The median age was 63 years (range, 31–82 years), with 17 male and 24 female patients. Fourteen cases arose in irradiated fields. Thirty patients (73.0%) had been pretreated with conventional chemotherapy. No unexpected toxicity occurred. The PFR at 9 months was 3.8% in stratum A and 0.0% in stratum B. The median PFS times were 1.8 months and 3.8 months, respectively, whereas the median OS times were 12.0 months and 9.0 months, respectively. No responses were observed in chemotherapy-naïve patients, whereas a 40% tumor control rate and 23% response rate were observed in the pretreated population. In this cohort, no activating mutation of the KDR gene (exons 15, 16, 24) was detected.
Interpretation.
Sorafenib showed limited antitumor activity in pretreated patients only, for both visceral and superficial angiosarcoma, but tumor control was of short duration.
doi:10.1634/theoncologist.2011-0237
PMCID: PMC3286175  PMID: 22285963
Angiosarcoma; Sorafenib; Antiangiogenic agents
19.  Water-filtered infrared-A (wIRA) can act as a penetration enhancer for topically applied substances 
Background: Water-filtered infrared-A (wIRA) irradiation has been shown to enhance penetration of clinically used topically applied substances in humans through investigation of functional effects of penetrated substances like vasoconstriction by cortisone.
Aim of the study: Investigation of the influence of wIRA irradiation on the dermatopharmacokinetics of topically applied substances by use of optical methods, especially to localize penetrating substances, in a prospective randomised controlled study in humans.
Methods: The penetration profiles of the hydrophilic dye fluorescein and the lipophilic dye curcumin in separate standard water-in-oil emulsions were determined on the inner forearm of test persons by tape stripping in combination with spectroscopic measurements. Additionally, the penetration was investigated in vivo by laser scanning microscopy. Transepidermal water loss, hydration of the epidermis, and surface temperature were determined. Three different procedures (modes A, B, C) were used in a randomised order on three separate days of investigation in each of 12 test persons. In mode A, the two dyes were applied on different skin areas without water-filtered infrared-A (wIRA) irradiation. In mode B, the skin surface was irradiated with wIRA over 30 min before application of the two dyes (Hydrosun® radiator type 501, 10 mm water cuvette, orange filter OG590, water-filtered spectrum: 590–1400 nm with dominant amount of wIRA). In mode C, the two dyes were applied and immediately afterwards the skin was irradiated with wIRA over 30 min. In all modes, tape stripping started 30 min after application of the formulations. Main variable of interest was the ratio of the amount of the dye in the deeper (second) 10% of the stratum corneum to the amount of the dye in the upper 10% of the stratum corneum.
Results: The penetration profiles of the hydrophilic fluorescein showed in case of pretreatment or treatment with wIRA (modes B and C) an increased penetration depth compared to the non-irradiated skin (mode A): The ratio of the amount of the dye in the deeper (second) 10% of the stratum corneum to the amount of the dye in the upper 10% of the stratum corneum showed medians and interquartile ranges for mode A of 0.017 (0.007/0.050), for mode B of 0.084 (0.021/0.106), for mode C of 0.104 (0.069/0.192) (difference between modes: p=0.0112, significant; comparison mode A with mode C: p<0.01, significant). In contrast to fluorescein, the lipophilic curcumin showed no differences in the penetration kinetics, in reference to whether the skin was irradiated with wIRA or not. These effects were confirmed by laser scanning microscopy. Water-filtered infrared-A irradiation increased the hydration of the stratum corneum: transepidermal water loss rose from approximately 8.8 g m-2 h-1 before wIRA irradiation to 14.2 g m-2 h-1 after wIRA irradiation and skin hydration rose from 67 to 87 relative units. Skin surface temperature increased from 32.8°C before wIRA to 36.4°C after wIRA irradiation.
Discussion: The better penetration of the hydrophilic dye fluorescein after or during skin irradiation (modes B and C) can be explained by increased hydration of the stratum corneum by irradiation with wIRA.
Conclusions: As most topically applied substances for the treatment of patients are mainly hydrophilic, wIRA can be used to improve the penetration of substances before or after application of substances – in the first case even of thermolabile substances – with a broad clinical relevance as a contact free alternative to an occlusive dressing.
PMCID: PMC2703260  PMID: 19675735
water-filtered infrared-A (wIRA); penetration; stratum corneum; skin barrier; penetration enhancer; dermatopharmacokinetics; dye; fluorescein; curcumin; tape stripping method; spectroscopy; laser scanning microscopy; transepidermal water loss (TEWL); hydration of the epidermis; corneometry; skin surface temperature; hydrophilic; lipophilic; occlusive dressing
20.  A Single-Arm Pilot Phase II Study of Gefitinib and Irinotecan in Children with Newly Diagnosed High-Risk Neuroblastoma 
Investigational New Drugs  2011;30(4):1660-1670.
Background
Gefitinib potently inhibits neuroblastoma proliferation in vitro, and the gefitinib/irinotecan combination shows greater than additive activity against neuroblastoma xenografts. This Phase II pilot study estimated the rate of response to two courses of intravenous irinotecan plus oral gefitinib in children with untreated high-risk neuroblastoma.
Methods
Two courses of irinotecan [15 mg/m2/day (daily×5)×2] were combined with 12 daily doses of gefitinib (112.5 mg/m2/day). Response was assessed after six weeks. A response rate >55% was sought.
Results
Of the 23 children enrolled, 19 were evaluable for response. Median age at diagnosis was 3.1 years (range, 18 days – 12.7 years). Most patients were older than 24 months (n=20; 87%), male (n=18; 78%), white (n=16; 70%), had INSS 4 disease (n=19; 83%), and had adrenal primary tumors (n=18; 78%); nine patients (39%) had amplified tumor MYCN. The toxicity of gefitinib/irinotecan was mild and reversible (nausea, 5/20; diarrhea, 8/20; vomiting, 7/20). Five patients had partial responses; 9 others had a 23%–60% decrease in primary tumor volume and/or improved MIBG scans or decreased bone or bone marrow tumor burden. Median (range) systemic irinotecan exposure (AUC) was 283 ng/ml*hr (range, 163–890 ng/ml*hr) and 28 ng/ml*hr (3.6–297 ng/ml*hr) for the active metabolite, SN-38. No relation was observed between response and tumor expression of EGFR, MRP2-4, ABCG2, and Pgp.
Conclusions
Although the gefitinib/irinotecan combination was very tolerable and induced responses, it was not sufficiently active to warrant further investigation. Initial investigational studies of this type can preclude the necessity for larger, longer, and costlier trials.
doi:10.1007/s10637-011-9724-3
PMCID: PMC3232294  PMID: 21796439
Neuroblastoma; irinotecan; gefitinib; clinical trial; Phase II; ATP-Binding Cassette Transporters
21.  Iodine-131—Metaiodobenzylguanidine Double Infusion With Autologous Stem-Cell Rescue for Neuroblastoma: A New Approaches to Neuroblastoma Therapy Phase I Study 
Journal of Clinical Oncology  2009;27(7):1020-1025.
Purpose
Iodine-131—metaiodobenzylguanidine (131I-MIBG) provides targeted radiotherapy with more than 30% response rate in refractory neuroblastoma, but activity infused is limited by radiation safety and hematologic toxicity. The goal was to determine the maximum-tolerated dose of 131I-MIBG in two consecutive infusions at a 2-week interval, supported by autologous stem-cell rescue (ASCR) 2 weeks after the second dose.
Patients and Methods
The 131I-MIBG dose was escalated using a 3 + 3 phase I trial design, with levels calculated by cumulative red marrow radiation index (RMI) from both infusions. Using dosimetry, the second infusion was adjusted to achieve the target RMI, except at level 4, where the second infusion was capped at 21 mCi/kg.
Results
Twenty-one patients were enrolled onto the study at levels 1 to 4, with 18 patients assessable for toxicity and 20 patients assessable for response. Cumulative 131I-MIBG given to achieve the target RMI ranged from 22 to 50 mCi/kg, with cumulative RMI of 3.2 to 8.92 Gy. No patient had a dose-limiting toxicity. Reversible grade 3 nonhematologic toxicity occurred in six patients at level 4, establishing the recommended cumulative dose as 36 mCi/kg. The median time to absolute neutrophil count more than 500/μL after ASCR was 13 days (4 to 27 days) and to platelet independence was 17 days (6 to 47 days). Responses included two partial responses, eight mixed responses, three stable disease, and seven progressive disease. Responses by semiquantitative MIBG score occurred in eight patients, soft tissue responses occurred in five of 11 patients, but bone marrow responses occurred in only two of 13 patients.
Conclusion
The lack of toxicity with this approach allowed dramatic dose intensification of 131I-MIBG, with minimal toxicity and promising activity.
doi:10.1200/JCO.2007.15.7628
PMCID: PMC2738616  PMID: 19171714
22.  Radiolabeled Metaiodobenzylguanidine for the Treatment of Neuroblastoma 
Nuclear medicine and biology  2008;35(Suppl 1):S35-S48.
Introduction
Neuroblastoma is the most common pediatric extracranial solid cancer. This tumor is characterized by metaiodobenzylguanidine (MIBG) avidity in 90% of cases, prompting the use of radiolabeled MIBG for targeted radiotherapy in these tumors.
Methods
The available English language literature was reviewed for original research investigating in vitro, in vivo, and clinical applications of radiolabeled MIBG for neuroblastoma.
Results
MIBG is actively transported into neuroblastoma cells by the norepinephrine transporter. Preclinical studies demonstrate substantial activity of radiolabeled MIBG in neuroblastoma models, with 131I-MIBG showing enhanced activity in larger tumors compared to 125I-MIBG. Clinical studies of 131I-MIBG in patients with relapsed or refractory neuroblastoma have identified myelosuppression as the main dose-limiting toxicity, necessitating stem cell reinfusion at higher doses. Most studies report a response rate of 30–40% with 131I-MIBG in this population. More recent studies have focused on the use of 131I-MIBG in combination with chemotherapy or myeloablative regimens.
Conclusions
131I-MIBG is an active agent for the treatment of patients with neuroblastoma. Future studies will need to define the optimal role of this targeted radiopharmaceutical in the therapy of this disease.
doi:10.1016/j.nucmedbio.2008.05.002
PMCID: PMC2633223  PMID: 18707633
Metaiodobenzylguanidine; neuroblastoma; pediatric; radionuclide
23.  4-oxo-N-(4-hydroxyphenyl)retinamide: Two Independent Ways to Kill Cancer Cells 
PLoS ONE  2010;5(10):e13362.
Background
The retinoid 4-oxo-N-(4-hydroxyphenyl)retinamide (4-oxo-4-HPR) is a polar metabolite of fenretinide (4-HPR) very effective in killing cancer cells of different histotypes, able to inhibit 4-HPR-resistant cell growth and to act synergistically in combination with the parent drug. Unlike 4-HPR and other retinoids, 4-oxo-4-HPR inhibits tubulin polymerization, leading to multipolar spindle formation and mitotic arrest. Here we investigated whether 4-oxo-4-HPR, like 4-HPR, triggered cell death also via reactive oxygen species (ROS) generation and whether its antimicrotubule activity was related to a ROS-dependent mechanism in ovarian (A2780), breast (T47D), cervical (HeLa) and neuroblastoma (SK-N-BE) cancer cell lines.
Methodology/Principal Findings
We provided evidence that 4-oxo-4-HPR, besides acting as an antimicrotubule agent, induced apoptosis through a signaling cascade starting from ROS generation and involving endoplasmic reticulum (ER) stress response, Jun N-terminal Kinase (JNK) activation, and upregulation of the proapoptotic PLAcental Bone morphogenetic protein (PLAB). Through time-course analysis and inhibition of the ROS-related signaling pathway (upstream by vitamin C and downstream by PLAB silencing), we demonstrated that the antimitotic activity of 4-oxo-4-HPR was independent from the oxidative stress induced by the retinoid. In fact, ROS generation occurred earlier than mitotic arrest (within 30 minutes and 2 hours, respectively) and abrogation of the ROS-related signaling pathway did not prevent the 4-oxo-4-HPR-induced mitotic arrest.
Conclusions/Significance
These data indicate that 4-oxo-4-HPR anticancer activity is due to at least two independent mechanisms and provide an explanation of the ability of 4-oxo-4-HPR to be more potent than the parent drug and to be effective also in 4-HPR-resistant cell lines. In addition, the double mechanism of action could allow 4-oxo-4-HPR to efficiently target tumour and to eventually counteract the development of drug resistance.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0013362
PMCID: PMC2954786  PMID: 20976277
24.  Phase II trial of the ribonucleotide reductase inhibitor 3-aminopyridine-2-carboxaldehydethiosemicarbazone plus gemcitabine in patients with advanced biliary tract cancer 
Background
3-Aminopyridine-2-carboxaldehydethiosemicarbazone (3-AP) is a novel small molecule ribonucleotide reductase (RR) inhibitor which is more potent than hydroxyurea, the prototype of RR inhibitors. 3-AP enhances the cellular uptake and DNA incorporation of gemcitabine in tumor cell lines. We evaluated the combination of 3-AP plus gemcitabine in advanced biliary tract adenocarcinoma.
Methods
Thirty-three patients with advanced adenocarcinoma of the gall bladder or biliary tract received gemcitabine (1,000 mg/m2 on days 1, 8, and 15 every 28 days) 1 h after completing a 4-h infusion of 3-AP given at a dose of 105 mg/m2 in patients with normal liver function (stratum A) or 80 mg/m2 if abnormal liver function (stratum B). The trial was designed to determine whether the response rate was at least 30% in stratum A and 20% in stratum B.
Results
Objective response occurred in 3 of 23 patients (13%, 95% confidence intervals [CI] 3, 34%) with normal liver function, and in 0 of 10 patients with abnormal liver function. The most common grade 3–4 adverse events in all patients included neutropenia (42%), infection (33%), thrombocytopenia (27%), anemia (18%), and fatigue (15%). Fine needle aspiration of tumor samples obtained before and 24 h after 3-AP therapy showed increased R2 mRNA expression by in situ RT–PCR, suggesting RR inhibition.
Conclusions
Despite evidence for RR inhibition in vivo, the 3-AP plus gemcitabine combination is not likely to be associated with a response rate exceeding 30% in patients with adenocarcinoma of the biliary tract.
doi:10.1007/s00280-010-1481-z
PMCID: PMC3446256  PMID: 20981545
Biliary tract cancer; Gemcitabine; 3-aminopyridine-2-Carboxaldehydethiosemicarbazone; Ribonucleotide reductase
25.  Role of positron emission tomography-computed tomography in staging and early chemotherapy response evaluation in children with neuroblastoma 
Background:
To evaluate the role of positron emission tomography-computed tomography (PET-CT) in staging and determining early treatment response to chemotherapy in children with neuroblastoma (NB) and its correlation with the final outcome.
Patients and Methods:
Seventeen patients of NB with mean age of 51.5 months (age range 2-132 months; 14 males, 3 females) underwent serial 18F-flourodeoxygl ucose (FDG) PET-CT imaging. All 17 patients were for staging before any treatment. Twelve of 17 patients underwent I-131 meta-iodobezylguanidine (MIBG) scan and bone scan. MIBG uptake was seen in the primary lesion in 11/12 patients. MIBG uptake in bones was seen in 3/12 patients. All bone lesions were concordant on MIBG and bone scan. Early response to chemotherapy was evaluated after two cycles using PET-CT. A 30% reduction in longest diameter was taken as cut-off value for response on CT based on the response evaluation criteria in solid tumors criteria. Response on PET-CT was assessed using percentage improvement in lesion to background SUV ratio, taking a value of 50% as cut-off. Final outcome based on follow-up ranging from 6 to 43 months (mean 18.8 months) served as reference.
Results:
All 17 patients showed increased FDG uptake at the primary site. Seven of the 17 patients (41.2%) showed metastasis. Lymph nodes were the most common site of metastatic disease followed by bone, bone marrow, lung and meninges. For response evaluation, change in the size of the primary tumor was noted in 11/17 (64.7%) patients on CT. Treatment response was noted in 12/17 patients (70.6%) on PET-CT. Eleven out of 17 (65%) patients showed response in both CT and PET-CT. Five out of 17 patients showed no response in both. Discordant findings on CT and PET were noted in one (5.9%) patient where PET showed response but no response was seen on CT. Two patients with initial response but with distant metastases expired during follow-up.
Conclusion:
PET-CT has potential in the initial staging of NB. PET-CT also appears to be a good modality for response assessment in patients with moderate and high FDG uptake on the baseline scan. However, no significant beneficial effect was seen in patients with low baseline FDG uptake.
doi:10.4103/0972-3919.78249
PMCID: PMC3109821  PMID: 21713223
Neuroblastoma; neoadjuvant chemotherapy; PET-CT; staging; treatment response evaluation

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