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1.  A Phase I Dose-Escalation Study of Danusertib (PHA-739358) Administered as a 24-hour Infusion With and Without G-CSF in a 14-day Cycle in Patients with Advanced Solid Tumors 
Purpose
This study was conducted to assess the safety, tolerability, pharmacokinetics and pharmacodynamics of the intravenous pan-aurora kinase inhibitor PHA-739358, danusertib, in patients with advanced solid tumors.
Experimental Design
In Part 1, patients received escalating doses of danusertib (24-h infusion every 14 days) without filgrastim (G-CSF). Febrile neutropenia was the dose-limiting toxicity without G-CSF. Further dose escalation was performed in part 2 with G-CSF. Blood samples were collected for danusertib pharmacokinetics and pharmacodynamics. Skin biopsies were collected to assess histone H3 phosphorylation (pH3).
Results
Fifty-six patients were treated, 40 in part 1 and 16 in part 2. Febrile neutropenia was the dose limiting toxicity in Part 1 without G-CSF. Most other adverse events were grade 1–2, occurring at doses ≥360 mg/m2 with similar incidence in parts 1 and 2. The MTD without G-CSF is 500 mg/m2. The recommended phase 2 dose (RP2D) in Part 2 with G-CSF is 750 mg/m2. Danusertib demonstrated dose-proportional pharmacokinetics in parts 1 and 2 with a median half-life of 18–26 hours. pH3 modulation in skin biopsies was observed at ≥500 mg/m2. One patient with refractory small cell lung cancer (1000 mg/m2 with G-CSF) had an objective response lasting 23 weeks. One patient with refractory ovarian cancer had 27% tumor regression and 30% CA125 decline.
Conclusions
Danusertib was well tolerated with target inhibition in skin at ≥500 mg/m2. Preliminary evidence of anti-tumor activity, including a PR and several occurrences of prolonged stable disease (SD), was seen across a variety of advanced refractory cancers. Phase II studies are ongoing.
doi:10.1158/1078-0432.CCR-09-1445
PMCID: PMC2826106  PMID: 19825950
Danusertib; PHA-739358; Aurora Kinase Inhibitor; phase I trial; solid tumors
2.  Aurora Kinase Inhibitor PHA-739358 Suppresses Growth of Hepatocellular Carcinoma In Vitro and in a Xenograft Mouse Model1 
Neoplasia (New York, N.Y.)  2009;11(9):934-944.
Patients with advanced stages of hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) face a poor prognosis. Although encouraging clinical results have been obtained with multikinase inhibitor sorafenib, the development of improved therapeutic strategies for HCC remains an urgent goal. Aurora kinases are key regulators of the cell cycle, and their uncontrolled expression promotes aneuploidy and tumor development. In tissue microarray analyses, we detected aurora-A kinase expression in all of the examined 93 human HCC samples, whereas aurora-B kinase expression levels significantly correlated with the proliferation index of HCCs. In addition, two human HCC cell lines (Huh-7 and HepG2) were tested positive for aurora-A and -B and revealed Ser10 phosphorylation of histone H3, indicating an increased aurora-B kinase activity. The antiproliferative features of a novel aurora kinase inhibitor, PHA-739358, currently under investigation in phase 2 clinical trials for other solid tumors, were examined in vitro and in vivo. At concentrations exceeding 50nM, PHA-739358 completely suppressed tumor cell proliferation in cell culture experiments and strongly decreased histone H3 phosphorylation. Cell cycle inhibition and endoreduplication were observed at 50 nM, whereas higher concentrations led to a complete G2/M-phase arrest. In vivo, administration of PHA-739358 resulted in significant tumor growth inhibition at a well-tolerated dose. In combination with sorafenib, additive effects were observed. Remarkably, when tumors restarted to grow under sorafenib monotherapy, subsequent treatment with PHA-739358 induced tumor shrinkage by up to 81%. Thus, targeting aurora kinases with PHA-739358 is a promising therapeutic strategy administered alone or in combination with sorafenib for patients with advanced stages of HCC.
PMCID: PMC2735802  PMID: 19724687

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