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1.  Activity of VNP40101M (Cloretazine) in the treatment of CNS tumor xenografts in athymic mice 
Neuro-Oncology  2007;9(3):240-244.
VNP40101M, or 1,2-bis(methylsulfonyl)-1-(2-choloro-ethyl)-2-(methylamino)carbonylhydrazine (Cloretazine), is a bifunctional prodrug that belongs to a class of DNA-modifying agents—the sulfonylhydrazines—that has been synthesized and been shown to have activity against a wide spectrum of xenografts. The current study was designed to assess the activity of VNP40101M administered at a dose of 18 mg/kg daily for five days against a panel of human adult and pediatric CNS tumors growing subcutaneously or intracranially in athymic nude mice. The results demonstrated statistically significant (p < 0.05) growth delays of 15.0, 8.3, 51.0, 60+, 60+, and 60+ days in subcutaneous xenografts derived from childhood glioblastoma multiforme (D-456 MG), childhood ependymoma (D-528 EP and D-612 EP), childhood medulloblastoma (D-425 MED), and adult malignant glioma (D-245 MG and D-54 MG), respectively, with corresponding tumor regressions in 10 of 10, 4 of 10, 8 of 10, 9 of 10, 9 of 10, and 10 of 10 treated mice, respectively. Delayed toxicity was seen more than 60 days after treatment, with 23 deaths in 100 treated animals, despite a median weight loss of only 0.06%. In mice bearing intracranial D-245 MG xenografts, treatment with VNP40101M at a dose of 18 mg/kg daily for five days produced a 50% increase in median survival compared with controls. Additional experiments conducted against subcutaneous D-245 MG xenografts by using reduced doses of 13.5 or 9.0 mg/kg daily for five days demonstrated tumor growth delays of 82.2 and 53.5 days, with corresponding tumor regressions in 8 of 9 and 9 of 10 treated mice, respectively (all values, p < 0.001), with one toxic death. These findings suggest that VNP40101M is active in the treatment of a wide range of human central nervous system tumors and warrants translation to the clinic.
doi:10.1215/15228517-2007-011
PMCID: PMC1907418  PMID: 17522334
alkyltransferase; Cloretazine; glioblastoma multiforme; O6-alkylguanine-DNA nitrosoureas; xenografts
2.  Phase II study of Cloretazine for the treatment of adults with recurrent glioblastoma multiforme1 
Neuro-Oncology  2007;9(1):70-74.
Cloretazine (VNP40101M) is a newly synthesized alkylating agent belonging to a novel class of alkylating agents called 1,2-bis(sulfonyl)hydrazines. Agents that belong to this class do not produce vinylating and chloroethylating species, and hence this class of alkylating agents is thought to have minimal systemic toxicity. Cloretazine produces two short-lived active species: 1,2-bis(methylsulfonyl)-1-(2-chloroethyl) hydrazine (a chloroethylating species) and a thiophilic carbamoylating methylisocyanate species. The chloroethylating species preferentially produces lesions at the O6 position of guanine. The methylisocyanate species may inhibit O6-alkylguanine-DNA alkyltransferase, an important mechanism of resistance against alkylating agents. The purpose of this study was to determine the efficacy and tolerability of Cloretazine in patients with recurrent glioblastoma multiforme. The basis for the determination of efficacy was the proportion of patients alive without evidence of disease progression six months after initiation of treatment. Patients with recurrent glioblastoma multiforme received Cloretazine (300 mg/m2) intravenously every six weeks. Radiographic response, survival data, and toxicity were assessed. Thirty-two patients were enrolled. Median age was 56 years; 24 patients (75%) were men. At six months, two patients were alive and progression free, so the six-month progression-free survival (PFS) was 6%. The median PFS was 6.3 weeks. There were no objective radiographic responses. Twelve patients had stable disease for at least one cycle, but only two patients received more than three cycles. Nine patients experienced grade 4 thrombocytopenia and three patients experienced grade 4 neutropenia. Cloretazine administered every six weeks was relatively well tolerated, although this schedule has insignificant activity for patients with recurrent glioblastoma multiforme
doi:10.1215/15228517-2006-022
PMCID: PMC1828104  PMID: 17108065
Cloretazine; glioblastoma multiforme
3.  Phase 2 trial of BCNU plus irinotecan in adults with malignant glioma1 
Neuro-Oncology  2004;6(2):134-144.
In preclinical studies, BCNU, or 1,3-bis(2-chloroethyl)-1-nitrosourea, plus CPT-11 (irinotecan) exhibits schedule-dependent, synergistic activity against malignant glioma (MG). We previously established the maximum tolerated dose of CPT-11 when administered for 4 consecutive weeks in combination with BCNU administered on the first day of each 6-week cycle. We now report a phase 2 trial of BCNU plus CPT-11 for patients with MG. In the current study, BCNU (100 mg/m2) was administered on day 1 of each 6-week cycle. CPT-11 was administered on days 1, 8, 15, and 22 at 225 mg/m2 for patients receiving CYP3A1- or CYP3A4-inducing anticonvulsants and at 125 mg/m2 for those not on these medications. Newly diagnosed patients received up to 3 cycles before radiotherapy, while recurrent patients received up to 8 cycles. The primary end point of this study was radiographic response, while time to progression and overall survival were also assessed. Seventy-six patients were treated, including 37 with newly diagnosed tumors and 39 with recurrent disease. Fifty-six had glioblastoma multiforme, 18 had anaplastic astrocytoma, and 2 had anaplastic oligodendroglioma. Toxicities (grade ⩾3) included infections (13%), thromboses (12%), diarrhea (10%), and neutropenia (7%). Interstitial pneumonitis developed in 4 patients. Five newly diagnosed patients (14%; 95% CI, 5%–29%) achieved a radiographic response (1 complete response and 4 partial responses). Five patients with recurrent MG also achieved a response (1 complete response and 4 partial responses; 13%; 95% CI, 4%–27%). More than 40% of both newly diagnosed and recurrent patients achieved stable disease. Median time to progression was 11.3 weeks for recurrent glioblastoma multiforme patients and 16.9 weeks for recurrent anaplastic astrocytoma/anaplastic oligodendroglioma patients. We conclude that the activity of BCNU plus CPT-11 for patients with MG appears comparable to that of CPT-11 alone and may be more toxic.
doi:10.1215/S1152851703000413
PMCID: PMC1871982  PMID: 15134628
4.  Antiangiogenic effects of dexamethasone in 9L gliosarcoma assessed by MRI cerebral blood volume maps. 
Neuro-Oncology  2003;5(4):235-243.
Depending on dose, dexamethasone has been shown to inhibit or stimulate growth of rat 9L gliosarcoma and decrease the expression of vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF), an important mediator of tumor-associated angiogenesis. We demonstrate, by constructing relative cerebral blood volume (rCBV) maps with MRI, that dexamethasone also decreases total blood volume while increasing microvascular blood volume in Fischer rats bearing intracranial 9L gliosarcoma. Animals were inoculated with 1 x 10(5) 9L gliosarcoma tumor cells. On days 10-14 after tumor cell inoculation, animals were intra-peritoneally injected with dexamethasone (3 mg/kg) over 5 days. MRI-derived gradient echo (GE) and spin-echo (SE) rCBV maps were created to demonstrate total vasculature (GE) and microvasculature (SE). After MRI studies were performed, the rat's vasculature was perfused with a latex compound. Total vessel volume and diameters were assessed by microscopy. Dexamethasone decreased the tumor-enhancing area of postcontrast T1-weighted images (P < 0.0001) and total tumor volume(P = 0.0085). In addition, there was a greater than 50% decrease in GE rCBV (total vasculature) (P = 0.007) as well as a significant decrease in total fractional blood volume, as validated by histology (P = 0.0007). Conversely, there was an increase in SE rCBV signal (microvasculature) in animals treated with dexamethasone (P = 0.05), which was consistent with microscopy (P < 0.0001). These data demonstrate that (1) dexamethasone selectively treats tumor vasculature, suggesting a vessel-size selective effect and (2) MRI-derived rCBV is a noninvasive technique that can be used to evaluate changes in blood volume and vascular morphology.
doi:10.1215/S1152851703000073
PMCID: PMC1920679  PMID: 14565159

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