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1.  Atrasentan in Patients with Advanced Renal Cell Carcinoma: A Phase II Trial of the ECOG-ACRIN Cancer Research Group (E6800) 
Clinical genitourinary cancer  2015;13(6):531-539.e1.
Atrasentan, an oral endothelin-A receptor antagonist, demonstrated Phase I activity in patients with renal cell cancer (RCC). A phase II study was undertaken in patients with measurable or bone only metastatic RCC in the pre-VEGF/TKI era.
Methods and Materials
Patients were stratified on disease status and prior immunotherapy. Eligible patients had no prior chemotherapy, 0-1 prior immunotherapies, and ECOG PS 0 - 2. Patients received atrasentan 10 mg/day until progression. The primary endpoint was progression-free (PF) rate at 6 months. Rates of 25% among patients treated with prior immunotherapy and 45% among patients with no prior immunotherapy were considered promising. A two-stage design was used for cohorts without prior immunotherapy.
From 2003 to 2005, 98 patients were registered. Median treatment duration was 9.9 weeks (range, 0.3 - 107 weeks). Toxicities were mild; 71% of patients reported no Grade 3 or higher treatment-related events. Grade 4 events included neutropenia (n=3), dyspnea (n=2), thrombosis, and arrhythmia (n=1 each). Two grade 5 events (dyspnea and constitutional) were possibly treatment-related. Six-month PF rates (90% CI) were 14% (6 - 25%), 0% (0 – 39%), 8% (1 – 23%) and 22% (8 – 44%) respectively for patients with prior immunotherapy/measurable disease (n=44), prior immunotherapy/bone metastases (n=6), no prior immunotherapy/measurable disease (n=25), and no prior immunotherapy/bone metastases (n=18). Median PF survival was 2.3 months (95% CI, 2.0 – 3.5 months).
While well tolerated, atrasentan did not yield 6-month PF rates supporting its use as first-line monotherapy in patients with advanced RCC.
PMCID: PMC4637227  PMID: 26272427
kidney cancer; endothelin-A receptor antagonist; bone metastases
2.  Effects of adjuvant sorafenib and sunitinib on cardiac function in renal cell carcinoma patients without overt metastases: results from ASSURE, ECOG 2805 
Sunitinib and sorafenib are used widely in the treatment of renal cell carcinoma (RCC). These agents are associated with a significant incidence of cardiovascular (CV) dysfunction and left ventricular ejection fraction (LVEF) declines, observed largely in the metastatic setting. However, in the adjuvant population, the CV effects of these agents remain unknown. We prospectively defined the incidence of cardiotoxicity amongst resected, high-risk RCC patients treated with these agents.
Sunitinib, sorafenib, or placebo was administered for up to 12 months in patients with high-risk, resected RCC. LVEF was measured by multi-gated acquisition (MUGA) scans at standard intervals. Additional CV adverse events were reported according to NCI Common Terminology Criteria for Adverse Events (CTCAE).
Among 1,943 patients randomized, 1,599 had at least 1 post-baseline MUGA. Within 6 months, 21 patients (1.3%) experienced a cardiac event, defined as an LVEF decline from baseline that was >15% and below the institutional lower limit of normal. Nine of 513 (1.8%) patients were on sunitinib; 7 of 508 (1.4%) on sorafenib; and 5 of 578 (0.9%) on placebo (p=0.28 and 0.56 comparing sunitinib and sorafenib to placebo, respectively). With dose interruption or adjustment, 16 of the 21 recovered their LVEF to >50%. The incidence of symptomatic heart failure, arrhythmia, or myocardial ischemia did not differ among groups.
In the adjuvant setting, we prospectively define low incidence of cardiotoxicity with sunitinib and sorafenib. These findings may be related to close CV monitoring, or potentially to fewer CV comorbidities in our non-metastatic population.
PMCID: PMC4573791  PMID: 25967143
cardiac safety; renal cell cancer; sorafenib; sunitinib; tyrosine kinase inhibitors
3.  A National Multicenter Phase 2 Study of Prostate-specific Antigen (PSA) Pox Virus Vaccine with Sequential Androgen Ablation Therapy in Patients with PSA Progression: ECOG 9802 
European urology  2014;68(3):365-371.
E9802 was a phase 2 multi-institution study conducted to evaluate the safety and effectiveness of vaccinia and fowlpox prostate-specific antigen (PSA) vaccine (step 1) followed by combination with androgen ablation therapy (step 2) in patients with PSA progression without visible metastasis.
To test the hypothesis that vaccine therapy in this early disease setting will be safe and have a biochemical effect that would support future studies of immunotherapy in patients with minimal disease burden.
Design, setting, and participants
Patients had PSA progression following local therapy were treated with PROSTVAC-V (vaccinia)/TRICOM on cycle 1 followed by PROSTVAC-F (fowlpox)/TRICOM for subsequent cycles in combination with granulocyte-macrophage colony-stimulating factor (step 1). Androgen ablation was added on progression (step 2).
Outcome measurements and statistical analysis
Step 1 primary end points included progression at 6 mo and characterization of change in PSA velocity pretreatment to post-treatment. Step 2 end points included PSA response with combined vaccine and androgen ablation.
Results and limitations
In step 1, 25 of 40 eligible patients (63%) were progression free at 6 mo after registration (90% confidence interval [CI], 48–75). The median pretreatment PSA velocity was 0.13 log(PSA)/mo, in contrast to median postregistration velocity of 0.09 log(PSA)/mo (p = 0.02), which is an increase in median PSA doubling time from 5.3 mo to 7.7 mo. No grade ≥4 treatment-related toxicity was observed. In the 27 patients eligible and treated for step 2, 20 patients achieved a complete response (CR) at 7 mo (CR rate: 74%; 90% CI, 57–87). Although supportive of larger studies in the cooperative group setting, this study is limited by the small number of patients and the absence of a control group as in a phase 3 study.
A viral PSA vaccine can be administered safely in the multi-institutional cooperative group setting to patients with minimal disease volume alone and combined with androgen ablation, supporting the feasibility of future phase 3 studies in this population.
Patient summary
These data support consideration of vaccine therapy earlier in the course of prostate cancer progression with minimal disease burden in clinical practice and future studies of vaccine approaches in earlier stages of disease.
PMCID: PMC4472612  PMID: 25533418
Prostate cancer; Pox virus; Vaccine; PSA
4.  Expression of Spermidine/Spermine N1-Acetyl Transferase (SSAT) in Human Prostate Tissues is Related to Prostate Cancer Progression and Metastasis 
The Prostate  2015;75(11):1150-1159.
PCa in many patients remains indolent for the rest of their lives, but in some patients it progresses to lethal metastatic disease. Gleason Score (GS) is the current clinical method for PCa prognosis. It cannot reliably identify aggressive PCa, when GS is ≤7. It is shown that oxidative stress plays a key role in PCa progression. We have shown that in cultured human PCa cells, an activation of Spermidine/Spermine N1-acetyl transferase (EC enzyme initiates a polyamine oxidation pathway and generates copious amounts of reactive oxygen species (ROS) in polyamine-rich PCa cells.
We used RNA in situ hybridization (RNA-ISH) and immunohistochemistry (IHC) methods to detect SSAT mRNA and protein expression in two tissue microarrays (TMA) created from patient prostate tissues. We analyzed 423 patient prostate tissues in the two TMAs.
Our data show that there is a significant increase in both SSAT mRNA and the enzyme protein in the PCa cells as compared to their benign counterpart. This increase is even more pronounced in metastatic PCa tissues as compared to the PCa localized in the prostate. In the prostatectomy tissues from early-stage patients, the SSAT protein level is also high in the tissues obtained from the patients who ultimately progress to advanced metastatic disease.
Based on these results combined with published data from our and other laboratories we propose an activation of an autocrine feed-forward loop of PCa cell proliferation in the absence of androgen as a possible mechanism of castrate-resistant prostate cancer (CRPCa) growth.
PMCID: PMC4475436  PMID: 25893668
5.  A Phase I Study to Determine the Maximum Tolerated Dose and Safety of Oral LR-103 (1α,24(S)Dihydroxyvitamin D2) in Patients with Advanced Cancer 
The objective of this study was to determine the maximum tolerated dose (MTD) and safety of LR-103, a Vitamin D analogue, in patients with advanced cancer.
In Step A, patients received once daily oral LR-103 in 14-day cycles with intra-patient dose escalation per accelerated dose escalation design. Dose limiting toxicity (DLT) for Step A was defined as ≥ grade (gr.) 2 hypercalcemia and/or > gr. 2 other toxicities. Starting dose was 5µg/day. Step B used a 3+3 design starting at Step A MTD with 28-day cycles. DLT was defined as ≥ gr. 3 hypercalcemia or any gr. 3 or 4 non-hematologic toxicity, except hypercalciuria.
21 patients were enrolled; 8 were treated in Step A. At dose level 3 (15 µg/day), 2patientsshad DLT. One had gr. 4 hyperuricemia. The other had gr. 4 GGT plus gr. 3 alkaline phosphatase, fatigue and UTI. Dose level 2 (10 µg/day) was the MTD for Step A and was starting dose for Step B. The dose was escalated to dose level 5 (30 µg/day) with 1 patient experiencing gr 3 DLT of hypercalcemia. The study was discontinued before reaching the MTD due to sponsor decision. Modest increases in serum osteocalcin and calcium and decrease in parathyroid hormone were noted. Best response was stable disease; 4 patients were on therapy for ≥ 6 months.
Step A DLTs limited accelerated dose escalation. The MTD of LR-103 was not reached prior to study termination and this agent is no longer being developed.
PMCID: PMC4281509  PMID: 24986793
Vitamin D; phase I; cancer
6.  Potential cytochrome P-450 drug–drug interactions in adults with metastatic solid tumors and effect on eligibility for Phase I clinical trials 
Potential cytochrome P-450 (CYP) drug–drug interactions in adults with metastatic solid tumors and their effect on eligibility for Phase I clinical trials were characterized.
This study included adult patients with metastatic solid tumors seen by a medical oncologist from January 2008 through July 2011. The medications used by these patients were identified. Each medication's potential for interacting with CYP isozymes was also characterized. Medication changes required to meet Phase I trial eligibility criteria were also reviewed.
Data from 1773 patients were analyzed: 1489 were not enrolled in a Phase I trial and 284 were enrolled in a Phase I trial. Polypharmacy was significantly more prevalent in the group enrolled in a Phase I trial compared with those not enrolled (95% versus 80%, p < 0.001). The majority of patients not enrolled in a Phase I trial were taking at least one CYP isozyme inhibitor (87%) and at least one CYP isozyme inducer (45%). In a separate analysis, four Phase I trials were evaluated. Of 295 screened patients, 3.2% could not enroll due to concurrent medications. Charts from 74 enrolled patients revealed 655 concurrent medications—93 medications required further review for eligibility involving 51 (69%) of patients. Of the 93 medications, 38 (41%) were stopped and 41 (44%) were changed for the study.
Polypharmacy and the use of medications that interact with CYP isoyzmes were common in adult patients with metastatic solid tumors. Patients enrolling in Phase I studies often require medication changes to meet eligibility requirements.
PMCID: PMC4510955  PMID: 25987691
7.  β-Lapachone-mediated Apoptosis in Human Promyelocytic Leukemia (HL-60) and Human Prostate Cancer Cells: A p53-independent Response1 
Cancer research  1995;55(17):3706-3711.
β -Lapachone and certain of its derivatives directly bind and inhibit topoisomerase I (Topo I) DNA unwinding activity and form DNA-Topo I complexes, which are not resolvable by SDS-K+ assays. We show that β-lapachone can induce apoptosis in certain cells, such as in human promyelocytic leukemia (HL-60) and human prostate cancer (DU-145, PC-3, and LNCaP) cells, as also described by Li et al. (Cancer Res., 55: 0000–0000, 1995). Characteristic 180-200-bp oligonucleosome DNA laddering and fragmented DNA-containing apoptotic cells via flow cytometry and morphological examinations were observed in 4 h in HL-60 cells after a 4-h, ≥0.5 μM β-lapachone exposure. HL-60 cells treated with camptothecin or topotecan resulted in greater apoptotic DNA laddering and apoptotic cell populations than comparable equitoxic concentrations of β-lapachone, although β-lapachone was a more effective Topo I inhibitor. β-Lapachone treatment (4 h, 1–5 μM) resulted in a block at G0/G1,with decreases in S and G2/M phases and increases in apoptotic cell populations over time in HL-60 and three separate human prostate cancer (DU-145, PC-3, and LNCaP) cells. Similar treatments with topotecan or camptothecin (4 h, 1–5 μM) resulted in blockage of cells in S and apoptosis. Thus, β-lapachone causes a block in G0/G1 of the cell cycle and induces apoptosis in cells before, or at early times during, DNA synthesis. These events are p53 independent, since PC-3 and HL-60 cells are null cells, LNCaP are wild-type, and DU-145 contain mutant p53, yet all undergo apoptosis after β-lapachone treatment. Interestingly, β-lapachone treatment of p53 wild type-containing prostate cancer cells (i.e., LNCaP) did not result in the induction of nuclear levels of p53 protein, as did camptothecin-treated cells. Like other Topo I inhibitors, β-lapachone may induce apoptosis by locking Topo I onto DNA, blocking replication fork movement, and inducing apoptosis in a p53-independent fashion. β-Lapachone and its derivatives, as well as other Topo I inhibitors, have potential clinical utility alone against human leukemia and prostate cancers.
PMCID: PMC4807624  PMID: 7641180
8.  Inhibitor of p52 NF-κB subunit and androgen receptor (AR) interaction reduces growth of human prostate cancer cells by abrogating nuclear translocation of p52 and phosphorylated ARser81 
Genes & Cancer  2015;6(9-10):428-444.
Accumulating evidence shows that androgen receptor (AR) activation and signaling plays a key role in growth and progression in all stages of prostate cancer, even under low androgen levels or in the absence of androgen in the castration-resistant prostate cancer. Sustained activation of AR under androgen-deprived conditions may be due to its interaction with co-activators, such as p52 NF-κB subunit, and/or an increase in its stability by phosphorylation that delays its degradation. Here we identified a specific inhibitor of AR/p52 interaction, AR/p52-02, via a high throughput screen based on the reconstitution of Gaussia Luciferase. We found that AR/p52-02 markedly inhibited growth of both castration-resistant C4-2 (IC50 ∼6 μM) and parental androgen-dependent LNCaP (IC50 ∼4 μM) human prostate cancer cells under low androgen conditions. Growth inhibition was associated with significantly reduced nuclear p52 levels and DNA binding activity, as well as decreased phosphorylation of AR at serine 81, increased AR ubiquitination, and decreased AR transcriptional activity as indicated by decreased prostate-specific antigen (PSA) mRNA levels in both cell lines. AR/p52-02 also caused a reduction in levels of p21WAF/CIP1, which is a direct AR targeted gene in that its expression correlates with androgen stimulation and mitogenic proliferation in prostate cancer under physiologic levels of androgen, likely by disrupting the AR signaling axis. The reduced level of cyclinD1 reported previously for this compound may be due to the reduction in nuclear presence and activity of p52, which directly regulates cyclinD1 expression, as well as the reduction in p21WAF/CIP1, since p21WAF/CIP1 is reported to stabilize nuclear cyclinD1 in prostate cancer. Overall, the data suggest that specifically inhibiting the interaction of AR with p52 and blocking activity of p52 and pARser81 may be an effective means of reducing castration-resistant prostate cancer cell growth.
PMCID: PMC4633170  PMID: 26622945
NF-κB2/p52; AR; protein-protein interaction inhibitor; prostate cancer
9.  Real-Time Immune Monitoring to Guide Plasmid DNA Vaccination Schedule Targeting Prostatic Acid Phosphatase (PAP) in Patients with Castration-Resistant Prostate Cancer 
We have previously reported that a DNA vaccine encoding prostatic acid phosphatase (PAP) could elicit PAP-specific T cells in patients with early recurrent prostate cancer. In the current pilot trial we sought to evaluate whether prolonged immunization with regular booster immunizations, or “personalized” schedules of immunization determined using real-time immune monitoring, could elicit persistent, antigen-specific T cells, and whether treatment was associated with changes in PSA doubling time (PSA DT).
16 patients with castration-resistant, non-metastatic prostate cancer received six immunizations at two-week intervals, and then either quarterly (Arm 1) or as determined by multi-parameter immune monitoring (Arm 2).
Patients were on study a median of 16 months; four received 24 vaccinations. Only one event associated with treatment > grade 2 was observed. 6/16 (38%) remained metastasis-free at 2 years. PAP-specific T cells were elicited in 12/16 (75%), predominantly of a Th1 phenotype, which persisted in frequency and phenotype for at least one year. IFNγ-secreting T-cell responses measured by ELISPOT were detectable in 5/13 individuals at one year, and this was not statistically different between study arms. The overall median fold change in PSA DT from pre-treatment to post-treatment was 1.6 (range 0.6–7.0, p=0.036).
Repetitive immunization with a plasmid DNA vaccine was safe and elicited Th1-biased antigen-specific T cells that persisted over time. Modifications in the immunization schedule based on real-time immune monitoring did not increase the frequency of patients developing effector and memory T-cell responses with this DNA vaccine.
PMCID: PMC4102643  PMID: 24850844
DNA vaccine; prostate cancer; prostatic acid phosphatase; clinical trial; immune monitoring
10.  A Phase I study of AT-101 with Cisplatin and Etoposide in patients with advanced solid tumors with an Expanded Cohort in Extensive-Stage Small Cell Lung Cancer 
Investigational new drugs  2013;32(2):295-302.
A phase I, dose-escalation study of AT-101 with cisplatin and etoposide was conducted to determine the maximum tolerated dose (MTD)/recommended phase 2 dose (RP2D), safety and pharmacokinetics in patients with advanced solid tumors, with an expanded cohort in patients with extensive-stage small cell lung cancer (ES-SCLC) to assess preliminary activity.
In the dose escalation portion, increasing doses of AT-101 were administered orally BID on days 1–3 along with cisplatin on day 1 and etoposide on days 1–3 of a 21 day cycle. At the RP2D, an additional 7 patients with untreated ES-SCLC were enrolled.
Twenty patients were enrolled in the dose-escalation cohort, and 7 patients with ES-SCLC were enrolled in the expanded cohort. The MTD/RP2D was established at AT-101 40 mg BID days 1–3 with cisplatin 60 mg/m2 and etoposide 120 mg/m2 on day 1 of a 21 day cycle with pegfilgrastim support. Two DLTs of neutropenic fever were seen at dose level 1. After the addition of pegfilgrastim, no additional DLTs were observed. Grade 3/4 treatment-related toxicities included: diarrhea, increased AST, neutropenia, hypophosphatemia, hyponatremia, myocardial infarction and pulmonary embolism. No apparent PK interactions were observed between the agents. Preliminary activity was observed with PRs in patients with ES-SCLC, high-grade neuroendocrine tumor, esophageal cancer and NSCLC.
AT-101 with cisplatin and etoposide is well tolerated with growth factor support. Anti-tumor activity was observed in a variety of cancers including ES-SCLC, supporting further investigation with BH-3 mimetics in combination with standard chemotherapy for ES-SCLC.
PMCID: PMC3895103  PMID: 23860642
AT-101; cisplatin; etoposide; phase I; extensive-stage small cell lung cancer
11.  A Phase I Study of Intermittently Dosed Vorinostat in Combination with Bortezomib in Patients with Advanced Solid Tumors 
Investigational new drugs  2013;32(2):323-329.
Accumulating evidence shows evidence of efficacy with the combination of vorinostat and bortezomib in solid tumors. We previously examined a once-daily continuous dosing schedule of vorinostat in combination with bortezomib which was well tolerated in cycles 1 and 2; however, there was concern regarding the tolerability through multiple cycles. This study was conducted to evaluate an intermittent dosing schedule of vorinostat with bortezomib.
Vorinostat was initially administered orally twice daily on days 1–14 with bortezomib IV on days 1, 4, 8, and 11 of a 21 day cycle. Two DLTs (elevated ALT and fatigue) were observed at dose level 1, thus the protocol was amended to administer vorinostat intermittently twice daily on days 1–4 and 8–11.
29 patients were enrolled; 13 men and 16 women. Common cancer types included sarcoma, pancreatic, colorectal, GIST, and breast. The most common Grade 3–4 toxicities at any dose level included thrombocytopenia, fatigue, increased ALT, elevated INR, and diarrhea. DLTs in the intermittent dosing scheduled included thrombocytopenia and fatigue. The Cmax and AUC for the intermittent dosing regimen were similar to those observed in the daily dosing. In this heavily pretreated population, stable disease was observed in patients with sarcoma, colorectal adenocarcinoma and GIST.
The MTD was established at vorinostat 300 mg BID on days 1–4 and 8–11 and bortezomib 1.3 mg/m2 IV on days 1, 4, 8, and 11 of a 21 day cycle. Tolerability was not improved with the intermittent dosing schedule of vorinostat when compared to continuous dosing.
PMCID: PMC3949160  PMID: 24114123
SAHA; vorinostat; PS-341; bortezomib; phase I
12.  A Randomized Phase II Trial Evaluating Different Schedules of Zoledronic Acid on Bone Mineral Density in Patients With Prostate Cancer Beginning Androgen Deprivation Therapy 
Clinical genitourinary cancer  2013;11(4):10.1016/j.clgc.2013.04.029.
Although androgen deprivation therapy for prostate cancer is associated with an increased risk of osteoporosis, the optimal timing and schedule of zoledronic acid has not been identified. This phase II trial randomized 44 men beginning androgen deprivation therapy to 3 schedules of zoledronic acid administration. Earlier or more frequent administration of zoledronic acid was found to stabilize and improve bone mineral density in men treated with androgen deprivation therapy.
To assess the effects of timing and schedule of zoledronic acid (ZA) administration on bone mineral density (BMD) in patients beginning androgen deprivation therapy (ADT) for the treatment of recurrent prostate cancer.
Patients and Methods
In this randomized, 3-arm trial, we evaluated changes in BMD after 3 different ZA administration schedules in men with recurrent prostate cancer who were beginning ADT. Forty-four patients were enrolled and randomized to receive a single dose of ZA given 1 week before beginning ADT (arm 1), a single dose of ZA given 6 months after beginning ADT (arm 2), or monthly administration of ZA starting 6 months after beginning ADT, for a total of 6 doses (arm 3).
Patients who received ZA before ADT had a significant improvement in BMD at the total proximal femur and trochanter after 6 months compared with the other groups. In addition, only patients in the arm that received multiple doses improved lumbar spine BMD while on ADT, with these findings persisting to 24 months. However, this group also experienced more grade 1 adverse events.
Analysis of these data suggests that ZA administration before initiation of ADT was superior to treatment 6 months after starting ADT in maintaining BMD. In addition, monthly ZA administration can increase BMD above baseline but is associated with more adverse events. Further study is needed to examine whether the timing and frequency of ZA therapy in patients on ADT can reduce fracture risk.
PMCID: PMC3836858  PMID: 23835291
Androgen deprivation; Bone mineral density; Gamma delta T cells; Prostate cancer; Zoledronic acid
13.  A Phase I Study of Vorinostat in Combination with Bortezomib in Patients with Advanced Malignancies 
Investigational new drugs  2013;31(6):1539-1546.
A phase I study to assess the maximum-tolerated dose (MTD), dose-limiting toxicity (DLT), pharmacokinetics (PK) and antitumor activity of vorinostat in combination with bortezomib in patients with advanced solid tumors.
Patients received vorinostat orally once daily on days 1–14 and bortezomib intravenously on days 1, 4, 8 and 11 of a 21-day cycle. Starting dose (level 1) was vorinostat (400 mg) and bortezomib (0.7 mg/m2). Bortezomib dosing was increased using a standard phase I dose-escalation schema. PKs were evaluated during cycle 1.
Twenty-three patients received 57 cycles of treatment on four dose levels ranging from bortezomib 0.7 mg/m2 to 1.5 mg/m2. The MTD was established at vorinostat 400 mg daily and bortezomib 1.3 mg/m2. DLTs consisted of grade 3 fatigue in three patients (1 mg/m2,1.3 mg/m2 and 1.5 mg/m2) and grade 3 hyponatremia in one patient (1.5 mg/m2). The most common grade 1/2 toxicities included nausea (60.9%), fatigue (34.8%), diaphoresis (34.8%), anorexia (30.4%) and constipation (26.1%). Objective partial responses were observed in one patient with NSCLC and in one patient with treatment-refractory soft tissue sarcoma. Bortezomib did not affect the PKs of vorinostat; however, the Cmax and AUC of the acid metabolite were significantly increased on day 2 compared with day 1.
This combination was generally well-tolerated at doses that achieved clinical benefit. The MTD was established at vorinostat 400 mg daily x 14 days and bortezomib 1.3 mg/m2 on days 1, 4, 8 and 11 of a 21-day cycle.
PMCID: PMC3901262  PMID: 24114121
SAHA; vorinostat; PS-341; bortezomib; phase I
14.  Targeting Androgen Receptor and JunD Interaction for Prevention of Prostate Cancer Progression 
The Prostate  2014;74(7):792-803.
Multiple studies show that reactive oxygen species (ROS) play a major role in prostate cancer (PCa) development and progression. Previously, we reported an induction of Spermidine/Spermine N1-Acetyl Transferase (SSAT) by androgen-activated androgen receptor (AR)-JunD protein complex that leads to over-production of ROS in PCa cells. In our current research, we identify small molecules that specifically block AR-JunD in this ROS-generating metabolic pathway.
A high throughput assay based on Gaussia Luciferase reconstitution was used to identify inhibitors of the AR-JunD interaction. Selected hits were further screened using a fluorescence polarization competitor assay to eliminate those that bind to the AR Ligand Binding Domain (LBD), in order to identify molecules that specifically target events downstream to androgen activation of AR. Eleven molecules were selected for studies on their efficacy against ROS generation and growth of cultured human PCa cells by DCFH dye-oxidation assay and DNA fluorescence assay, respectively. In situ Proximity Ligation Assay (PLA), SSAT promoter-luciferase reporter assay, and western blotting of apoptosis and cell cycle markers were used to study mechanism of action of the lead compound.
Selected lead compound GWARJD10 with EC50 10 μM against ROS production was shown to block AR-JunD interaction in situ as well as block androgen-induced SSAT gene expression at IC50 5 μM. This compound had no effect on apoptosis markers, but reduced cyclin D1 protein level.
Inhibitor of AR-JunD interaction, GWARJD10 shows promise for prevention of progression of PCa at an early stage of the disease by blocking growth and ROS production.
PMCID: PMC4224142  PMID: 24647988
AR-JunD protein-protein interaction; small molecule inhibitors; cellular reactive oxygen species; cyclin D1
15.  Pretreatment with anti-oxidants sensitizes oxidatively stressed human cancer cells to growth inhibitory effect of suberoylanilide hydroxamic acid (SAHA) 
Most prostate, colon and breast cancer cells are resistant to growth inhibitory effects of suberoylanilide hydroxamic acid (SAHA). We have examined whether the high oxidative stress in these cells causes a loss of SAHA activity and if so, whether pretreatment with an anti-oxidant can sensitize these cells to SAHA.
A DNA-Hoechst dye fluorescence measured cell growth and dichlorfluorescein-diacetate (DCF-DA) dye fluorescence measured reactive oxygen species (ROS). Growth inhibitory and ROS-generating activities of SAHA in androgen-treated or untreated LNCaP cells and PC-3 prostate cancer cells, HT-29 and HCT-115 colon cancer cells, MDA-MB231 breast cancer cells and A549 and NCI-H460 lung cancer cells with or without pretreatment with an anti-oxidant Vitamin E was determined. SAHA activity against LNCaP cells treated with another anti-oxidant N-acetyl cysteine (NAC) was also determined. Liquid chromatography–mass spectrometry (LC–MS) was used to determine intracellular SAHA level.
SAHA treatment markedly inhibits LNCaP cell growth, when the cells are at a low ROS level. SAHA is, however, inactive against the same cell line, when the cells are at a high ROS level. A significant decrease in SAHA level was observed in LNCaP cells with high ROS after 24-and 72-h treatment when compared to cells with low ROS. Vitamin E pretreatment that reduces cellular ROS, synergistically sensitizes oxidatively stressed LNCaP, PC-3, HT-29, HCT-115 and MDA-MB231 cells, but not the A-549 and NCI-H460 cells with low ROS to SAHA. NAC treatment also sensitized androgen-treated LNCaP cells to the growth inhibitory effects of SAHA.
Response to SAHA could be improved by combining anti-oxidants such as Vitamin E with SAHA for the treatment of oxidatively stressed human malignancies that are otherwise resistant to SAHA.
PMCID: PMC4190041  PMID: 20512578
Histone deacetylase; Oxidative stress; Prostate cancer; Drug metabolism
16.  Axitinib in Metastatic Renal Cell Carcinoma: Results of a Pharmacokinetic and Pharmacodynamic Analysis 
Journal of clinical pharmacology  2013;53(5):491-504.
Axitinib is a potent and selective inhibitor of vascular endothelial growth factor receptors 1, 2, and 3, approved for second-line therapy for advanced renal cell carcinoma (RCC). Axitinib population pharmacokinetic and pharmacokinetic/pharmacodynamic relationships were evaluated. Using nonlinear mixed effects modeling with pooled data from 383 healthy volunteers, 181 patients with metastatic RCC, and 26 patients with other solid tumors in 17 trials, the disposition of axitinib was best described by a 2-compartment model with first-order absorption and a lag time, with estimated mean systemic clearance (CL) of 14.6 L/h and central volume of distribution (Vc) of 47.3 L. Of 12 covariates tested, age over 60 years and Japanese ethnicity were associated with decreased CL, whereas Vc increased with body weight. However, the magnitude of predicted changes in exposure based on these covariates does not warrant dose adjustments. Multivariate Cox proportional hazard regression and logistic regression analyses showed that higher exposure and diastolic blood pressure were independently associated with longer progression-free and overall survivals and higher probability of partial response in metastatic RCC patients. These findings support axitinib dose titration to increase plasma exposure in patients who tolerate axitinib, and also demonstrate diastolic blood pressure as a potential marker of efficacy.
PMCID: PMC4175417  PMID: 23553560
axitinib; metastatic renal cell carcinoma; population pharmacokinetics and pharmacodynamics; VEGF receptor inhibitor; diastolic blood pressure
17.  A first in human study of SB-743921, a kinesin spindle protein inhibitor, to determine pharmacokinetics, biologic effects and establish a recommended phase II dose 
To determine the maximum-tolerated dose (MTD), dose-limiting toxicity (DLT), safety, pharmacokinetics, and pharmacodynamics of SB-743921 when administered as a 1-h infusion every 21 days to patients with advanced solid tumors or relapsed/refractory lymphoma.
Patients who failed prior standard therapy or those without any standard options were eligible. Forty-four patients were enrolled using an initial accelerated dose-escalation phase followed by a standard dose-escalation phase. An additional 20 patients were enrolled at the recommended phase II dose to obtain additional safety and pharmacokinetic data. The doses evaluated ranged from 2 to 8 mg/m2. The pharmacokinetics of SB-743921 was evaluated at 19 time-points over 48 h following during administration during cycle 1. Toxicity was assessed by the NCI Common Terminology Criteria version 3.0. Response evaluation was performed every 6 weeks.
The most common and consistent DLT was neutropenia. Other DLTs observed included hypophosphatemia, pulmonary emboli, SVC syndrome, transaminitis, hyponatremia, and hyperbilirubinemia. The MTD of SB-743921 as a 1-h infusion every 21 days was established as 4 mg/m2. The maximum plasma concentration and area under the plasma concentration time curve appeared to increase proportionally to dose. One durable objective response was seen in a patient with metastatic cholangiocarcinoma who was on treatment 11 months and 6 patients had stable disease for over four cycles.
The recommended phase II dose of SB-743921 on this specific schedule of a 1-h infusion every 3 weeks is 4 mg/m2. The promising efficacy and lack of severe toxicities in this study warrant the continued development of SB-743921.
PMCID: PMC4160065  PMID: 20461380
SB-743921; Phase I; Pharmacokinetics; Kinesin spindle protein; Mitosis; Safety
18.  A non-comparative randomized phase II study of two doses of ATN-224, a copper/zinc superoxide dismutase inhibitor, in patients with biochemically recurrent hormone-naïve prostate cancer 
Urologic oncology  2011;31(5):581-588.
ATN-224 (choline tetrathiomolybdate) is an oral Cu2+/Zn2+-superoxide dismutase 1 (SOD1) inhibitor with preclinical antitumor activity. We hypothesized that ATN-224 may induce antitumor effects as an antiangiogenic agent at low dose-levels while possessing direct antitumor activity at higher dose-levels. The objective of this study was to screen its clinical activity in patients with biochemically recurrent hormone-naïve prostate cancer.
Biochemically-recurrent prostate cancer patients with prostate specific antigen doubling times (PSADT) <12 months, no radiographic evidence of metastasis, and no hormonal therapy within 6 months (with serum testosterone levels >150 ng/dL) were eligible. ATN-224 was administered at two dose-levels, 300 mg (n=23) or 30 mg (n=24) daily, by way of randomization. PSA progression was defined as a ≥50% increase (and >5 ng/mL) in PSA from baseline or post-treatment nadir. Endpoints included the proportion of patients who were free of PSA progression at 24 weeks, changes in PSA slope/PSADT, and safety. The study was not powered to detect differences between the two treatment groups.
At 24 weeks, 59% (95% CI 33–82%) of men in the low-dose arm and 45% (95% CI 17–77%) in the high-dose arm were PSA progression-free. Median PSA progression-free survival was 30 weeks (95% CI 21–40+) and 26 weeks (95% CI 24–39+) in the low-dose and high-dose groups, respectively. Pre- and on-treatment PSA kinetics analyses showed a significant mean PSA slope decrease (p=0.006) and a significant mean PSADT increase (p=0.032) in the low-dose arm only. Serum ceruloplasmin levels, a biomarker for ATN-224 activity, were lowered in the high-dose group, but did not correlate with PSA changes.
Low-dose ATN-224 (30 mg daily) may have biologic activity in men with biochemically-recurrent prostate cancer, as suggested by an improvement in PSA kinetics. However, the clinical significance of PSA kinetics changes in this patient population remains uncertain. The absence of a dose-response effect also reduces enthusiasm, and there are currently no plans to further develop this agent in prostate cancer.
PMCID: PMC3227793  PMID: 21816640
19.  Design and End Points of Clinical Trials for Patients With Progressive Prostate Cancer and Castrate Levels of Testosterone: Recommendations of the Prostate Cancer Clinical Trials Working Group 
To update eligibility and outcome measures in trials that evaluate systemic treatment for patients with progressive prostate cancer and castrate levels of testosterone.
A committee of investigators experienced in conducting trials for prostate cancer defined new consensus criteria by reviewing previous criteria, Response Evaluation Criteria in Solid Tumors (RECIST), and emerging trial data.
The Prostate Cancer Clinical Trials Working Group (PCWG2) recommends a two-objective paradigm: (1) controlling, relieving, or eliminating disease manifestations that are present when treatment is initiated and (2) preventing or delaying disease manifestations expected to occur. Prostate cancers progressing despite castrate levels of testosterone are considered castration resistant and not hormone refractory. Eligibility is defined using standard disease assessments to authenticate disease progression, prior treatment, distinct clinical subtypes, and predictive models. Outcomes are reported independently for prostate-specific antigen (PSA), imaging, and clinical measures, avoiding grouped categorizations such as complete or partial response. In most trials, early changes in PSA and/or pain are not acted on without other evidence of disease progression, and treatment should be continued for at least 12 weeks to ensure adequate drug exposure. Bone scans are reported as “new lesions” or “no new lesions,” changes in soft-tissue disease assessed by RECIST, and pain using validated scales. Defining eligibility for prevent/delay end points requires attention to estimated event frequency and/or random assignment to a control group.
PCWG2 recommends increasing emphasis on time-to-event end points (ie, failure to progress) as decision aids in proceeding from phase II to phase III trials. Recommendations will evolve as data are generated on the utility of intermediate end points to predict clinical benefit.
PMCID: PMC4010133  PMID: 18309951
20.  A Phase 2 Study of Intravenous Panobinostat in Patients With Castration-Resistant Prostate Cancer 
Panobinostat, a pan-deacetylase inhibitor, increases acetylation of proteins associated with growth and survival of malignant cells. This phase 2 study evaluated the efficacy of intravenous (IV) panobinostat in patients with castration-resistant prostate cancer (CRPC) who had previously received chemotherapy. The primary end point was 24-week progression-free survival. Secondary end points included safety, tolerability, and the proportion of patients with a prostate-specific antigen (PSA) decline.
IV panobinostat (20 mg/m2) was administered to patients on days 1 and 8 of a 21-day cycle. Tumor response was assessed by imaging every 12 weeks (4 cycles) according to modified Response Evaluation Criteria In Solid Tumors (Scher HI et al, 2005), and PSA response was defined as a 50% decrease from baseline maintained for ≥ 4 weeks. Safety monitoring was routinely performed and included electrocardiogram monitoring.
Of 35 enrolled patients, 4 (11.4%) were alive without progression of disease at 24 weeks. PSA was evaluated in 34 (97.1%) patients: 5 (14.3%) patients demonstrated a decrease in PSA but none ≥ 50%; 1 patient (2.9%) had carcinoembryonic antigen as a marker of his prostate cancer, which declined by 43%. Toxicities regardless of relationship to panobinostat included fatigue (62.9%), thrombocytopenia (45.7%), nausea (51.4%), and decreased appetite (37.1%).
Despite promising preclinical data and scientific rationale, treatment with IV panobinostat did not show a sufficient level of clinical activity to pursue further investigation as a single agent in CRPC.
PMCID: PMC3970811  PMID: 23820963
Prostate cancer; Deacetylase inhibitor; Panobinostat; Prostate-specific antigen
21.  Safety and Preliminary Efficacy Analysis of the mTOR Inhibitor Ridaforolimus in Patients With Taxane-Treated, Castration-Resistant Prostate Cancer 
Clinical genitourinary cancer  2012;10(4):232-238.
The mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR) pathway is associated with castration-resistant prostate cancer (CRPC). Thirty-nine taxane-treated CRPC patients were enrolled in a phase II trial assessing the safety and efficacy of targeted therapy with the mTOR inhibitor, Ridaforolimus (Merck & Co, Inc/ARIAD Pharmaceuticals, Inc). Treatment with Ridaforolimus was generally well tolerated. No objective responses were observed, but some patients experienced disease stabilization. Ridaforolimus may be an option in combination therapy.
Few options are available after taxane-based therapy in men with CRPC. Genetic alterations involving the mTOR pathway have been associated with CRPC development, raising the hypothesis that blocking mTOR signaling may be an effective targeted approach to treatment.
Patients and Methods
In this open-label phase II study, the mTOR inhibitor Ridaforolimus was administered at a dose of 50 mg intravenous once weekly to 38 patients with taxane-treated CRPC. The primary end point was best overall response according to modified Response Evaluation Criteria in Solid Tumors guidelines. Serum prostate-specific antigen levels were prospectively monitored as a biomarker for cancer activity.
No objective responses were observed, but 18 patients (47.4%) had stable disease as their best response. Based on progression-free survival analysis, median time to progression with Ridaforolimus was 28 days (95% confidence interval, 27–29). Eight patients (21.1%) had stable disease as their best overall prostate-specific antigen response. The median number of days from first to last dose was 109.5 days (range, 1–442 days). Ridaforolimus was generally well tolerated, with a safety profile similar to that observed in patients with advanced malignancies. The most common side effects were typically mild or moderate in severity.
Ridaforolimus was generally well tolerated. Treatment did not produce objective responses, but stable disease was observed in some patients with taxane-treated CRPC. Alternative treatment regimens, such as combination therapy with a taxane or in a maintenance treatment paradigm, should be considered for further evaluation in this patient population.
PMCID: PMC3963491  PMID: 22695254
Combination therapy; Disease stabilization; Phase II; Prostate-specific antigen; Targeted therapy
22.  Vorinostat in Combination with Bortezomib in Patients with Advanced Malignancies Directly Alters Transcription of Target Genes 
Vorinostat is a small molecule inhibitor of class I and II histone deacetylase (HDAC) enzymes which alters expression of target genes including the cell cycle gene p21, leading to cell cycle arrest and apoptosis.
Patients enrolled in a phase I trial were treated with vorinostat alone on day 1 and vorinostat and bortezomib in combination on day 9. Paired biopsies were obtained in eleven subjects. Blood samples were obtained on days 1 and 9 of cycle 1 prior to dosing, and 2 hours and 6 hours post dosing in all 60 subjects. Gene expression of p21, HSP70, AKT, nur77, ERB1 and ERB2 were evaluated in peripheral blood mononuclear cells and tissue samples. Chromatin immunoprecipitation of p21, HSP70 and Nur77 was also performed in biopsy samples.
In peripheral blood mononuclear cells, Nur77 was significantly and consistently decreased two hours after vorinostat administration on both days 1 and 9, median ratio of gene expression relative to baseline of 0.69 with interquartile range (IQR) 0.49-1.04 (p<0.001); 0.28 (0.15-0.7) (p<0.001), respectively, with more pronounced decrease on day 9, when patients received both vorinostat and bortezomib. p21, a downstream target of nur77, was significantly decreased on day 9 two hours and six hours after administration of vorinostat and bortezomib, 0.67 (0.41-1.03) (p<0.01); 0.44 (0.25-1.3) (p<0.01), respectively. The ChiP assay demonstrateed a protein DNA interaction, in this case interaction of Nur77, HSP70 and p21 with acetylated histone H3, at baseline and at day 9 after treatment with vorinostat in tissue biopsies in most patients.
Vorinostat inhibits Nur77 expression, which in turn may decrease p21 and AKT expression in PBMCs. The influence of vorinostat on target gene expression in tumor tissue was variable, however, most patients demonstrated interaction of acetylated H3 with Nur77, HSP70 and p21 which provides evidence of interaction with the transcriptions active acetylated H3.
PMCID: PMC3926898  PMID: 23903894
SAHA; vorinostat; PS-341; bortezomib; phase I
23.  Eastern Cooperative Oncology Group Phase II Trial of Lapatinib in Men with Biochemically Relapsed, Androgen Dependent Prostate Cancer 
Urologic oncology  2011;31(2):211-218.
Activation of the epidermal growth factor pathway is important in prostate cancer development and the transcription of androgen receptor regulated genes. This study evaluated the potential activity of lapatinib in men with biochemically-relapsed androgen-dependent (stage D0) prostate cancer.
Experimental Design
Patients with a rising PSA after primary therapy for prostate cancer were enrolled. A PSA doubling time (PSADT) <12 months was required. Lapatinib was administered at 1,500 mg orally daily. Outcome measures were changes in PSA kinetics. Primary tumor blocks were obtained and assessed for EGFR expression, EGFR Q787Q polymorphism, and Kras 38 mutational status.
49 patients were enrolled (14 ineligible), resulting in 35 pts for analysis. No PSA response was observed; best response was stable disease (n=28, 80.0%). Pre-treatment average slope was 0.19 log (PSA)/month (PSADT=3.70 months), in contrast to on-treatment average slope of 0.13 log (PSA)/month (PSADT=5.44 months) using linear mixed effects models (p=0.006). Median progression-free survival (PFS) was 17.4 months for the high EGFR group and 6.0 months for the low EGFR group (p=0.50). Patients with Kras 38 mutation had shorter PFS than those without Kras 38 mutation (p=0.09).
Although no PSA responses (primary endpoint) was observed, lapatinib may have biologic activity in men with stage D0 prostate cancer as evidenced by a decrease in PSA slope in this non-randomized study. Additional trials assessing the role of EGFR overexpression and Kras wild type status in prostate cancer should be investigated.
PMCID: PMC3223557  PMID: 21784672
Epidermal growth factor receptor; tyrosine kinase inhibitors; clinical trial
24.  Phase II Open Label, Multi-Center Clinical Trial of Modulation of Intermediate Endpoint Biomarkers by 1α-Hydroxyvitamin D2 in Patients With Clinically Localized Prostate Cancer and High Grade Pin 
The Prostate  2013;73(9):970-978.
Prostate cancer is the most common malignancy and second leading cause of cancer related deaths in American men supporting the study of prostate cancer chemoprevention. Major risk factors for this disease have been associated with low serum levels of vitamin D. Here, we evaluate the biologic activity of a less calcemic vitamin D analog 1α-hydroxyvitamin D2 [1α-OH-D2] (Bone Care International, Inc.) in patients with prostate cancer and high grade prostatic intraepithelial neoplasia (HG PIN).
Patients with clinically organ-confined prostate cancer and HG PIN were randomized to 1α-OH-D2 versus placebo for 28 days prior to radical prostatectomy. Intermediate endpoint biomarkers included serum vitamin D metabolites, TGFß 1/2, free/total PSA, IGF-1, IGFBP-3, bFGF, and VEGF. Tissue endpoints included histology, MIB-1 and TUNEL staining, microvessel density and factor VIII staining, androgen receptor and PSA, vitamin D receptor expression and nuclear morphometry.
The 1α-OH-D2 vitamin D analog was well tolerated and could be safely administered with good compliance and no evidence of hypercalcemia over 28 days. While serum vitamin D metabolite levels only slightly increased, evidence of biologic activity was observed with significant reductions in serum PTH levels. TGF-ß2 was the only biomarker significantly altered by vitamin D supplementation. Whether reduced TGF-ß2 levels in our study is an early indicator of response to vitamin D remains unclear.
While further investigation of vitamin D may be warranted based on preclinical studies, results of the present trial do not appear to justify evaluation of 1α-OH-D2 in larger clinical prostate cancer prevention studies.
PMCID: PMC3755376  PMID: 23335089
prostate cancer; vitamin D; chemoprevention
25.  Intermittent versus Continuous Androgen Deprivation in Prostate Cancer 
The New England journal of medicine  2013;368(14):1314-1325.
Castration resistance occurs in most patients with metastatic hormone-sensitive prostate cancer who are receiving androgen-deprivation therapy. Replacing androgens before progression of the disease is hypothesized to prolong androgen dependence.
Men with newly diagnosed, metastatic, hormone-sensitive prostate cancer, a performance status of 0 to 2, and a prostate-specific antigen (PSA) level of 5 ng per milliliter or higher received a luteinizing hormone–releasing hormone analogue and an antiandrogen agent for 7 months. We then randomly assigned patients in whom the PSA level fell to 4 ng per milliliter or lower to continuous or intermittent androgen deprivation, with patients stratified according to prior or no prior hormonal therapy, performance status, and extent of disease (minimal or extensive). The coprimary objectives were to assess whether intermittent therapy was noninferior to continuous therapy with respect to survival, with a one-sided test with an upper boundary of the hazard ratio of 1.20, and whether quality of life differed between the groups 3 months after randomization.
A total of 3040 patients were enrolled, of whom 1535 were included in the analysis: 765 randomly assigned to continuous androgen deprivation and 770 assigned to intermittent androgen deprivation. The median follow-up period was 9.8 years. Median survival was 5.8 years in the continuous-therapy group and 5.1 years in the intermittent-therapy group (hazard ratio for death with intermittent therapy, 1.10; 90% confidence interval, 0.99 to 1.23). Intermittent therapy was associated with better erectile function and mental health (P<0.001 and P = 0.003, respectively) at month 3 but not thereafter. There were no significant differences between the groups in the number of treatment-related high-grade adverse events.
Our findings were statistically inconclusive. In patients with metastatic hormone-sensitive prostate cancer, the confidence interval for survival exceeded the upper boundary for noninferiority, suggesting that we cannot rule out a 20% greater risk of death with intermittent therapy than with continuous therapy, but too few events occurred to rule out significant inferiority of intermittent therapy. Intermittent therapy resulted in small improvements in quality of life. (Funded by the National Cancer Institute and others; number, NCT00002651.)
PMCID: PMC3682658  PMID: 23550669

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