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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Adolescent and adult patients with neuroblastoma appear to have a more indolent disease course but a lower survival than their younger counterparts. The majority of neuroblastoma tumors specifically accumulate the radiolabeled norepinephrine analogue 131I-metaiodobenzylguanidine (MIBG). 131I-MIBG has therefore become increasingly used as targeted radiotherapy for relapsed or refractory neuroblastoma. The aim of this study was to characterize the toxicity and activity of this therapy in older patients.
We performed a retrospective analysis of 39 consecutive patients ages 10 years and older with relapsed or refractory neuroblastoma who were treated with 131I-MIBG monotherapy at UCSF under Phase I, Phase II, and compassionate access protocols.
Sixteen patients were ≥18 years old at MIBG treatment initiation, whereas twenty-three were 10–17 years old. The median cumulative administered dose of 131I-MIBG was 17.8 mCi/kg. The majority of treatments led to grade 3 or 4 hematologic toxicities which were similar in frequency among age strata. Three patients subsequently developed hematologic malignancy or myelodysplasia. The overall rate of complete plus partial response was 46%. Patients ≥18 years old at time of first MIBG treatment had a significantly higher response rate compared to patients 10–17 years old (56% vs 39%, p=0.023). Median overall survival was 23 months with a trend toward longer overall survival for the ≥18 year old subgroup (p = 0.12).
Our findings suggest that 131I-MIBG is a highly effective salvage agent for adolescents and adults with neuroblastoma.
neuroblastoma; adult; adolescent; MIBG; radiopharmaceutical
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.
The available English language literature was reviewed for original research investigating in vitro, in vivo, and clinical applications of radiolabeled MIBG for neuroblastoma.
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.
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.
Metaiodobenzylguanidine; neuroblastoma; pediatric; radionuclide
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.
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.
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.
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.
Children with relapsed neuroblastoma have poor survival. It is crucial to have a reliable method for evaluating functional response to new therapies. In this study, we compared two functional imaging modalities for neuroblastoma: metaiodobenzylguanidine (MIBG) scan for uptake by the norepinephrine transporter and [18F]fluorodeoxyglucose positron emission tomography (FDG-PET) uptake for glucose metabolic activity.
Patients and Methods
Patients enrolled onto a phase I study of sequential infusion of iodine-131 (131I) MIBG (NANT-2000-01) were eligible for inclusion if they had concomitant FDG-PET and MIBG scans. 131I-MIBG therapy was administered on days 0 and 14. For each patient, we compared all lesions identified on concomitant FDG-PET and MIBG scans and gave scans a semiquantitative score.
The overall concordance of positive lesions on concomitant MIBG and FDG-PET scans was 39.6% when examining the 139 unique anatomic lesions. MIBG imaging was significantly more sensitive than FDG-PET overall and for the detection of bone lesions (P < .001). There was a trend for increased sensitivity of FDG-PET for detection of soft tissue lesions. Both modalities showed similar improvement in number of lesions identified from day 0 to day 56 scan and in semiquantitative scores that correlated with overall response. FDG-PET scans became completely negative more often than MIBG scans after treatment.
MIBG scan is significantly more sensitive for individual lesion detection in relapsed neuroblastoma than FDG-PET, though FDG-PET can sometimes play a complementary role, particularly in soft tissue lesions. Complete response by FDG-PET metabolic evaluation did not always correlate with complete response by MIBG uptake.
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.
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.
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.
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.
demethylation; decitabine; pediatric solid tumor; neuroblastoma
meta-iodobenzylguanidine (MIBG) radiolabelled with iodine-131 is used for diagnosis and treatment of neuroadrenergic neoplasms such as phaeochromocytoma and neuroblastoma. In addition, non-radiolabelled MIBG, administered i.v., is used in several clinical studies. These include palliation of the carcinoid syndrome, in which MIBG proved to be effective in 60% of the patients. Oral MIBG administration might be convenient to maintain palliation and possibly improve the percentage of responders. We have, therefore, investigated the feasibility of oral administration of MIBG in an animal model. Orally administered MIBG demonstrated a bioavailability of 59%, with a maximal tolerated dose of 60 mg kg−1. The first and only toxicity encountered was a decrease in renal function, measured by a reduced clearance of [51Cr]EDTA and accompanied by histological tubular damage. Repeated MIBG administration of 40 mg kg−1for 5 sequential days or of 20 mg kg−1for two courses of 5 sequential days with a 2-day interval did not affect renal clearance and was not accompanied by histological abnormalities in kidney, stomach, intestines, liver, heart, lungs, thymus, salivary glands and testes. Because of a sufficient bioavailability in absence of gastrointestinal toxicity, MIBG is considered suitable for further clinical investigation of repeated oral administration in patients. 1999 Cancer Research Campaign
MIBG; oral administration; bioavailability; toxicity; carcinoid syndrome
Neuroblastomas (NBs) were assessed according to INSS recommendations including MIBG scan and extensive bone marrow staging to eliminate metastatic spread. Patients with unresectable tumour received primary chemotherapy including two courses of carboplatin-etoposide (CE) and two of vincristine-cyclophosphamide-doxorubicin (CAdO). Post-operative treatment was to be given only in children over 1 year of age at diagnosis who had residual disease or lymph node (LN) involvement. Between 1990 and 1994, 130 consecutive children were registered. In comparison with resectable primaries, these tumours were more commonly abdominal, larger and associated with N-myc amplification (NMA). Complete, very good and partial response (CR, VGPR, PR) to CE were, respectively, 1%, 7% and 44%, overall response rate (RR) to two courses of CE and two courses of CAdO was 71%, and the tumour could be removed in all but four of the children. The toxicity was manageable. The 5-year overall survival (OS) and event-free survival (EFS) were, respectively, 88% and 78% with a median follow-up of 38 months. In multivariate analysis, only NMA and LN involvement adversely influenced the outcome, particularly NMA. Children with unresectable NBs and no NMA fared as well as children with resectable ones as OS were, respectively, 95% and 99% and EFS 89% and 91%. Our data show encouraging results in localized but unresectable NBs as 90% of children may be considered as definitely cured, especially those without NMA.
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.
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.
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.
Biological and clinical observations suggest that initial marked reduction of resistant clones may be critical in any attempt to improve long-term results in advanced neuroblastoma (NB). The aim of this pilot study is to determine short-term toxicity and efficacy of a new therapeutic model based on the simultaneous use of multiple drug chemotherapy and specific irradiation using 131-I-MIBG. The study population consisted of 21 patients, from 1 to 8 years of age with good 131-I-MIBG uptake. 16 extensively pre-treated patients with refractory or relapsed disease were divided into 2 groups. In Group 1 (9 patients) the basic chemotherapy regimen consisted in cisplatin at the dose of 20 mg/m2i.v. per day infused over 2 h, for 4 consecutive days; on day 4 Cy 2 g/m2i.v. was administered over 2 h followed by Mesna. Group 2 (7 patients) was treated with basic chemotherapeutic regimen plus VP16 and Vincristine. VP16 at the dose of 50 mg/m2i.v. per day was administered as a 24 h infusion on days 1–3; Vincristine 1.5 mg/m2i.v. was administered on days 1 and 6. On day 10 a single dose of 131-I-MIBG (200 mCi) with a high specific activity (>1.1 GBq/mg) was administered to both Groups by i.v. infusion over 4–6 hours. A further 5 patients were treated at diagnosis: 2 with the same regimen as Group 1 and 3 with the same as Group 2. The severity of toxicity was graded according to World Health Organization (WHO) criteria. Assessment of tumour response was monitored 4–6 weeks after the beginning of combined therapy (CO-TH). Response was defined according to INSS (International Neuroblastoma Staging System) criteria. No extra-medullary toxicity was observed in any patient. Haematological toxicity was the only toxicity observed and seemed mainly related to chemotherapy. Myelosuppression was mild in the 5 patients treated at diagnosis. No serious infections or significant bleeding problems were observed. In the 16 resistant patients, 12 PR, 1 mixed response and 3 SD were obtained. In the 5 patients treated at diagnosis 2 PR, 1 CR and 2 VGPR were observed. No alteration in 131-I-MIBG uptake was observed after the chemotherapy preceding radio-metabolic treatment. The therapeutic results of this pilot regimen of CO-TH resulted in a high percentage of major response after only a single course in both resistant patients and patients treated at diagnosis. Because of the minimal toxicity observed in patients studied at diagnosis so far, there is room for gradual intensification of the treatment. It is to be hoped that this suggested novel approach may represent an important route of investigation to improve final outcome in patients with advanced NB. © 2001 Cancer Research Campaign http://www.bjcancer.com
neuroblastoma; combined therapy; 131-I-metaiodobenzylguanidine
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.
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.
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.
Neuroblastoma; neoadjuvant chemotherapy; PET-CT; staging; treatment response evaluation
Purpose. 123I-metaiodobenzylguanidine (MIBG) is used for the diagnostic evaluation of neuroblastoma. We evaluated the relationship between norepinephrine transporter (NET) expression and clinical MIBG uptake. Methods. Quantitative reverse transcription PCR (N = 82) and immunohistochemistry (IHC; N = 61) were performed for neuroblastoma NET mRNA and protein expression and correlated with MIBG avidity on diagnostic scans. The correlation of NET expression with clinical features was also performed. Results. Median NET mRNA expression level for the 19 MIBG avid patients was 12.9% (range 1.6–73.7%) versus 5.9% (range 0.6–110.0%) for the 8 nonavid patients (P = 0.31). Median percent NET protein expression was 50% (range 0–100%) in MIBG avid patients compared to 10% (range 0–80%) in nonavid patients (P = 0.027). MYCN amplified tumors had lower NET protein expression compared to nonamplified tumors (10% versus 50%; P = 0.0002). Conclusions. NET protein expression in neuroblastoma correlates with MIBG avidity. MYCN amplified tumors have lower NET protein expression.
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.
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.
The lack of toxicity with this approach allowed dramatic dose intensification of 131I-MIBG, with minimal toxicity and promising activity.
131I-MIBG therapy for neuroendocrine tumours may be dose limited. The common range of applied cumulative activities is 10-40 GBq. We report the uneventful cumulative administration of 111 GBq (= 3 Ci) 131I-MIBG in a patient with metastatic paraganglioma. Ten courses of 131I-MIBG therapy were given within six years, accomplishing symptomatic, hormonal and tumour responses with no serious adverse effects. Chemotherapy with cisplatin/vinblastine/dacarbazine was the final treatment modality with temporary control of disease, but eventually the patient died of progression. The observed cumulative activity of 131I-MIBG represents the highest value reported to our knowledge, and even though 12.6 GBq of 90Y-DOTATOC were added intermediately, no associated relevant bone marrow, hepatic or other toxicity were observed. In an individual attempt to palliate metastatic disease high cumulative activity alone should not preclude the patient from repeat treatment.
Cumulative activity; I-131-MIBG; Neuroendocrine tumors; Radionuclide therapy; Metastatic paraganglioma
Relapse-free survival (RFS) is a powerful measure of treatment efficacy. We describe the sensitivity of standard surveillance studies for detecting relapse of neuroblastoma (NB).
Patients and Methods
The patients were in complete/very good partial remission of high-risk NB; routine monitoring revealed asymptomatic and, therefore, unsuspected relapses in 113 patients, whereas 41 patients had symptoms prompting urgent evaluations. Assessments every 2 to 4 months included computed tomography, iodine-131–metaiodobenzylguanidine 131I-MIBG; through November 1999) or iodine-123–metaiodobenzylguanidine (123I-MIBG) scan, urine catecholamines, and bone marrow (BM) histology. Bone scan was routine through 2002.
123I-MIBG scan was the most reliable study for revealing unsuspected relapse; it had an 82% detection rate, which was superior to the rates with 131I-MIBG scan (64%; P = .1), bone scan (36%; P < .001), and BM histology (34%; P < .001). Among asymptomatic patients, 123I-MIBG scan was the sole positive study indicating relapse in 25 (27%) of 91 patients compared with one (4.5%) of 22 patients for 131I-MIBG scan (P = .04) and 0% to 6% of patients for each of the other studies (P < .001). Patients whose monitoring included 123I-MIBG scan were significantly less likely than patients monitored by 131I-MIBG scan to have an extensive osteomedullary relapse and had a significantly longer survival from relapse (P < .001) and from diagnosis (P = .002). They also had significantly longer survival than patients with symptomatic relapses (P = .002).
123I-MIBG scan is essential for valid estimation of the duration of RFS of patients with high-risk NB. Without monitoring that includes 123I-MIBG scan, caution should be used when comparing RFS between institutions and protocols.
Incomplete response to therapy may compromise the outcome of children with advanced neuroblastoma. In an attempt to improve tumour response we incorporated 131I-metaiodobenzylguanidine (131I-MIBG) in the treatment regimens of selected stage 3 and stage 4 patients. Between 1986 and 1997, 43 neuroblastoma patients older than 1 year at diagnosis, 13 with stage 3 (group A) and 30 with stage 4 disease (group B) who had completed the first-line protocol without achieving complete response entered in this study. 131I-MIBG dose/course ranged from 2.5 to 5.5 Gbq (median, 3.7). The number of courses ranged from 1 to 5 (median 3) depending on the tumour response and toxicity. The most common acute side-effect was thrombocytopenia. Later side-effects included severe interstitial pneumonia in one patient, acute myeloid leukaemia in two, reduced thyroid reserve in 21. Complete response was documented in one stage 4 patient, partial response in 12 (two stage 3, 10 stage 4), mixed or no response in 25 (ten stage 3, 15 stage 4) and disease progression in five (one stage 3, four stage 4) Twenty-four patients (12/13 stage 3, 12/30 stage 4) are alive at 22–153 months (median, 59) from diagnosis. 131I-MIBG therapy may increase the cure rate of stage 3 and improve the response of stage 4 neuroblastoma patients with residual disease after first-line therapy. A larger number of patients should be treated to confirm these results but logistic problems hamper prospective and coordinated studies. Long-term toxicity can be severe. © 1999 Cancer Research Campaign
neuroblastoma; radiometabolic therapy; 131I-metaiodobenzylguanidine
We have previously reported the favourable effect of transdermal estradiol (E2), relative to oral conjugated equine oestrogen (CEE), on ultrasensitive C-reactive protein after 12 months of treatment in a retinoid-placebo controlled two-by-two randomized breast cancer prevention trial (Decensi A et al (2002) Circulation 106 10 1224–8). Here, we investigate the changes in lipids and clotting profile in patients of the same trial.
Methods and results:
Recent post-menopausal women were randomised to either oral CEE 0.625 mg/day and placebo (n = 55), CEE and fenretinide 200 mg/day (n = 56), transdermal E2 50 mg/day and placebo (n = 59) or E2 and fenretinide 200 mg/day (n = 56). Sequential medroxyprogesterone acetate 10 mg/day was given in each group. After 12 months, there was a statistically significant effect of the route of administration of hormone replacement therapy (HRT) on fibrinogen levels; the median percentage change being −5.7% with CEE and −1.1% with E2 (p = 0.012). Total cholesterol decreased in all arms (p < 0.0001). HDL-C decreased significantly with transdermal E2 (p = 0.006) compared to oral CEE and with fenretinide relative to placebo (p<0.001). Triglycerides exhibited an opposite modulation in the HRT route, with a 21.4% median increase with oral CEE and an 8.6% reduction with transdermal E2 (p < 0.0001). Antithrombin-III showed a 4% borderline significant reduction in the fenretinide arm relative to placebo, irrespective of the HRT administration route (p = 0.055).
Our data indicate that transdermal E2 may be preferable to oral CEE based on its safer cardiovascular risk profile. Fenretinide modified some cardiovascular risk biomarkers and confirmed a safer profile compared to other retinoids.
131I-Metaiodobenzylguanidine (131I-MIBG) provides targeted radiotherapy for children with neuroblastoma, a malignancy of the sympathetic nervous system. Dissociated radioactive iodide may concentrate in the thyroid, and MIBG is concentrated in the liver after MIBG therapy. The aim of our study was to analyze the effects of 131I-MIBG therapy on thyroid and liver function.
Pre and post therapy thyroid and liver functions were reviewed in a total of 194 neuroblastoma patients treated with 131I-MIBG therapy. The cumulative incidence over time was estimated for both thyroid and liver toxicities. The relationship to cumulative dose/kg, number of treatments, time from treatment to follow-up, sex, and patient age was examined.
In patients who presented with Grade 0 or Grade 1 thyroid toxicity at baseline, 12±4% experienced onset or worsening to Grade 2 hypothyroidism and one patient developed Grade 2 hyperthyroidism by two years after 131I-MIBG therapy. At two years post 131I-MIBG therapy, 76±4% patients experienced onset or worsening of hepatic toxicity to any grade, and 23±5% experienced onset of or worsening to Grade 3 or 4 liver toxicity. Liver toxicity usually was transient asymptomatic transaminase elevation, frequently confounded by disease progression and other therapies.
The prophylactic regimen of potassium iodide and potassium perchlorate with 131I-MIBG therapy resulted in a low rate of significant hypothyroidism. Liver abnormalities following 131I-MIBG therapy were primarily reversible and did not result in late toxicity. 131I-MIBG therapy is a promising treatment for children with relapsed neuroblastoma with a relatively low rate of symptomatic thyroid or hepatic dysfunction.
Neuroblastoma; 131I-MIBG; Hypothyroidism
Irinotecan and temozolomide have single-agent activity and schedule-dependent synergy against neuroblastoma. Because protracted administration of intravenous irinotecan is costly and inconvenient, we sought to determine the maximum-tolerated dose (MTD) of oral irinotecan combined with temozolomide in children with recurrent/resistant high-risk neuroblastoma.
Patients and Methods
Patients received oral temozolomide on days 1 through 5 combined with oral irinotecan on days 1 through 5 and 8 through 12 in 3-week courses. Daily oral cefixime was used to reduce irinotecan-associated diarrhea.
Fourteen assessable patients received 75 courses. Because neutropenia and thrombocytopenia were initially dose-limiting, temozolomide was reduced from 100 to 75 mg/m2/d for subsequent patients. Irinotecan was then escalated from 30 to 60 mg/m2/d. First-course grade 3 diarrhea was dose-limiting in one of six patients treated at the irinotecan MTD of 60 mg/m2/d. Other toxicities were mild and reversible. The median SN-38 lactone area under the plasma concentration versus time curve at this dose was 72 ng · hr/mL. One patient with bulky soft tissue disease had a complete response through six courses. Six additional patients received a median of seven courses (range, three to 22 courses) before progression.
This all-oral regimen was feasible and well tolerated in heavily pretreated children with resistant neuroblastoma, and seven (50%) of 14 assessable patients had response or disease stabilization for three or more courses in this phase I trial. SN-38 lactone exposures were similar to those reported with protracted intravenous irinotecan. The dosages recommended for further study in this patient population are temozolomide 75 mg/m2/d plus irinotecan 60 mg/m2/d when given with cefixime.
Fenretinide induces apoptosis in neuroblastoma by induction of reactive oxygen species (ROS). In this study, we investigated the role of mitochondria in fenretinide-induced cytotoxicity and ROS production in six neuroblastoma cell lines. ROS induction by fenretinide was of mitochondrial origin, demonstrated by detection of superoxide with MitoSOX, the scavenging effect of the mitochondrial antioxidant MitoQ and reduced ROS production in cells without a functional mitochondrial respiratory chain (Rho zero cells). In digitonin-permeabilized cells, a fenretinide concentration-dependent decrease in ATP synthesis and substrate oxidation was observed, reflecting inhibition of the mitochondrial respiratory chain. However, inhibition of the mitochondrial respiratory chain was not required for ROS production. Co-incubation of fenretinide with inhibitors of different complexes of the respiratory chain suggested that fenretinide-induced ROS production occurred via complex II. The cytotoxicity of fenretinide was exerted through the generation of mitochondrial ROS and, at higher concentrations, also through inhibition of the mitochondrial respiratory chain.
Neuroblastoma; Fenretinide; Mitochondrial respiratory chain; Reactive oxygen species; MitoQ; Trolox
Iodine-131-metaiodiobenzylguanidine (131I-MIBG) therapy combined with allogeneic cord blood stem cell transplantation (SCT) was used to treat a 4-year-old girl with recurrent neuroblastoma. The patient experienced relapse 2 years after receiving first-line therapies, which included chemotherapy, surgical resection, irradiation, and autologous peripheral SCT. Although 131I-MIBG treatment did not achieve complete remission, the size of the tumor was reduced after treatment. Based on our findings, we suggest that 131I-MIBG treatment with myeloablative allogeneic SCT should be considered as first-line therapy for high-risk neuroblastoma patients when possible.
MIBG; Neuroblastoma; Allogeneic cord blood stem cell transplantation
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.
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.
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.
The prognosis after relapse of pediatric acute myeloid leukemia (AML) is poor and effective salvage regimens are urgently needed.
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.
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.
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.
acute myeloid leukemia; cladribine; pediatric; relapse; topotecan
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.
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.
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.
glioma; pediatric; resistance; alkylating agent; brainstem glioma; AGT; MGMT