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1.  Molecular Markers for Novel Therapeutic Strategies in Pancreatic Endocrine Tumors 
Pancreas  2013;42(3):411-421.
Pancreatic endocrine tumors (PETs) share numerous features with gastrointestinal neuroendocrine (carcinoid) tumors. Targets of novel therapeutic strategies previously assessed in carcinoid tumors were analyzed in PETs (44 cases).
Activating mutations in EGFR, KIT, and PDGFRA, and non-response mutations in KRAS, were evaluated. Copy number of EGFR and HER-2/neu was quantified by fluorescence in situ hybridization. Expression of EGFR, PDGFRA, VEGFR1, TGFBR1, Hsp90, SSTR2A, SSTR5, IGF1R, mTOR, and MGMT was measured immunohistochemically.
Elevated EGFR copy number was found in 38% of cases, but no KRAS non-response mutations. VEGFR1, TGFBR1, PDGFRA, SSTR5, SSTR2A, and IGF1R exhibited the highest levels of expression in the largest percentages of PETs.
Anticancer drugs BMS-754807 (selective for IGF1R/IR), 17-(allylamino)-17-demethoxygeldanamycin (17-AAG, targeting Hsp90), and axitinib (directed toward VEGFR1–3/PDGFRA-B/KIT) induced growth inhibition of human QGP-1 PET cells with IC50 values (nM) of 273, 723, and 743, respectively. At growth-inhibiting concentrations, BMS-754807 inhibited IGF1R phosphorylation; 17-AAG induced loss of EGFR, IGF1R, and VEGFR2; and axitinib increased p21Waf1/Cip1(CDKN1A) expression without inhibiting VEGFR2 phosphorylation.
Results encourage further research into multi-drug strategies incorporating inhibitors targeting IGF1R or Hsp90 and into studies of axitinib combined with conventional chemotherapeutics toxic to tumor cells in persistent growth arrest.
PMCID: PMC3594087  PMID: 23211371
pancreatic endocrine tumors; molecular analysis
2.  A Phase I Trial of Vorinostat and Alvocidib in Patients with Relapsed, Refractory or Poor Prognosis Acute Leukemia, or Refractory Anemia with Excess Blasts-2 
This phase I study was conducted to identify the MTD of alvocidib when combined vorinostat in patients with relapsed, refractory, or poor prognosis acute leukemia, or refractory anemia with excess blasts-2 (RAEB-2). Secondary objectives included investigating the pharmacokinetic and pharmacodynamic effects of the combination.
Experimental Design
Patients received vorinostat (200 mg orally, 3 times a day [TID], for 14 days), on a 21-day cycle, combined with 2 different alvocidib administration schedules: a 1-h intravenous infusion, daily x 5; or a 30-min loading infusion followed by a 4-h maintenance infusion, weekly x 2. The alvocidib dose was escalated using a standard 3+3 design.
Twenty-eight patients were enrolled and treated. The alvocidib MTD was 20 mg/m2 (30-min loading infusion) followed by 20 mg/m2 (4-h maintenance infusion) on days 1 and 8, in combination with vorinostat. The most frequently encountered toxicities were cytopenias, fatigue, hyperglycemia, hypokalemia, hypophosphatemia, and QT prolongation. Dose limiting toxicities (DLTs) were cardiac arrhythmia-atrial fibrillation and QT prolongation. No objective responses were achieved, although 13 of 26 evaluable patients exhibited stable disease. Alvocidib appeared to alter vorinostat pharmacokinetics, whereas alvocidib pharmacokinetics were unaffected by vorinostat. Ex vivo exposure of leukemia cells to plasma obtained from patients after alvocidib treatment blocked vorinostat-mediated p21CIP1 induction and down-regulated Mcl-1 and p-RNA Pol II for some specimens, although parallel in vivo bone marrow responses were infrequent.
Alvocidib combined with vorinostat is well tolerated. Although disease stabilization occurred in some heavily pretreated patients, objective responses were not obtained with these schedules.
PMCID: PMC3618599  PMID: 23515411
Vorinostat; Alvocidib; Acute Leukemia; Clinical Trial; Phase I
3.  A Phase I Trial of Vorinostat and Bortezomib in Children with Refractory or Recurrent Solid Tumors: A Children’s Oncology Group Phase I Consortium Study (ADVL0916) 
Pediatric blood & cancer  2012;60(3):390-395.
A pediatric phase I trial was performed to determine the maximum tolerated dose, dose-limiting toxicities (DLTs), and pharmacokinetics (PK) of vorinostat and bortezomib, in patients with solid tumors.
Oral vorinostat was administered on days 1–5 and 8–12 of a 21 day cycle (starting dose 180 mg/m2/day with dose escalations to 230 and 300 mg/m2/day). Bortezomib (1.3 mg/m2 i.v.) was administered on days 1, 4, 8, and 11 of the same cycle. PK and correlative biology studies were performed during cycle 1.
Twenty-three eligible patients [17 male, median age 12 years (range, 1–20)] were enrolled of whom 17 were fully evaluable for toxicity. Cycle 1 DLTs that occurred in 2/6 patients at dose level 3 (vorinostat 300 mg/m2/day) were grade 2 sensory neuropathy that progressed to grade 4 (n=1) and grade 3 nausea and anorexia (n=1). No objective responses were observed. There was wide interpatient variability in vorinostat PK parameters. Bortezomib disposition was best described by a three-compartment model that demonstrated rapid distribution followed by prolonged elimination. We did not observe a decrease in NF-κB activity or Grp78 induction after bortezomib treatment in PBMCs from solid tumor patients.
The recommended phase 2 dose and schedule is vorinostat (230 mg/m2/day PO on days 1–5 and 8–12) in combination with bortezomib (1.3 mg/m2/day i.v. on days 1,4, 8, and 11 of a 21 day cycle) in children with recurrent or refractory solid tumors.
PMCID: PMC3511610  PMID: 22887890
vorinostat; bortezomib; phase I trial; pediatric cancer; solid tumors; Children’s Oncology Group
4.  Phase I study of tanespimycin in combination with bortezomib in patients with advanced solid malignancies 
Investigational new drugs  2013;31(5):1251-1256.
To determine the maximum tolerated dose (MTD) and characterize the dose-limiting toxicities (DLT) of tanespimycin when given in combination with bortezomib.
Experimental design
Phase I dose-escalating trial using a standard cohort “3+3” design performed in patients with advanced solid tumors. Patients were given tanespimycin and bortezomib twice weekly for 2 weeks in a 3 week cycle (days 1, 4, 8, 11 every 21 days).
Seventeen patients were enrolled in this study, fifteen were evaluable for toxicity, and nine patients were evaluable for tumor response. The MTD was 250 mg/m2 of tanespimycin and 1.0 mg/m2 of bortezomib when used in combination. DLTs of abdominal pain (13%), complete atrioventricular block (7%), fatigue (7%), encephalopathy (7%), anorexia (7%), hyponatremia (7%), hypoxia (7%), and acidosis (7%) were observed. There were no objective responses. One patient had stable disease.
The recommended phase II dose for twice weekly 17-AAG and PS341 are 250 mg/m2 and 1.0 mg/m2respectively, on days 1, 4, 8 and 11 of a 21 day cycle.
PMCID: PMC3929968  PMID: 23543109
Phase I Trials; tanespimycin; bortezomib; solid tumors
5.  Association Between CYP2D6 Polymorphisms and Outcomes Among Women With Early Stage Breast Cancer Treated With Tamoxifen 
The growth inhibitory effect of tamoxifen, which is used for the treatment of hormone receptor–positive breast cancer, is mediated by its metabolites, 4-hydroxytamoxifen and endoxifen. The formation of active metabolites is catalyzed by the polymorphic cytochrome P450 2D6 (CYP2D6) enzyme.
To determine whether CYP2D6 variation is associated with clinical outcomes in women receiving adjuvant tamoxifen.
Design, Setting, and Patients
Retrospective analysis of German and US cohorts of patients treated with adjuvant tamoxifen for early stage breast cancer. The 1325 patients had diagnoses between 1986 and 2005 of stage I through III breast cancer and were mainly postmenopausal (95.4%). Last follow-up was in December 2008; inclusion criteria were hormone receptor positivity, no metastatic disease at diagnosis, adjuvant tamoxifen therapy, and no chemotherapy. DNA from tumor tissue or blood was genotyped for CYP2D6 variants associated with reduced (*10, *41) or absent (*3, *4, *5) enzyme activity. Women were classified as having an extensive (n = 609), heterozygous extensive/intermediate (n = 637), or poor (n = 79) CYP2D6 metabolism.
Main Outcome Measures
Time to recurrence, event-free survival, disease-free survival, and overall survival.
Median follow-up was 6.3 years. At 9 years of follow-up, the recurrence rates were 14.9% for extensive metabolizers, 20.9% for heterozygous extensive/intermediate metabolizers, and29.0%for poor metabolizers, and all-cause mortality rates were 16.7%, 18.0%, and 22.8%, respectively. Compared with extensive metabolizers, there was a significantly increased risk of recurrence for heterozygous extensive/intermediate metabolizers (time to recurrence adjusted hazard ratio [HR], 1.40; 95% confidence interval [CI], 1.04–1.90) and for poor metabolizers (time to recurrence HR, 1.90; 95% CI, 1.10–3.28). Compared with extensive metabolizers, those with decreased CYP2D6 activity (heterozygous extensive/intermediate and poor metabolism) had worse event-free survival (HR, 1.33; 95% CI, 1.06–1.68) and disease-free survival (HR, 1.29; 95% CI, 1.03–1.61), but there was no significant difference in overall survival (HR, 1.15; 95% CI, 0.88–1.51).
Among women with breast cancer treated with tamoxifen, there was an association between CYP2D6 variation and clinical outcomes, such that the presence of 2 functional CYP2D6 alleles was associated with better clinical outcomes and the presence of nonfunctional or reduced-function alleles with worse outcomes.
PMCID: PMC3909953  PMID: 19809024
6.  Phase 2 Trial of Pemetrexed in Children and Adolescents with Refractory Solid Tumors: a Children’s Oncology Group Study 
Pediatric blood & cancer  2012;60(2):237-241.
Pemetrexed is a multi-targeted antifolate that inhibits key enzymes involved in nucleotide biosynthesis. We performed a phase 2 trial of pemetrexed in children with refractory or recurrent solid tumors, including CNS tumors, to estimate the response rate and further define its toxicity profile.
Pemetrexed, at a dose of 1910 mg/m2, was administered as a 10-minute intravenous infusion every 21 days. Patients also received vitamin B12, daily multivitamin supplementation, and dexamethasone. A two-stage design (10 + 10) was employed in each of the following disease strata: osteosarcoma, Ewing sarcoma/peripheral primitive neuroectodermal tumor (PNET), rhabdomyosarcoma, neuroblastoma, ependymoma, medulloblastoma/supratentorial PNET, and non-brainstem high-grade glioma.
Seventy-two eligible subjects (39 males) were enrolled. Median age was 11 years (range 3–23). Sixty-eight were evaluable for response. The median number of cycles administered was 2 (range 1–13). No complete or partial responses were observed. Stable disease, for a median of 5 (range 4–13) cycles, was observed in 5 patients (ependymoma, Ewing sarcoma, medulloblastoma, neuroblastoma, osteosarcoma; n=1 each). Neutropenia (44%), anemia (35%), and elevated alanine transaminase (35%) attributable to pemetrexed were the most commonly recurring toxicities observed in patients receiving multiple cycles. Other toxicities attributed to pemetrexed occurring in ≥10% of cycles included thrombocytopenia (30%), fatigue (18%), nausea (14), hyperglycemia (13%), rash (11%), vomiting (13%), and hypophosphatemia (11%).
Pemetrexed, administered as an intravenous infusion every 21 days, was tolerable in children and adolescents with refractory solid tumors, including CNS tumors, but did not show evidence of objective anti-tumor activity in the childhood tumors studied.
PMCID: PMC3463652  PMID: 22745043
pemetrexed; phase 2; antifolate
7.  CYP2D6 Metabolism and Patient Outcome in the Austrian Breast and Colorectal Cancer Study Group Trial (ABCSG) 8 
Controversy exists regarding CYP2D6 genotype and tamoxifen efficacy.
A matched case-control study was conducted utilizing the Austrian Breast and Colorectal Cancer Study Group Trial 8 that randomized post-menopausal women with estrogen receptor positive breast cancer to tamoxifen for 5 years (Arm A) or tamoxifen for 2 years followed by anastrozole for 3 years (Arm B). Cases had disease recurrence, contralateral breast cancer, second non-breast cancer, or died. For each case, controls were identified from the same treatment arm of similar age, surgery/radiation, and TNM stage. Genotyping was performed for alleles associated with no (PM; *3, *4, *6); reduced (IM; *10, and *41); and extensive (EM: absence of these alleles) CYP2D6 metabolism.
The common CYP2D6 *4 allele was in Hardy Weinberg Equilibrium. In Arm A during the first 5 years of therapy, women with 2 poor alleles (PM/PM: OR=2.45, 95% CI: 1.05–5.73, p=0.04) and women with one poor allele (PM/IM or PM/EM: OR=1.67, 95% CI: 0.95–2.93, p=0.07) had a higher likelihood of an event than women with two extensive alleles (EM/EM). In years 3–5 when patients remained on tamoxifen (Arm A) or switched to anastrozole (Arm B), PM/PM tended towards a higher likelihood of a disease event relative to EM/EM (OR= 2.40, 95% CI: 0.86–6.66, p=0.09) among women on Arm A but not among women on Arm B (OR= 0.28; 95% CI: 0.03–2.30).
In ABCSG8, the negative effects of reduced CYP2D6 metabolism were observed only during the period of tamoxifen administration, and not after switching to anastrozole.
PMCID: PMC3548984  PMID: 23213055
Tamoxifen; CYP2D6; metabolism; anastrozole; breast cancer; estrogen receptor
8.  The genomic landscape of small intestine neuroendocrine tumors 
The Journal of Clinical Investigation  2013;123(6):2502-2508.
Small intestine neuroendocrine tumors (SI-NETs) are the most common malignancy of the small bowel. Several clinical trials target PI3K/Akt/mTOR signaling; however, it is unknown whether these or other genes are genetically altered in these tumors. To address the underlying genetics, we analyzed 48 SI-NETs by massively parallel exome sequencing. We detected an average of 0.1 somatic single nucleotide variants (SNVs) per 106 nucleotides (range, 0–0.59), mostly transitions (C>T and A>G), which suggests that SI-NETs are stable cancers. 197 protein-altering somatic SNVs affected a preponderance of cancer genes, including FGFR2, MEN1, HOOK3, EZH2, MLF1, CARD11, VHL, NONO, and SMAD1. Integrative analysis of SNVs and somatic copy number variations identified recurrently altered mechanisms of carcinogenesis: chromatin remodeling, DNA damage, apoptosis, RAS signaling, and axon guidance. Candidate therapeutically relevant alterations were found in 35 patients, including SRC, SMAD family genes, AURKA, EGFR, HSP90, and PDGFR. Mutually exclusive amplification of AKT1 or AKT2 was the most common event in the 16 patients with alterations of PI3K/Akt/mTOR signaling. We conclude that sequencing-based analysis may provide provisional grouping of SI-NETs by therapeutic targets or deregulated pathways.
PMCID: PMC3668835  PMID: 23676460
9.  Phase II study of oral capsular 4-hydroxyphenylretinamide (4-HPR/fenretinide) in pediatric patients with refractory or recurrent neuroblastoma: A report from the Children’s Oncology Group NSC #374551; IND# 40294 
To determine the response rate to oral capsular fenretinide in children with recurrent or biopsy proven refractory high-risk neuroblastoma.
Experimental Design
Patients received 7 days of fenretinide: 2475 mg/m2/day divided TID (<18 years) or 1800 mg/m2/day divided BID (≥18 years) every 21 days for a maximum of 30 courses. Patients with stable or responding disease after course 30 could request additional compassionate courses. Best response by course 8 was evaluated in Stratum 1 (measurable disease on CT/MRI +/− bone marrow and/or MIBG avid sites) and Stratum 2 (bone marrow and/or MIBG avid sites only).
Sixty-two eligible patients, median age 5 years (range 0.6–19.9), were treated in Stratum 1 (n=38) and Stratum 2 (n=24). One partial response (PR) was seen in Stratum 2 (n=24 evaluable). No responses were seen in Stratum 1 (n=35 evaluable). Prolonged stable disease (SD) was seen in 7 patients in Stratum 1 and 6 patients in Stratum 2 for 4–45+ (median 15) courses. Median time to progression was 40 days (range 17–506) for Stratum 1 and 48 days (range 17–892) for Stratum 2. Mean 4-HPR steady state trough plasma concentrations were 7.25 µM (coefficient of variation 40–56%) at day 7 course 1. Toxicities were mild and reversible.
Although neither stratum met protocol criteria for efficacy, 1 PR + 13 prolonged SD occurred in 14/59 (24%) of evaluable patients. Low bioavailability may have limited fenretinide activity. Novel fenretinide formulations with improved bioavailability are currently in pediatric Phase I studies.
PMCID: PMC3207022  PMID: 21908574
fenretinide; neuroblastoma; Phase II; ANBL0321
10.  SULT1A1, CYP2C19 and disease-free survival in early breast cancer patients receiving tamoxifen 
Pharmacogenomics  2011;12(11):1535-1543.
Tamoxifen biotransformation to endoxifen, a potent antiestrogen, is catalyzed by CYP2D6. In addition, CYP2C19 and SULT1A1 have also been implicated in the metabolism of tamoxifen. We sought to evaluate the importance of SULT1A1 copy number and CYP2C19*17 on disease-free survival (DFS) in postmenopausal women randomized to tamoxifen monotherapy in North Central Cancer Treatment Group 89-30-52 from January 1991 to April 1995.
Materials & methods
We extracted DNA from paraffin-embedded tumors and determined tumor SULT1A1 copy number and CYP2C19*17 genotype. The association of genotype with DFS was determined using the log-rank test. Multivariate cox modeling was performed using traditional prognostic factors, as well as CYP2D6 genotype. SULT1A1 copy number and CYP2C19*17 genotype was determined in 190 out of 256 patients (95% Caucasian).
The median follow-up for living patients was 14 years. DFS did not differ according to SULT1A1 copy number (p = 0.482) or CYP2C19*17 genotype (p = 0.667). Neither SULT1A1 copy number or CYP2C19*17 genotype was associated with disease recurrence in this cohort.
Future studies are needed to identify whether other genetic and environmental factors which affect tamoxifen metabolism are associated with tamoxifen clinical outcomes.
PMCID: PMC3235041  PMID: 21961651
breast cancer; copy number polymorphism; CYP2C19; pharmacogenomic; polymorphism; single nucleotide; SULT1A1; tamoxifen
11.  CYP2D6 and HOXB13/IL17BR: Combining inherited and tumor gene markers for prediction of tamoxifen resistance 
Genetic variation in Cytochrome P450 2D6 (CYP2D6) and the gene expression ratio of the homeobox 13 (HOXB13) to interleukin-17B receptor (IL-17BR) are associated with tamoxifen resistance. We sought to determine the combined effect of inherited (CYP2D6) and somatic (HOXB13/IL17BR) gene variation in tamoxifen treated breast cancer.
Experimental Design
Retrospective analysis of women with node negative breast cancer randomized to receive 5 years of tamoxifen (NCCTG 89-30-52). CYP2D6 metabolism (extensive or decreased) was based on CYP2D6*4 genotype and presence/absence of a CYP2D6 inhibitor. RT-PCR profiles for HOXB13 and IL-17BR and the cut-point separating patients into high and low risk categories according to disease-free survival (DFS) were utilized. A risk factor (CYP2D6:HOXB13/IL17BR) representing the four categories of combining CYP2D6 metabolism (extensive or decreased) and HOXB13/IL17BR (low or high) was created. The association between CYP2D6:HOXB13/IL17BR and DFS and overall survival (OS) was assessed using the log-rank test and proportional hazards modeling.
CYP2D6 metabolism and HOXB13/IL17BR gene ratio was available in 110/160 (69%) patients. The combined CYP2D6:HOXB13/IL17BR risk factor was significantly associated with DFS (log rank p=0.004) and OS (p=0.009). Relative to women with extensive CYP2D6 metabolism and low HOXB13/IL17BR, those with either decreased metabolism or a high HOXB13/IL17BR ratio had significantly worse OS [adjusted hazard ratio (HR) =2.41, 95% confidence interval:1.08-5.37; p=0.031) whereas women with both decreased metabolism and high HOXB13/IL17BR had the shortest survival (adjusted HR=3.15, 95% CI:1.17-8.52, p=0.024).
An index comprised of inherited (CYP2D6) and tumor (HOXB13/IL17BR) gene variation identifies patients with varying degrees of resistance to tamoxifen.
PMCID: PMC2596658  PMID: 18794098
Tamoxifen; Cytochrome P450 2D6; HOXB13/IL17BR; Breast cancer
12.  Gemcitabine Cytotoxicity: Interaction of Efflux and Deamination 
Gemcitabine is a cytidine analogue used in the treatment of various solid tumors. Little is known about how gemcitabine and its metabolites are transported out of cells. We set out to study the efflux of gemcitabine and the possible consequences of that process in cancer cells. We observed the efflux of gemcitabine and its deaminated metabolite, 2’,2’-difluorodeoxyuridine (dFdU) using high performance liquid chromatography and tandem mass spectrometry (LC-MS/MS) after gemcitabine treatment. Non-selective ABCC-transport inhibition with probenecid significantly increased intracellular dFdU concentrations, with a similar trend observed with verapamil, a non-selective ABCB1 and ABCG2 transport inhibitor. Neither probenecid nor verapamil altered intracellular gemcitabine levels after the inhibition of deamination with tetrahydrourudine, suggesting that efflux of dFdU, but not gemcitabine, was mediated by ABC transporters. MTS assays showed that probenecid increased sensitivity to gemcitabine. While dFdU displayed little cytotoxicity, intracellular dFdU accumulation inhibited cytidine deaminase, resulting in increased gemcitabine levels and enhanced cytotoxicity. Knockdown of ABCC3, ABCC5 or ABCC10 individually did not significantly increase gemcitabine sensitivity, suggesting the involvement of multiple transporters. In summary, ABCC-mediated efflux may contribute to gemcitabine resistance through increased dFdU efflux that allows for the continuation of gemcitabine deamination. Reversing efflux-mediated gemcitabine resistance may require broad-based efflux inhibition.
PMCID: PMC3144579  PMID: 21804948
Gemcitabine; Cytotoxicity; Drug Efflux; Transport
13.  Pediatric Phase I Trial and Pharmacokinetic Study of Vorinostat: A Children's Oncology Group Phase I Consortium Report 
Journal of Clinical Oncology  2010;28(22):3623-3629.
The purpose of this study was to determine the maximum-tolerated dose (MTD), dose-limiting toxicities (DLT), and pharmacokinetics of vorinostat administered as a single agent and in combination 13-cis retinoic acid (13cRA) in children with refractory solid tumors; to evaluate the tolerability of the solid tumor MTD in children with refractory leukemias; and to characterize the pharmacokinetics of a vorinostat suspension in children.
Patients and Methods
Vorinostat was administered orally daily starting at 180 mg/m2/d with escalations planned in 30% increments. Pharmacokinetic studies were performed with the initial dose. Acetyl-histone (H3) accumulation was assessed by Western blotting of peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMC).
Sixty-four patients were enrolled on this multipart trial. In patients with solid tumors, the MTD was 230 mg/m2/d with dose-limiting neutropenia, thrombocytopenia, and hypokalemia at 300 mg/m2/d. DLTs observed with the combination of 13cRA and vorinostat included thrombocytopenia, neutropenia, anorexia, and hypertriglyceridemia, resulting in a MTD of vorinostat 180 mg/m2/d 4 times per week and 13cRA 80 mg/m2/dose twice per day, days 1 through 14 every 28 days. Wide interpatient variability was noted in vorinostat disposition, with area under the concentration-time curves at 230 mg/m2/d for the capsule (range, 1,415 to 9,291 ng/mL × hr) and oral suspension (range, 1,186 to 4,780 ng/mL × hr). Significant accumulation of acetylated H3 histone in PBMC was observed after administration of vorinostat, particularly at higher doses. One patient with neuroblastoma experienced a complete response to the combination.
In children with recurrent solid tumors, vorinostat is well-tolerated at 230 mg/m2/d, with a modest dose reduction being required when combining vorinostat with 13cRA. Drug disposition is similar to that observed in adults.
PMCID: PMC2917318  PMID: 20606092
14.  Phase I Study of Vorinostat in Combination with Temozolomide in Patients with High-Grade Gliomas: North American Brain Tumor Consortium Study 04-03 
A phase I, dose-finding study of vorinostat in combination with temozolomide (TMZ) was conducted to determine the maximum tolerated dose (MTD), safety, and pharmacokinetics in patients with high-grade glioma (HGG).
Experimental Design
This phase I, dose-finding, investigational study was conducted in two parts. Part 1 was a dose-escalation study of vorinostat in combination with TMZ 150 mg/m2/day × 5 days every 28 days. Part 2 was a dose-escalation study of vorinostat in combination with TMZ 150 mg/m2/day × 5 days of the first cycle and 200 mg/m2/day × 5 days of the subsequent 28-day cycles.
In Part 1, the MTD of vorinostat administered on days 1-7 and 15-21 of every 28 day cycle in combination with TMZ was 500 mg daily. Dose-limiting toxicities (DLTs) included grade 3 anorexia, grade 3 ALT, and grade 5 hemorrhage in the setting of grade 4 thrombocytopenia. In Part 2, the MTD of vorinostat on days 1-7 and 15-21 of every 28 day cycle combined with TMZ was 400 mg daily. No DLTs were encountered, but vorinostat dosing could not be escalated further due to thrombocytopenia. The most common serious adverse events were fatigue, lymphopenia, thrombocytopenia, and thromboembolic events. There were no apparent pharmacokinetic interactions between vorinostat and TMZ. Vorinostat treatment resulted in hyperacetylation of histones H3 and H4 in peripheral mononuclear cells.
Vorinostat in combination with temozolomide is well-tolerated in patients with HGG. A phase I/II trial of vorinostat with radiotherapy and concomitant TMZ in newly diagnosed glioblastoma is underway.
PMCID: PMC3947570  PMID: 22923449
High-grade glioma; Temozolomide; Vorinostat; HDAC Inhibitor
15.  Coprescription of Tamoxifen and Medications That Inhibit CYP2D6 
Journal of Clinical Oncology  2010;28(16):2768-2776.
Evidence has emerged that the clinical benefit of tamoxifen is related to the functional status of the hepatic metabolizing enzyme cytochrome P450 2D6 (CYP2D6). CYP2D6 is the key enzyme responsible for the generation of the potent tamoxifen metabolite, endoxifen. Multiple studies have examined the relationship of CYP2D6 status to breast cancer outcomes in tamoxifen-treated women; the majority of studies demonstrated that women with impaired CYP2D6 metabolism have lower endoxifen concentrations and a greater risk of breast cancer recurrence. As a result, practitioners must be aware that some of the most commonly prescribed medications coadministered with tamoxifen interfere with CYP2D6 function, thereby reducing endoxifen concentrations and potentially increasing the risk of breast cancer recurrence. After reviewing the published data regarding tamoxifen metabolism and the evidence relating CYP2D6 status to breast cancer outcomes in tamoxifen-treated patients, we are providing a guide for the use of medications that inhibit CYP2D6 in patients administered tamoxifen.
PMCID: PMC2881853  PMID: 20439629
16.  Phase I Trial of Two Schedules of Vincristine, Oral Irinotecan, and Temozolomide (VOIT) for Children with Relapsed or Refractory Solid Tumors: A Children's Oncology Group Phase I Consortium Study 
Pediatric blood & cancer  2010;54(4):538-545.
In pre-clinical models, temozolomide and vincristine are additive or synergistic with irinotecan. We examined this 3-drug combination in children with relapsed solid tumors. Patients received orally administered irinotecan together with temozolomide and vincristine on two different schedules, using cefixime to reduce irinotecan-associated diarrhea.
Oral irinotecan was given daily on days 1-5 and 8-12 (Schedule A), or on days 1-5 (Schedule B). Temozolomide was given on days 1-5, with vincristine 1.5 mg/m2 administered on days 1 and 8 (Schedule A) or day 1 (Schedule B) in 21-day courses.
On Schedule A, the maximum tolerated dose of oral irinotecan was 35 mg/m2/day combined with temozolomide 100 mg/m2/day and vincristine on days 1 and 8. Dose-limiting toxicities in 4 of 12 patients included hepatotoxicity, abdominal pain, anorexia, hypokalemia and thrombocytopenia at 50 mg/m2/day. Using Schedule B, 0 of 6 patients experienced dose-limiting toxicity at the highest doses studied of oral irinotecan 90 mg/m2/day, temozolomide 150 mg/m2/day × 5, and vincristine on day 1. First-course and cumulative toxicity was greater with Schedule A. UGT1A1*28 genotype did not correlate with dose-limiting toxicity. At the irinotecan dose of 90 mg/m2/day, the mean SN-38 AUCinf was 63 ng/ml*h. Activity was seen in sarcoma patients, and overall 8 patients received ≥ 6 courses.
The 5-day schedule of VOIT was well tolerated and provided SN-38 exposures similar to those achieved with intravenous IRN. Activity on this and prior studies suggests a potential role for VOIT in a spectrum of childhood solid tumors.
PMCID: PMC3074342  PMID: 20049936
temozolomide; oral irinotecan; SN-38; vincristine; cefixime
17.  Gemcitabine Pharmacogenomics: Deoxycytidine Kinase (DCK) and Cytidylate Kinase (CMPK) Gene Resequencing and Functional Genomics 
Gemcitabine and other cytidine antimetabolites require metabolic activation by phosphorylation. Deoxycytidine kinase (DCK) and cytidine monophosphate kinase (CMPK) catalyze these reactions. We have applied a genotype-to-phenotype strategy to study DCK and CMPK pharmacogenomics. Specifically, we resequenced DCK and CMPK using 240 DNA samples, 60 each from African-American, Caucasian-American, Han Chinese-American and Mexican-American subjects. We observed 28 DCK polymorphisms and 28 polymorphisms in CMPK, 33 of which were novel. Expression in COS-1 cells showed that variant allozyme enzyme activities ranged from 32 to 105% of the wild type (WT) for DCK, and from 78 to 112% of WT for CMPK – with no significant differences in apparent Km values for either enzyme except for a DCK Val24/Ser122 double variant allozyme. Relative levels of DCK and CMPK immunoreactive protein in the COS-1 cells paralleled relative levels of enzyme activity and were significantly correlated for DCK (Rp = 0.89, P = 0.0004) but not for CMPK (Rp = 0.82, P = 0.095). The results of an analysis of DCK and CMPK structural models were compatible with the observed functional consequences of sequence alterations in variant allozymes. We also confirmed that the CMPK protein expressed in COS-1 cells and in a rabbit reticulocyte lysate was 196 rather than 228 amino acids in length. In summary, we determined common sequence variation in DCK and CMPK and systematically evaluated its functional implications. These gene sequence differences may contribute to variation in the metabolic activation of gemcitabine and other cytidine antimetabolites.
PMCID: PMC3066084  PMID: 18556440
18.  Synergistic interactions between aminoflavone, paclitaxel and camptothecin in human breast cancer cells 
Aminoflavone is a unique DNA damaging agent currently undergoing phase I evaluation in a prodrug form (AFP464). In anticipation of combination regimens, interactions between aminoflavone and several anticancer drugs were investigated in MCF-7 breast cancer cells to determine whether synergistic cancer cell killing effects were observed.
Colony formation assays were performed to assess the effect of combining aminoflavone with a variety of anticancer drugs. Changes in initial uptake, retention or efflux of aminoflavone and the second agent were compared to the behavior of drugs alone. Key features required for aminoflavone activity in cell culture models were also explored, focusing on the obligatory induction of CYP1A1/1A2 and binding of reactive aminoflavone metabolites to tumor cell total macromolecules and DNA.
Aminoflavone was synergistic when co-incubated with paclitaxel, camptothecin or SN38. Uptake of neither aminoflavone nor any of the other three compounds was altered in combination incubations. Paclitaxel did not inhibit DNA binding of aminoflavone metabolites, while camptothecin did. Aminoflavone-induced CYP1A1 induction was observed in the presence of camptothecin or paclitaxel.
Aminoflavone is a promising therapeutic agent for breast cancer due to its unique mechanism of action compared to commonly used drugs. Combined treatments utilizing aminoflavone in conjunction with paclitaxel or camptothecin may provide an even greater cytotoxic effect than achieved with aminoflavone alone.
PMCID: PMC2931270  PMID: 20012292
Aminoflavone; Paclitaxel; Camptothecin; Cytochrome P450; MCF-7
19.  Phase II NCCTG trial of RT + irinotecan and adjuvant BCNU plus irinotecan for newly diagnosed GBM 
Journal of neuro-oncology  2010;99(1):73-80.
Irinotecan has radiosensitizing effects and shows synergism with nitrosoureas. We performed a Phase II study of RT and irinotecan, followed by BCNU plus irinotecan in newly-diagnosed GBM. The MTD for patients receiving enzyme-inducing anticonvulsants (EIAC) was as follows: irinotecan 400 mg/m2/week on Days 1, 8, 22 and 29 during RT, followed by BCNU 100 mg/m2 Day 1, and irinotecan, 400 mg/m2 on Days 1, 8, 22 and 29, every 6 weeks. The MTD for non-EIAC patients was as follows: irinotecan 125 mg/m2/week on Days 1, 8, 22 and 29 during RT, followed by BCNU 100 mg/m2 Day 1 and irinotecan 75 mg/m2 Days 1, 8, 22 and 29, every 6 weeks. Median OS was 10.8 mos. (95% CI: 7.7–14.9); OS at 12 months was 44.6% (95% CI: 33.3–59.8) and PFS 6 was 28.6% (95% CI: 18.9–43.2). Patients went off treatment due to adverse events (7%), refusal (11%), progressive disease (48%), death (9%), and other (9%); 16% completed protocol treatment. Survival was similar in patients with variant (6/7 or 7/7) and wild-type (6/6) UGT1A1*28 genotypic alleles. Grade 3–4 toxicity was more common in non-EIAC patients with variant alleles. SN-38 Cmax and AUC in EIAC patients receiving 400 mg/m2 irinotecan were 20.9 ng/ml and 212 ng/ml h, and in non-EIAC patients receiving 125 mg/m2, 15.5 ng/ml and 207 ng/ml h. SN-38 AUC varied by UGT1A1*28 status in non-EIAC patients. This regimen was not significantly active and radiosensitization was not observed. Non-EIAC patients with UGT1A1*28 variant alleles appear particularly sensitive to toxicity from irinotecan.
PMCID: PMC2897141  PMID: 20063115
Glioblastoma; BCNU; Nitrosourea; Irinotecan; NCCTG; UGT1A1; Enzyme-inducing anticonvulsant
20.  Phase II Trial of Vorinostat in Recurrent Glioblastoma Multiforme: A North Central Cancer Treatment Group Study 
Journal of Clinical Oncology  2009;27(12):2052-2058.
Vorinostat, a histone deacetylase inhibitor, represents a rational therapeutic target in glioblastoma multiforme (GBM).
Patients and Methods
Patients with recurrent GBM who had received one or fewer chemotherapy regimens for progressive disease were eligible. Vorinostat was administered at a dose of 200 mg orally twice a day for 14 days, followed by a 7-day rest period.
A total of 66 patients were treated. Grade 3 or worse nonhematologic toxicity occurred in 26% of patients and consisted mainly of fatigue (17%), dehydration (6%), and hypernatremia (5%); grade 3 or worse hematologic toxicity occurred in 26% of patients and consisted mainly of thrombocytopenia (22%). Pharmacokinetic analysis showed lower vorinostat maximum concentration and area under the curve (0 to 24 hours) values in patients treated with enzyme-inducing anticonvulsants, although this did not reach statistical significance. The trial met the prospectively defined primary efficacy end point, with nine of the first 52 patients being progression-free at 6 months. Median overall survival from study entry was 5.7 months (range, 0.7 to 28+ months). Immunohistochemical analysis performed in paired baseline and post-vorinostat treatment samples in a separate surgical subgroup of five patients with recurrent GBM showed post treatment increase in acetylation of histones H2B and H4 (four of five patients) and of histone H3 (three of five patients). Microarray RNA analysis in the same samples showed changes in genes regulated by vorinostat, such as upregulation of E-cadherin (P = .02).
Vorinostat monotherapy is well tolerated in patients with recurrent GBM and has modest single-agent activity. Histone acetylation analysis and RNA expression profiling indicate that vorinostat in this dose and schedule affects target pathways in GBM. Additional testing of vorinostat in combination regimens is warranted.
PMCID: PMC2669764  PMID: 19307505
21.  Motexafin gadolinium and involved field radiation therapy for intrinsic pontine glioma of childhood: A Children’s Oncology Group phase I study 
Neuro-Oncology  2008;10(5):752-758.
The purpose of this study was to determine the dose-limiting toxicities, maximum tolerated dose, pharmacokinetics, and intratumor and brain distribution of motexafin gadolinium (MGd) with involved field radiation therapy in children with newly diagnosed intrinsic pontine gliomas. MGd was administered as a 5-min intravenous bolus 2–5 h prior to standard radiation. The starting dose was 1.7 mg/kg. After first establishing that 5 doses/week for 6 weeks was tolerable, the dose of MGd was escalated until dose-limiting toxicity was reached. Radiation therapy was administered to 54 Gy in 30 once-daily fractions. Forty-four children received MGd at doses of 1.7 to 9.2 mg/kg daily prior to radiation therapy for 6 weeks. The maximum tolerated dose was 4.4 mg/kg. The primary dose-limiting toxicities were grade 3 and 4 hypertension and elevations in serum transaminases. Median elimination half-life and clearance values were 6.6 h and 25.4 ml/kg/h, respectively. The estimated median survival was 313 days (95% confidence interval, 248–389 days). The maximum tolerated dose of MGd and the recommended phase II dose was 4.4 mg/kg when administered as a daily intravenous bolus in conjunction with 6 weeks of involved field radiation therapy for pediatric intrinsic pontine gliomas.
PMCID: PMC2666252  PMID: 18715950
motexafin gadolinium; pontine glioma; radiation therapy
22.  Molecular analysis of metaplastic breast carcinoma 
Molecular cancer therapeutics  2008;7(4):944-951.
Metaplastic breast carcinoma, a rare tumor composed of adenocarcinomatous and nonglandular growth patterns, is characterized by a propensity for distant metastases and resistance to standard anticancer therapies. We sought confirmation that this tumor is a basal-like breast cancer, expressing epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) and stem cell factor receptor (KIT). EGFR activating mutations and high copy number (associated with response to tyro-sine kinase inhibitor gefitinib) and KIT activating mutations (associated with imatinib sensitivity) were then investigated. Seventy-seven metaplastic cases were identified (1976-2006); 38 with tumor blocks available underwent pathologic confirmation before EGFR and KIT immunohistochemical analyses. A tissue microarray of malignant glandular and metaplastic elements was constructed and analyzed immunohistochemically for cytokeratin 5/6, estrogen receptor, progesterone receptor, and p63, and by fluorescence in situ hybridization for EGFR and HER-2/neu. DNA isolated from individual elements was assessed for EGFR and KIT activating mutations. All assessable cases were negative for estrogen receptor, progesterone receptor, and (except one) HER2. The majority were positive for cytokeratin 5/6 (58%), p63 (59%), and EGFR overexpression (66%); 24% were KIT positive. No EGFR or KIT activating mutations were present; 26% of the primary metaplastic breast carcinomas were fluorescence in situ hybridization-positive, displaying high EGFR copy number secondary to aneusomy (22%) and amplification (4%). We report here that metaplastic breast carcinoma is a basal-like breast cancer lacking EGFR and KIT activating mutations but exhibiting high EGFR copy number (primarily via aneusomy), suggesting that EGFR tyrosine kinase inhibitors should be evaluated in this molecular subset of breast carcinomas.
PMCID: PMC2745608  PMID: 18413808
23.  Toxicology and pharmacokinetics of 1-methyl-[D]-tryptophan: absence of toxicity due to saturating absorption 
1-methyl-D-tryptophan (D-1MT) reverses the immunosuppressive effect of indoleamine 2,3-dioxygenase (IDO), and it is currently being developed both as a vaccine adjuvant and as an immunotherapeutic agent for combination with chemotherapy. The present study examined the pharmacokinetics and toxicity of D-1MT in preparation for clinical trials. Incubation of D-1MT in rat plasma for 24 h produced no significant degradation, with <15% of D-1MT being bound to plasma protein. Following oral administration, D-1MT exhibited a larger AUC and Vd, longer elimination t1/2, and slower clearance in rats than in dogs. When oral doses of D-1MT exceeded levels of 600 mg/m2/day in rats, or 1200 mg/m2/day in dogs, the Cmax and AUC values decreased, resulting in a corresponding decrease in oral bioavailability. Thus, the doses were indicative of the lowest saturating doses in dogs and rats corresponding with an elimination t1/2 of 6.0 h and 28.7 h, a Tmax of 1 h and 8 h, and a bioavailability of 47% and 92%, respectively. Tissue concentrations of D-1MT in mice were highest in the kidney, followed by the liver, muscle, heart, lung, and spleen, respectively; 48 h post dosing, D-1MT was excreted in the urine (35.1%) and feces (13.5%). Oral administration of D-1MT in rats from 150 to 3000 mg/m2/day (25 to 500 mg/kg/day) and in dogs from 600 to 1200 mg/m2/day (30 and 60 mg/kg/day) for 28 consecutive days did not lead to mortality, adverse events, histopathological lesions, or significant changes in hematology, clinical chemistry, and body weight. These results suggested that 3000 and 1200 mg/m2/day were the no-observed-adverse-effect levels in rats and dogs, respectively. Mean plasma concentrations of D-1MT (600 and 1200 mg/m2/day) in dogs 1 h post dosing were 54.4 and 69.5 μg/ml on Day 1, respectively, and 53.1 and 66.6 μg/ml on Day 28, respectively; thus, indicating no increase in plasma D-1MT with a change in dose. In conclusion, D-1MT has little toxicity when administered orally to rats and dogs. Exceeding the saturating dose of D-1MT is unlikely to cause systemic toxicity, since any further increase in D-1MT plasma levels would be minimal.
PMCID: PMC2744343  PMID: 17868966
1-methyl-[D]-tryptophan; indoleamine 2,3-dioxygenase; pharmacokinetics; toxicity; saturating absorption
24.  Phase II trial of two different irinotecan schedules with pharmacokinetic analysis in patients with recurrent glioma: North Central Cancer Treatment Group results 
Journal of neuro-oncology  2008;92(2):165-175.
The aims of this trial were to assess the safety and efficacy of two different dosing schedules of irinotecan (CPT-11) in recurrent glioma patients, to assess irinotecan pharmacokinetics in patients on enzyme-inducing antiepileptic drugs (EIAEDs) and steroids, and to correlate with toxicity and response to treatment.
Sixty-four recurrent glioma patients were included in this study. Schedule A patients received irinotecan weekly (125 mg/m2/w) for four out of six weeks. Schedule B patients received irinotecan every three weeks at a dose of 300 mg/m2. A 20% dose reduction was implemented for patients who had received prior nitrosureas. Treatment was continued until unacceptable toxicity, tumor progression or patient withdrawal.
There was no difference in confirmed responses between the two groups (6.3%). PFS at 6 months was 6.25% (2/32 patients) on schedule A and 18.75% (6/32 patients) on schedule B but median OS (5.1 versus 5.5 months), and survival at one year (19%) was similar for both arms. The most common grade 3–4 toxicities on schedules A/B were: thrombocytopenia (15.6%/21.9%), diarrhea (6.3%/12.5%) and nausea and vomiting (0%/15.7%). One toxic death due to infection in the absence of neutropenia occurred in schedule B. EIAEDs reduced SN-38 and CPT-11 area under the curve and increased CPT-11 cleareance. This effect was more prominent in schedule A patients. Steroids did not alter CPT-11 pharmacokinetics in either schedule.
Single agent irinotecan has modest activity in patients with recurrent gliomas, independently of the administration schedule. Irinotecan administration on an every 3 week schedule resulted in longer PFS-6, at the expense of more toxicity. EIAEDs alter CPT-11 pharmacokinetics in this group of patients, and should be taken into consideration when determining optimal dosing.
PMCID: PMC2721337  PMID: 19066728
Enzyme-inducing antiepileptic drugs; Dexamethasone; Irinotecan; Pharmacokinetics; Recurrent gliomas
25.  Comparative Bioavailability of Sulindac in Capsule and Tablet Formulations 
The cyclooxygenase-2 (COX-2) enzyme appears to be an important target for cancer chemoprevention. Given the recent emergence of potentially serious cardiovascular toxicity associated with selective COX-2 inhibitors, nonsteroidal antiinflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), which inhibit both COX-1 and COX-2, have received renewed attention as candidate chemoprevention agents. Sulindac has demonstrated consistent chemopreventive potential in preclinical studies, as well as in a limited number of clinical trials reported to date. For the current pharmacokinetic study, sulindac capsules were prepared to facilitate ample agent supplies for future intervention studies. Encapsulation of the parent compound (sulindac sulfoxide) can be readily accomplished, but the effects of alternate formulations on bioavailability have not been rigorously examined. In the present single-dose, two-period crossover trial, we conducted pharmacokinetic analyses of sulindac in capsule (test) versus tablet (reference) formulations. Overall, bioavailability appeared to be higher for the capsule compared to the tablet formulation, based on test-to-reference pharmacokinetic parameter ratios for the parent compound. However, additional analyses based on the sulfide and sulfone metabolites of sulindac with the same pharmacokinetic parameters indicated similar chemopreventive exposures between the capsule and tablet formulations. These data support the use of sulindac capsules, which can be readily prepared with matching placebos, in future blinded chemoprevention trials.
PMCID: PMC2435402  PMID: 18349286

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