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1.  A phase I dose-escalation, safety and pharmacokinetic study of the 2-methoxyestradiol analog ENMD-1198 administered orally to patients with advanced cancer 
Investigational new drugs  2010;29(2):340-346.
2-methoxyestradiol (2ME2) is an estradiol-17β metabolite with antiproliferative and antiangiogenic activities. ENMD-1198 is an analog of 2ME2 which was developed to decrease the metabolism and increase both the bioavailability and antitumor activities of the parent molecule. This first-in-human phase I study evaluated the tolerability, pharmacokinetics and preliminary evidence of activity of ENMD-1198 in advanced cancer patients.
Eligible patients received ENMD-1198 orally once daily in Part A (standard 3+3 dose escalation design), or in Part B (accelerated dose escalation design). Cycle 1 consisted of 28 days daily dosing followed by a 14-(Part A) or 7-(Part B) day observation period, then continuously in 28 day cycles thereafter.
A total of 29 patients were enrolled in 12 dose cohorts (5 to 550 mg/m2/d). The most common drug-related toxicities were Grade 1/2 fatigue (55%), nausea and vomiting (37%), and constipation (34%). Two DLTs (Grade 4 neutropenia) occurred at 550 mg/m2/day, and 425 mg/m2/d was declared the maximum tolerated dose. ENMD-1198 was absorbed rapidly with a Tmax of 1–2 h. Exposure to ENMD-1198 (Cmax and AUC0–24hr) increased linearly with dose. The mean terminal half-life was 15 h. A 3-fold accumulation was found after multiple doses. Five patients achieved stabilization of disease for at least 2 cycles, three of whom (with neuroendocrine carcinoma of pancreas, prostate cancer and ovarian cancer) demonstrated prolonged stabilization ranging from 8–24.5 cycles.
ENMD-1198 is well-tolerated with a pharmacokinetic exposure profile compatible with once daily dosing. The recommended phase II dose of ENMD-1198 is 425 mg/m2/d. Early evidence of prolonged disease stabilization in pre-treated patients suggests ENMD-1198 is worthy of additional investigation.
PMCID: PMC4331064  PMID: 20084425
ENMD-1198; Phase I; Pharmacokinetics
2.  Phase I Study of Oral Rigosertib (ON 01910.Na), a Dual Inhibitor of the PI3K and Plk1 Pathways, in Adult Patients with Advanced Solid Malignancies 
To determine the pharmacokinetics (PK), maximum tolerated dose (MTD), safety, and antitumor activity of an oral formulation of rigosertib, a dual phosphoinositide 3-kinase (PI3K) and polo-like kinase 1 (Plk1) pathway inhibitor, in patients with advanced solid malignancies.
Experimental Design
Patients with advanced solid malignancies received rigosertib twice daily continuously in 21-day cycles. Doses were escalated until intolerable grade ≥ 2 toxicities, at which point the previous dose level was expanded to define the MTD. All patients were assessed for safety, PK, and response. Urinary PK were performed at the MTD. Archival tumors were assessed for potential molecular biomarkers with multiplex mutation testing. A subset of squamous cell carcinomas (SCC) underwent exome sequencing.
Forty-eight patients received a median of 2 cycles of therapy at 5 dose levels. Rigosertib exposure increased with escalating doses. Dose-limiting toxicities were hematuria and dysuria. The most common grade ≥2 drug-related toxicities involved urothelial irritation. The MTD is 560 mg twice daily. Activity was seen in head and neck SCCs (1 complete response, 1 partial response) and stable disease for ≥ 12 weeks was observed in 8 additional patients. Tumors experiencing ≥partial response had PI3K pathway activation, inactivated p53, and unique variants in ROBO3 and FAT1, two genes interacting with the Wnt/β-catenin pathway.
The recommended phase II dose of oral rigosertib is 560 mg twice daily given continuously. Urinary toxicity is the dose-limiting and most common toxicity. Alterations in PI3K, p53, and Wnt/β-catenin pathway signaling should be investigated as potential biomarkers of response in future trials.
PMCID: PMC4160109  PMID: 24493827
3.  A phase I trial of arsenic trioxide chemoradiotherapy for infiltrating astrocytomas of childhood 
Neuro-Oncology  2013;15(6):783-787.
Arsenic trioxide (ATO) has demonstrated preclinical evidence of activity in the treatment of infiltrating astrocytomas.
We conducted a phase I trial of ATO given concomitantly with radiation therapy in children with newly diagnosed anaplastic astrocytoma, glioblastoma, or diffuse intrinsic pontine glioma. Eligible patients received a fixed daily dose of 0.15 mg/kg of ATO once a week, with each subsequent cohort of patients receiving an additional dose per week up to a planned frequency of ATO administration 5 days per week as tolerated. Twenty-four children were enrolled and 21 children were evaluable.
ATO was well tolerated throughout the entire dose escalation, resulting in confirmation of safety when administered 5 days per week during irradiation.
The recommended dose of ATO during conventional irradiation is 0.15 mg/kg given on a daily basis with each fraction of radiation therapy administered.
PMCID: PMC3661102  PMID: 23460318
arsenic trioxide; astrocytoma; chemoradiotherapy; pediatrics
4.  A Multi-Center Phase Ib Study of Oxaliplatin (NSC#266046) in Combination with Fluorouracil and Leucovorin in Pediatric Patients with Advanced Solid Tumors 
Pediatric blood & cancer  2012;60(2):230-236.
Platinum agents have been used for a variety of cancers, including pivotal use in pediatric tumors for many years. Oxaliplatin, a third generation platinum, has a different side effect profile and may provide improved activity in pediatric cancers.
Patients 21 years or younger with progressive or refractory malignant solid tumors, including tumors of the central nervous system were enrolled on this multi-center open label, non-randomized phase 1 dose escalation study. The study used a standard 3+3 dose escalation design with 2 dose levels (85 mg/m2 and 100 mg/m2) with an expansion cohort of 15 additional patients at the recommended dose. Patients received oxaliplatin at the assigned dose level and 5-fluorouracil bolus 400 mg/m2 followed by a 46-hour 5-fluorouracil infusion of 2,400 mg/m2 every 14 days. The leucovorin dose was fixed at 400 mg/m2 for all cohorts.
Thirty-one evaluable patients were enrolled, 8 at 85 mg/m2 and 23 at 100 mg/m2 for a total of 121 courses. The median age was 12 years (range 2–19 years). The main toxicities were hematologic, primarily neutrophils and platelets. The most common non-hematologic toxicities were gastrointestinal. Stable disease was noted in 11 patients (54% of evaluable patients) and 1 confirmed partial response in a patient with osteosarcoma.
The maximum planned dose of oxaliplatin at 100 mg/m2 per dose in combination with 5-fluorouracil and leucovorin was safe and well tolerated and in this patient population. This combination demonstrated modest activity in patients with refractory or relapsed solid tumor and warrants further study.
PMCID: PMC3522763  PMID: 23024067
oxaliplatin; pediatrics; chemotherapy; 5-Fluorouracil; FOLFOX; phase I
The lancet oncology  2013;14(2):e70-e78.
Much of current cancer research is aimed at exploiting cancers’ molecular addictions with targeted therapeutics, with notable successes documented in clinical trials. By their nature, these agents have different side effect profiles than conventional chemotherapeutics. While very few targeted agents have attained regulatory approval for use in children, pediatric oncologists are gaining experience with these drugs, which may have unique effects, both short- and long-term, on the developing child, unrecognized in adults. This Review summarizes the rationale for targeted therapy, challenges in pediatric drug development, unique side effect profiles of targeted agents, limited data from children treated with targeted agents, as well as implications of the current knowledge and gaps thereof. The demonstrated and potential impacts of targeted therapies on normal tissue development and function are discussed. We conclude that future clinical trial design should include carefully considered assessment of developmental effects of targeted therapy, as well as informed supportive care recommendations.
PMCID: PMC3673778  PMID: 23369685
targeted therapy; oncogene addiction; non-oncogene addiction; children; pediatric oncology; adverse effects; side effects
6.  Blinatumomab, a Bi-Specific Anti-CD19/CD3 BiTE® Antibody for the Treatment of Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia: Perspectives and Current Pediatric Applications 
Leukemia is the most common childhood malignancy and acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) represents the largest sub-type. Despite remarkable improvements over the last 40 years, standard therapy fails in 10–20% of newly diagnosed patients. Survival for children with relapsed ALL is poor, and the development and implementation of novel therapeutic strategies in pediatric ALL are critical to further advancements. Immunotherapeutic approaches have been central to more novel ALL therapies. However, more recent innovation in antibody engineering has improved potency and efficacy, and antibody–drug conjugates (ADCs) are an especially attractive option in severely immunocompromised patients. An even more sophisticated antibody design is that of bi-specific T-cell engaging or BiTE® antibodies, which directly recruit effector T cells to augment the anti-neoplastic effect. This review focuses on blinatumomab, a bi-specific anti-CD19/CD3 antibody that has shown efficacy in adult patients with precursor B-ALL and is currently being evaluated in the pediatric setting.
PMCID: PMC3978294  PMID: 24744989
immunotherapy; acute lymphoblastic leukemia; pediatric leukemia; drug development; bi-specific antibody; T-cell engager
7.  Vandetanib mediates anti-leukemia activity by multiple mechanisms and interacts synergistically with DNA damaging agents 
Investigational New Drugs  2010;30(2):468-479.
Vandetanib is an orally active small molecule tyrosine kinase inhibitor (TKI) with activity against several pathways implicated in malignancy including the vascular endothelial growth factor receptor pathway, the epidermal growth factor receptor pathway, the platelet derived growth factor receptor β pathway, and REarranged during Transfection pathway. To determine if vandetanib-mediated inhibition of receptor tyrosine kinases is a potential therapeutic strategy for pediatric acute leukemia, these studies aimed to characterize the activity of vandetanib against acute leukemia in vitro. Treatment of leukemia cell lines with vandetanib resulted in a dose-dependent decrease in proliferation and survival. Vandetanib’s anti-leukemic activity appeared mediated by multiple mechanisms including accumulation in G1 phase at lower concentrations and apoptosis at higher concentrations. Alterations in cell surface markers also occurred with vandetanib treatment, suggesting induction of differentiation. In combination with DNA damaging agents (etoposide and doxorubicin) vandetanib demonstrated synergistic induction of cell death. However in combination with the anti-metabolite methotrexate, vandetanib had an antagonistic effect on cell death. Although several targets of vandetanib are expressed on acute leukemia cell lines, expression of vandetanib targets did not predict vandetanib sensitivity and alone are therefore not likely candidate biomarkers in patients with acute leukemia. Interactions between vandetanib and standard chemotherapy agents in vitro may help guide choice of combination regimens for further evaluation in the clinical setting for patients with relapsed/refractory acute leukemia. Taken together, these preclinical data support clinical evaluation of vandetanib, in combination with cytotoxic chemotherapy, for pediatric leukemia.
PMCID: PMC3222724  PMID: 21046425
Acute leukemia; Vandetanib; Vascular endothelial growth factor; Tyrosine kinase inhibitor; Combination therapy
8.  Targeting paediatric acute lymphoblastic leukaemia: novel therapies currently in development 
British Journal of Haematology  2010;151(4):295-311.
Modifications to the treatment of acute lymphoblastic leukaemia (ALL) in children have led to a dramatic increase in survival in the past 40 years. Despite this success, a significant subset of paediatric leukaemia patients either relapse or fail to ever achieve a complete remission. Additionally, some patients necessitate treatment with intensified chemotherapy regimens due to clinical or laboratory findings which identify them as high risk. These patients are unlikely to respond to further minor adjustments to the dosing or timing of administration of the same chemotherapy medications. Many novel targeted therapies for the treatment of childhood ALL provide potential mechanisms to further improve cure rates, and provide the possibility of minimizing toxicity to non-malignant cells, given their specificity to malignant cell phenotypes. This article explores many of the potential targeted therapies in varying stages of development, from those currently in clinical trials to those still being refined in the research laboratory.
PMCID: PMC3354740  PMID: 20813012
paediatric oncology; leukaemia; targeted therapy; tyrosine kinase; signal transduction; review
9.  Novel Therapies for Pediatric Cancers 
Current Oncology Reports  2008;10(6):477-490.
The current high cure rates for children diagnosed with cancer can in part be attributed to emphasis on large cooperative group clinical trials. The significant improvement in pediatric cancer survival over the last few decades is the result of optimized chemotherapy drug dosing, timing, and intensity; however, further alterations in traditional chemotherapy agents are unlikely to produce substantially better outcomes. Furthermore, there remains a subset of patients who have a very poor prognosis due to tumor type or stage at presentation, or who have a dismal prognosis with relapse or recurrence. As such, innovative approaches to therapy and new drugs are clearly needed for introduction into the current pediatric oncology arsenal. A variety of biologically targeted therapies which have shown promise in preclinical studies and early phase adult clinical trials are now being explored in pediatric clinical trials. These novel agents hold the promise for continuing to drive forward improvements in patient survival with potentially less toxicity than exists with traditional chemotherapy drugs.
PMCID: PMC3309527  PMID: 18928662
novel therapies; targeted therapies; biologic target; pediatric oncology
10.  Systematic in-vitro evaluation of the NCI/NIH Developmental Therapeutics Program Approved Oncology Drug Set for the identification of a candidate drug repertoire for MLL-rearranged leukemia 
OncoTargets and therapy  2011;4:149-168.
Despite significant progress made in the overall cure rate, the prognosis for relapsed and refractory malignancies in children remains extremely poor. Hence, there is an urgent need for studies that enable the timely selection of appropriate agents for Phase I clinical studies. The Pediatric Oncology Experimental Therapeutics Investigators’ Consortium (POETIC) is systematically evaluating libraries of known and novel compounds for activity against subsets of high-risk pediatric malignancies with defined molecular aberrations for future clinical development. In this report, we describe the in-vitro activity of a diverse panel of approved oncology drugs against MLL-rearranged pediatric leukemia cell lines. Agents in the Approved Oncology Drug Set II (National Cancer Institute/National Institutes of Health Developmental Therapeutics Program) were evaluated by in-vitro cytotoxicity assays in pediatric acute lymphoblastic leukemia and acute myeloid leukemia cell lines with MLL gene rearrangements. Validation studies were carried out with patient leukemia cells in culture. Comparative analysis for toxicity against nonmalignant cells was evaluated in normal bone marrow stromal cells and normal human lymphocytes. Results from this study show that 42 of the 89 agents tested have measurable cytotoxicity against leukemia cells, and among these, 12 were effective against all five MLL-rearranged cell lines (IC50 [half maximal inhibitory concentration] < 1 μM). These 12 agents include cladribine, dactinomycin, daunorubicin, docetaxel, etoposide, gemcitabine, mitomycin C, mitoxantrone, teniposide, topotecan, triethylenemelamine, and vinblastine. We show that the Approved Oncology Drug Set II contains a number of agents with potent antileukemic activity in the tested cell lines. As approved drugs, these agents have been used in clinical settings for many years for other malignancies, thus their toxicity profile, pharmacokinetics, and other properties are readily available. Further evaluation of their use in future clinical trials for pediatric leukemia with MLL abnormalities should be considered.
PMCID: PMC3176174  PMID: 21949608
drug screening; therapeutic repertoire
11.  Toxicity Assessment of Molecularly Targeted Drugs Incorporated into Multiagent Chemotherapy Regimens for Pediatric Acute Lymphocytic Leukemia (ALL): Review from an International Consensus Conference 
Pediatric blood & cancer  2010;54(7):872-878.
One of the challenges of incorporating molecularly targeted drugs into multi-agent chemotherapy (backbone) regimens is defining dose limiting toxicities (DLTs) of the targeted agent against the background of toxicities of the backbone regimen. An international panel of 22 pediatric acute lymphocytic leukemia (ALL) experts addressed this issue ( Two major questions surrounding DLT assessment were explored: 1) how toxicities can be best defined, assessed, and attributed; and 2) how effective dosing of new agents incorporated into multi-agent ALL clinical trials can be safely established in the face of disease- and therapy-related systemic toxicities. The consensus DLT definition incorporates tolerance of resolving Grade 3 and some resolving Grade 4 toxicities with stringent safety monitoring. This functional DLT definition is being tested in two Children’s Oncology Group (COG) ALL clinical trials.
PMCID: PMC2857540  PMID: 20127846
ALL; ALL relapse; developmental therapeutics; dose-limiting toxicity; maximum tolerated dose
12.  Phase I Pharmacologic and Biologic Study of Ramucirumab (IMC-1121B), a Fully Human Immunoglobulin G1 Monoclonal Antibody Targeting the Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor Receptor-2 
Journal of Clinical Oncology  2010;28(5):780-787.
To evaluate the safety, maximum-tolerated dose (MTD), pharmacokinetics (PKs), pharmacodynamics, and preliminary anticancer activity of ramucirumab (IMC-1121B), a fully human immunoglobulin G1 monoclonal antibody targeting the vascular endothelial growth factor receptor (VEGFR)-2.
Patients and Methods
Patients with advanced solid malignancies were treated once weekly with escalating doses of ramucirumab. Blood was sampled for PK studies throughout treatment. The effects of ramucirumab on circulating vascular endothelial growth factor-A (VEGF-A), soluble VEGFR-1 and VEGFR-2, tumor perfusion, and vascularity using dynamic contrast-enhanced magnetic resonance imaging were assessed.
Thirty-seven patients were treated with 2 to 16 mg/kg of ramucirumab. After one patient each developed dose-limiting hypertension and deep venous thrombosis at 16 mg/kg, the next lower dose (13 mg/kg) was considered the MTD. Nausea, vomiting, headache, fatigue, and proteinuria were also noted. Four (15%) of 27 patients with measurable disease had a partial response (PR), and 11 (30%) of 37 patients had either a PR or stable disease lasting at least 6 months. PKs were characterized by dose-dependent elimination and nonlinear exposure consistent with saturable clearance. Mean trough concentrations exceeded biologically relevant target levels throughout treatment at all dose levels. Serum VEGF-A increased 1.5 to 3.5 times above pretreatment values and remained in this range throughout treatment at all dose levels. Tumor perfusion and vascularity decreased in 69% of evaluable patients.
Objective antitumor activity and antiangiogenic effects were observed over a wide range of dose levels, suggesting that ramucirumab may have a favorable therapeutic index in treating malignancies amenable to VEGFR-2 inhibition.
PMCID: PMC2834394  PMID: 20048182
13.  Small Cell Undifferentiated Variant of Hepatoblastoma: Adverse Clinical and Molecular Features Similar to Rhabdoid Tumors 
Pediatric blood & cancer  2009;52(3):328-334.
Small cell undifferentiated (SCU) histology in patients with stage I hepatoblastoma (HB) predicts an increased risk of relapse. We sought to determine the significance of SCU histology in patients with unresectable HB.
Patients enrolled on the pediatric Intergroup (INT0098) trial for HB and patients from the personal consultation files of two of the authors (MF, LG) were reviewed for cases with SCU histology. These patients were compared with SCU HB patients identified by literature review.
Eleven patients were studied. All patients with reported AFP results exhibited normal or minimally increased serum AFP levels. None of the patients survived: 10 died of disease progression, and 1 died from treatment complications. Immunostaining revealed that tumors from six of six patients tested were INI1 negative. Cytogenetic and molecular abnormalities in 1 patient (and 2 patients from the literature review) were similar to those described in rhabdoid tumors. Comparison with patients from the literature review revealed similar results except that four of 29 patients survived without evidence of disease.
SCU histology in HB patients is associated with an adverse outcome. These tumors appear to be biologically different from non-SCU HB. Evaluation of patient characteristics and outcomes for children with SCU HB and/or those with low AFP levels should be determined from large cooperative group studies. In the meantime, we suggest patients with unresectable HB containing SCU elements have careful cytogenetic, molecular, and immunohistochemical evaluation to ascertain rhabdoid features and receive treatment that differs from that provided for other HB patients.
PMCID: PMC2946187  PMID: 18985717
Hepatoblastoma; small cell; undifferentiated; rhabdoid; anaplastic
14.  A phase I study of bortezomib, etoposide and carboplatin in patients with advanced solid tumors refractory to standard therapy 
Investigational new drugs  2008;27(1):53-62.
To evaluate the toxicity, pharmacological, and biological properties of the combination of bortezomib, etoposide, and carboplatin in adults with advanced solid malignancies.
Patients and methods
Patients received escalating doses of bortezomib, etoposide, and carboplatin every 21 days. Surrogate markers of angiogenesis were evaluated.
Twenty-four patients received 64 courses of therapy. The most common treatment-related adverse events were myelosuppression. Dose-limiting grade 3 and 4 neutropenia and thrombocytopenia were observed when bortezomib was given on days 1, 4, 8, 11. With revised dosing, the maximum tolerated dose (MTD) of bortezomib 0.75 mg/m2 (days 1, 8), etoposide 75 mg/m2 (days 1–3), and carboplatin AUC 5 (day 1) was well tolerated, and are the recommended doses for further studies with this combination. No objective responses were observed, however stable disease was noted for greater or equal to four cycles in nine highly refractory patients.
PMCID: PMC2829404  PMID: 18618082
Bortezomib; Combination chemotherapy; Phase I clinical trial; Proteasome inhibitor
15.  A phase I safety, pharmacological, and biological study of the farnesyl protein transferase inhibitor, lonafarnib (SCH 663366), in combination with cisplatin and gemcitabine in patients with advanced solid tumors 
This phase I study was conducted to evaluate the safety, tolerability, pharmacological properties and biological activity of the combination of the lonafarnib, a farnesylproteintransferase (FTPase) inhibitor, with gemcitabine and cisplatin in patients with advanced solid malignancies.
Experimental design
This was a single institution study to determine the maximal tolerated dose (MTD) of escalating lonafarnib (75–125 mg po BID) with gemcitabine (750–1,000 mg/m2 on days 1, 8, 15) and fixed cisplatin (75 mg/m2 day 1) every 28 days. Due to dose-limiting toxicities (DLTs) of neutropenia and thrombocytopenia in initial patients, these patients were considered “heavily pretreated” and the protocol was amended to limit prior therapy and re-escalate lonafarnib in “less heavily pre-treated patients” on 28-day and 21-day schedules. Cycle 1 and 2 pharmacokinetics (PK), and farnesylation of the HDJ2 chaperone protein and FPTase activity were analyzed.
Twenty-two patients received 53 courses of therapy. Nausea, vomiting, and fatigue were frequent in all patients. Severe toxicities were observed in 91% of patients: neutropenia (41%), nausea (36%), thrombocytopenia (32%), anemia (23%) and vomiting (23%). Nine patients withdrew from the study due to toxicity. DLTs of neutropenia, febrile neutropenia, thrombocytopenia, and fatigue limited dose-escalation on the 28-day schedule. The MTD was established as lonafarnib 75 mg BID, gemcitabine 750 mg/m2 days 1, 8, 15, and cisplatin 75 mg/m2 in heavily pre-treated patients. The MTD in the less heavily pre-treated patients could not be established on the 28-day schedule as DLTs were observed at the lowest dose level, and dose escalation was not completed on the 21-day schedule due to early study termination by the Sponsor. No PK interactions were observed. FTPase inhibition was not observed at the MTD, however HDJ-2 gel shift was observed in one patient at the 100 mg BID lonafarnib dose. Anti-cancer activity was observed: four patients had stable disease lasting >2 cycles, one subject had a complete response, and another had a partial response, both with metastatic breast cancer.
Lonafarnib 75 mg BID, gemcitabine 750 mg/m2 days 1, 8, 15, and cisplatin 75 mg/m2 day 1 on a 28-day schedule was established as the MTD. Lonafarnib did not demonstrate FTPase inhibition at these doses. Despite the observed efficacy, substantial toxicity and questionable contribution of anti-tumor activity of lonafarnib to gemcitabine and cisplatin limits further exploration of this combination.
PMCID: PMC2813768  PMID: 18058098
Lonafarnib; SCH66336; Cisplatin; Gemcitabine; Farnesyltransferase; Phase I; Pharmacokinetics
16.  A phase I study of gefitinib, capecitabine, and celecoxib in patients with advanced solid tumors 
Molecular cancer therapeutics  2008;7(12):3685.
This phase I study was designed to determine the maximum tolerated dose (MTD) and toxicity profile of the combination of gefitinib, capecitabine, and celecoxib in patients with advanced solid tumors. Patients were treated with escalating doses of gefitinib once daily, capecitabine twice daily (14 of 28 days), and celecoxib twice daily. Plasma samples for biomarkers were obtained at baseline and weekly for the first 2 cycles. Pharmacokinetic variables were correlated with toxicity and presence of biological effect. Tumor biopsies from 5 patients were analyzed for changes in tumor metabolic activity by nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy. [18F]fluororodeoxyglucose positron emission tomography was done as a correlate in 6 patients at the MTD. Thirty-nine patients received 168 cycles of therapy. The dose-limiting toxicities observed included nausea, dehydration and nausea, diarrhea, and stomatitis. The MTD was 250 mg/d gefitinib (days 1–14) and 2,000 mg/m2/d capecitabine divided twice daily (days 8–21) every 28 days. Celecoxib was eliminated due to concerns of increased risk for cardiovascular toxicity, although no patients in this study had cardiac events. One patient with cholangiocarcinoma had a confirmed partial response. Fourteen of 39 (36%) patients maintained prolonged stable disease for a median of 4 months (range, 3–24 months). [18F]fluorodeoxyglulucose positron emission tomography scan and metabolomic analyses revealed differences in metabolic response to gefitinib versus capecitabine. The combination of gefitinib and capecitabine is well tolerated and appears to have activity against certain advanced solid tumors, providing a rationale for further evaluation in advanced solid malignancies.
PMCID: PMC2813692  PMID: 19074845
17.  A phase I pharmacological and biological study of PI-88 and docetaxel in patients with advanced malignancies 
This study evaluated the safety, toxicity, pharmacological properties and biological activity of PI-88, a heparanase endoglycosidase enzyme inhibitor, with fixed weekly docetaxel in patients with advanced solid malignancies.
Experimental design
This was a phase I study to determine the maximal-tolerated dose of escalating doses of PI-88 administered subcutaneously for 4 days per week, along with docetaxel 30 mg/m2 given on days 1, 8, 15 of a 28-day schedule.
Sixteen patients received a total of 42 courses of therapy. No dose-limiting toxicities were observed despite escalation to the highest planned dose level of PI-88 (250 mg/day). Frequent minor toxicities included fatigue (38%), dysgeusia (28.5%), thrombocytopenia (12%), diarrhea (14%), nausea (12%), and emesis (10%) in the 42 courses. No significant bleeding complications were observed. One patient developed a positive anti-heparin antibody test/serotonin releasing assay with positive anti-platelet factor 4/PI-88 antibodies and grade 1 thrombocytopenia in cycle 5, and was withdrawn from the study without any sequelae. PI-88 plasma concentrations (mirrored by APTT) and urinary elimination were linear and dose-proportional. Docetaxel did not alter the pharmacokinetic (PK) profile of PI-88, nor did PI-88 affect docetaxel PK. No significant relationship was determined between plasma or urine FGF-2, or plasma VEGF levels and PI-88 dose/response. Although no objective responses were observed; 9 of the 15 evaluable patients had stable disease for greater than two cycles of therapy.
PI-88 administered at 250 mg/day for 4 days each week for 3 weeks with docetaxel 30 mg/m2 on days 1, 8 and 15, every 28 days, was determined to be the recommended dose level for phase II evaluation. This combination was well tolerated without severe toxicities or PK interactions.
PMCID: PMC2813677  PMID: 18320191
PI-88; Docetaxel; Heparanase inhibitor; Angiogenesis; Clinical trial; Advanced malignancies
18.  A Phase I and Pharmacokinetic Study of the Oral Histone Deacetylase Inhibitor, MS-275, in Patients with Refractory Solid Tumors and Lymphomas 
To evaluate the toxicity profile, pharmacologic, and biological properties of 3-pyridylmethyl N-{4-[(2-aminophenyl)carbamoyl]benzyl}carbamate (MS-275), a histone deacetylase inhibitor, when administered orally on three different dosing schedules.
Experimental Design
Patients with advanced solid malignancies and lymphomas were treated on three dose schedules: once every other week, twice weekly for 3 weeks every 28 days, and once weekly for 3 weeks every 28 days. First-cycle plasma pharmacokinetics and peripheral blood mononuclear cell histone acetylation were determined.
Twenty-seven patients received ≥149 courses of treatment. Hypophosphatemia and asthenia were dose limiting on the weekly and twice-weekly dosing schedules; there was no dose-limiting toxicity on the every other week schedule. Pharmacokinetic variables revealed dose-dependent and dose-proportional increases. Two of 27 patients showed partial remissions, including one patient with metastatic melanoma who had a partial response and has remained on study for >5 years. Six patients showed prolonged disease stabilization. Levels of histone H3 and H4 acetylation in peripheral blood mononuclear cells increased qualitatively but with a high degree of interpatient variation.
MS-275 is well tolerated at doses up to 6 mg/m2 every other week or 4 mg/m2 weekly for 3 weeks followed by 1 week of rest and results in biologically relevant plasma concentrations and antitumor activity. Twice-weekly dosing was not tolerable due to asthenia, and further evaluation of this schedule was halted. The recommended dose for further disease-focused studies is 4 mg/m2 given weekly for 3 weeks every 28 days or 2 to 6 mg/m2 given once every other week.
PMCID: PMC2813676  PMID: 18579665
19.  Phase I Pharmacokinetic and Pharmacodynamic Study of the Oral, Small-Molecule Mitogen-Activated Protein Kinase Kinase 1/2 Inhibitor AZD6244 (ARRY-142886) in Patients With Advanced Cancers 
To assess the tolerability, pharmacokinetics (PKs), and pharmacodynamics (PDs) of the mitogen-activated protein kinase kinase (MEK) 1/2 inhibitor AZD6244 (ARRY-142886) in patients with advanced cancer.
Patients and Methods
In part A, patients received escalating doses to determine the maximum-tolerated dose (MTD). In both parts, blood samples were collected to assess PK and PD parameters. In part B, patients were stratified by cancer type (melanoma v other) and randomly assigned to receive the MTD or 50% MTD. Biopsies were collected to determine inhibition of ERK phosphorylation, Ki-67 expression, and BRAF, KRAS, and NRAS mutations.
Fifty-seven patients were enrolled. MTD in part A was 200 mg bid, but this dose was discontinued in part B because of toxicity. The 50% MTD (100 mg bid) was well tolerated. Rash was the most frequent and dose-limiting toxicity. Most other adverse events were grade 1 or 2. The PKs were less than dose proportional, with a median half-life of approximately 8 hours and inhibition of ERK phosphorylation in peripheral-blood mononuclear cells at all dose levels. Paired tumor biopsies demonstrated reduced ERK phosphorylation (geometric mean, 79%). Five of 20 patients demonstrated ≥ 50% inhibition of Ki-67 expression, and RAF or RAS mutations were detected in 10 of 26 assessable tumor samples. Nine patients had stable disease (SD) for ≥ 5 months, including two patients with SD for 19 (thyroid cancer) and 22 (uveal melanoma plus renal cancer) 28-day cycles.
AZD6244 was well tolerated with target inhibition demonstrated at the recommended phase II dose. PK analyses supported twice-daily dosing. Prolonged SD was seen in a variety of advanced cancers. Phase II studies are ongoing.
PMCID: PMC2718422  PMID: 18390968
20.  E2F1 and E2F2 Determine Thresholds for Antigen-Induced T-Cell Proliferation and Suppress Tumorigenesis 
Molecular and Cellular Biology  2001;21(24):8547-8564.
E2F activity is critical for the control of the G1 to S phase transition. We show that the combined loss of E2F1 and E2F2 results in profound effects on hematopoietic cell proliferation and differentiation, as well as increased tumorigenesis and decreased lymphocyte tolerance. The loss of E2F1 and E2F2 impedes B-cell differentiation, and hematopoietic progenitor cells in the bone marrow of mice lacking E2F1 and E2F2 exhibit increased cell cycling. Importantly, we show that E2F1 and E2F2 double-knockout T cells exhibit more rapid entry into S phase following antigenic stimulation. Furthermore, T cells lacking E2F1 and E2F2 proliferate much more extensively in response to subthreshold antigenic stimulation. Consistent with these observations, E2F1/E2F2 mutant mice are highly predisposed to the development of tumors, and some mice exhibit signs of autoimmunity.
PMCID: PMC100017  PMID: 11713289

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