A case of interferon-associated retinopathy in a patient with cutaneous malignant melanoma is presented.
Interferon is the only accepted adjuvant treatment for patients with melanoma; hence, oncologists should be aware of the possibility of retinal abnormalities resulting from its use. Interferon-associated retinopathy in patients being treated for resected melanoma is a rare phenomenon with a proposed immunological basis. Patients are usually asymptomatic or have mild visual impairments, with cotton wool infarcts and hemorrhages. These symptoms and signs usually resolve with the discontinuation of interferon, but in a few severe presentations the visual impairments and retinal changes can be irreversible.
Melanoma; Adjuvant; Interferon; Retinopathy
7-Hydroxystaurosporine (UCN-01) is a protein kinase inhibitor that inhibits several serine–threonine kinases including PKC and PDK1. Due to the preclinical synergistic effects seen with topoisomerase I inhibitors and non-overlapping toxicity, UCN-01 and irinotecan were combined in a dose-finding study designed to determine the maximum tolerated dose (MTD), toxicity profile, and pharmacokinetics (PK) of UCN-01 and irinotecan.
Patients with incurable solid malignancies received UCN-01 intravenously (IV) as a 3-h infusion on day 1 and irinotecan IV over 90 min on days 1 and 8 of a 21-day cycle. Doses of UCN-01 for subsequent cycles were half the starting dose. Dose level 1 (DL1) consisted of UCN-01 and irinotecan doses of 50 and 60 mg/m2, respectively. Blood samples were collected in cycle 1 for UCN-01, irinotecan, and irinotecan metabolites.
A total of 16 patients were enrolled on the trial at UCN-01/Irinotecan doses of 50/60 mg/m2 (DL1; n = 1), 70/60 mg/m2 (DL2; n = 6), 90/60 mg/m2 (DL3; n = 4), and 70/90 mg/m2 (DL4; n = 5). Two dose-limiting toxicities were observed each in DL3 and DL4 (2 grade 3 hypophosphatemia, 1 grade 4 hyperglycemia and grade 3 hypophosphatemia, 1 grade 4 febrile neutropenia). Fatigue, diarrhea, nausea, and anorexia were the most prevalent toxicities. No objective responses were documented, and four patients had stable disease for at least ten cycles. The long half-life (292.0 ± 135.7 h), low clearance (0.045 ± 0.038 1/h), and volume of distribution (14.3 ± 5.9 l) observed for UCN-01 are consistent with prior UCN-01 data. There was a significant decrease in Cmax of APC, AUC of APC and SN-38, and AUC ratio of SN-38:irinotecan when comparing days 1 and 8 PK.
APC and SN-38 exposure decreased when administered in combination with UCN-01. The MTD of the combination based on protocol criteria was defined as 70 mg/m2 of UCN-01 on day 1 and 60 mg/m2 of irinotecan on days 1 and 8 in a 21-day cycle.
UCN-01; Irinotecan; Phase I; Cell cycle; G2/M checkpoint
Mutations in TP53 lead to a defective G1 checkpoint and the dependence on checkpoint kinase 1 (Chk1) for G2 or S phase arrest in response to DNA damage. In preclinical studies, Chk1 inhibition resulted in enhanced cytotoxicity of several chemotherapeutic agents. The high frequency of TP53 mutations in triple negative breast cancer (TNBC: negative for estrogen receptor, progesterone receptor, and HER2) make Chk1 an attractive therapeutic target. UCN-01, a non-selective Chk1 inhibitor, combined with irinotecan demonstrated activity in advanced TNBC in our Phase I study. The goal of this trial was to further evaluate this treatment in women with TNBC. Patients with metastatic TNBC previously treated with anthracyclines and taxanes received irinotecan (100–125 mg/m2 IV days 1, 8, 15, 22) and UCN-01 (70 mg/m2 IV day 2, 35 mg/m2 day 23 and subsequent doses) every 42-day cycle. Peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMC) and tumor specimens were collected. Twenty five patients were enrolled. The overall response (complete response (CR) + partial response (PR)) rate was 4 %. The clinical benefit rate (CR + PR + stable disease ≥6 months) was 12 %. Since UCN-01 inhibits PDK1, phosphorylated ribosomal protein S6 (pS6) in PBMC was assessed. Although reduced 24 h post UCN-01, pS6 levels rose to baseline by day 8, indicating loss of UCN-01 bioavailability. Immunostains of γH2AX and pChk1S296 on serial tumor biopsies from four patients demonstrated an induction of DNA damage and Chk1 activation following irinotecan. However, Chk1 inhibition by UCN-01 was not observed in all tumors. Most tumors were basal-like (69 %), and carried mutations in TP53 (53 %). Median overall survival in patients with TP53 mutant tumors was poor compared to wild type (5.5 vs. 20.3 months, p = 0.004). This regimen had limited activity in TNBC. Inconsistent Chk1 inhibition was likely due to the pharmacokinetics of UCN-01. TP53 mutations were associated with a poor prognosis in metastatic TNBC.
Irinotecan; UCN-01; Chk1; Metastatic triple negative breast cancer; TP53; p53
In the last year, the armamentarium of melanoma therapeutics has radically changed. Recent discoveries in melanoma biology and immunology have led to novel therapeutics targeting known oncogenes and immunotherapeutic antibodies. Phase III clinical trials of these agents have reported measurable and meaningful benefits to patients with metastatic disease. In this article, we review recent findings and discuss their significance in melanoma therapy. As our understanding of melanoma biology grows, this initial therapeutic success may be enhanced through the use of molecular markers to select patients, and new targeted immunotherapies in sequential or combination drug regimens.
metastatic melanoma; ipilimumab; vemurafenib; antitumor
Phosphatase and tensin homolog (PTEN) is a tumor suppressor gene, and loss of function mutations are common and appear to be important in the pathogenesis of endometrial carcinomas. Loss of PTEN causes deregulated phosphatidylinositol-3 kinase/serine-threonine kinase/mammalian target of rapamycin (PI3K/Akt/mTOR) signaling which may provide neoplastic cells with a selective survival advantage by enhancing angiogenesis, protein translation, and cell cycle progression. Temsirolimus, an ester derivative of rapamycin that inhibits mTOR, was evaluated in this setting.
Patients and Methods
Sequential phase II studies evaluated single-agent activity of temsirolimus in women with recurrent or metastatic chemotherapy-naive or chemotherapy-treated endometrial cancer. Temsirolimus 25 mg intravenously was administered weekly in 4-week cycles.
In the chemotherapy-naive group, 33 patients received a median of four cycles (range, one to 23 cycles). Of the 29 patients evaluable for response, four (14%) had an independently confirmed partial response and 20 (69%) had stable disease as best response, with a median duration of 5.1 months (range, 3.7 to 18.4 months) and 9.7 months (range, 2.1 to 14.6 months). Only five patients (18%) had progressive disease. In the chemotherapy-treated group, 27 patients received a median of three cycles (range, one to six cycles). Of the 25 patients evaluable for response, one (4%) had an independently confirmed partial response, and 12 patients (48%) had stable disease, with a median duration of 4.3 months (range, 3.6 to 4.9 months) and 3.7 months (range, 2.4 to 23.2 months). PTEN loss (immunohistochemistry and mutational analysis) and molecular markers of PI3K/Akt/mTOR pathway did not correlate with the clinical outcome.
mTOR inhibition with temsirolimus has encouraging single-agent activity in endometrial cancer which is higher in chemotherapy-naive patients than in chemotherapy-treated patients and is independent of PTEN status. The difference in activity according to prior therapy should be factored into future clinical trial designs.
Despite high initial remission rates, most lymphomas relapse and require further therapy. The mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR) pathway is a validated target in mantle cell lymphoma, but has not been extensively evaluated in other lymphomas.
Patients and Methods
We performed a phase II trial of single-agent temsirolimus 25-mg weekly in patients with relapsed aggressive and indolent lymphomas. The primary objective was overall and complete response rate. Patients were stratified by histology: group A (diffuse large B-cell lymphoma, transformed follicular lymphoma), group B (follicular lymphoma), and group C (chronic lymphocytic leukemia/small lymphocytic lymphoma, and other indolent lymphomas).
Eighty-nine patients were treated, with outcome strongly dependent on histology. Group A had an overall and complete response rate of 28.1% and 12.5%, respectively, and median progression-free survival (PFS) of 2.6 months and median overall survival (OS) of 7.2 months. Group B had overall and complete response rates of 53.8% and 25.6%, respectively, and median PFS of 12.7 months; median OS has not yet been reached. Group C had a partial response rate of 11% with no complete responders. Toxicity was mainly mild and/or reversible myelosuppression and mucositis; however, four patients developed pneumonitis.
Single-agent temsirolimus has significant activity in both diffuse large B-cell lymphoma and follicular lymphoma, although the durability of responses and PFS are longer for patients with follicular lymphoma. This is the first report of substantial activity of temsirolimus in lymphomas other than mantle cell lymphoma, and supports further evaluation of mTOR as a target in these diseases.
Epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) overexpression in head and neck squamous cell carcinoma (HNSCC) stimulates tumor cell proliferation, inhibits apoptosis, and increases chemotherapy and radiation resistance. We examined the toxicity, safety and the effects on EGFR signaling in tumor biopsies from patients with locally advanced HNSCC treated with the EGFR signaling inhibitor gefitinib (GEF) combined with weekly intravenous paclitaxel (PAC) and radiation therapy (RT).
Methods and Materials
A pilot phase I dose-escalation study. Eligibility included stage III-IVB HNSCC, age ≥18 years, no prior RT or chemotherapy, adequate organ function and informed consent. Endpoints included determination of maximum tolerated dose (MTD) and analysis of treatment effect on EGFR signaling, tumor cell proliferation and apoptosis in biopsies.
Ten patients were treated. The MTD of this combination was GEF 250 mg/d with PAC 36 mg/m2 I.V. weekly × 6 with concurrent RT. Grade 3/4 toxicities included prolonged (>8 weeks) stomatitis (7 patients), infection (1), and interstitial pneumonitis (1). There were five complete responses (CR) and two partial responses (PR). Of 7 patients undergoing serial biopsies, only one demonstrated a reduction in phosphorylated-EGFR, decreased downstream signaling and reduced cellular proliferation after initiating GEF.
GEF inhibition of EGFR was observed in only one of seven tumors studied. The addition of GEF to PAC and RT did not appear to improve the response of locally advanced HNSCC compared to our prior experience with PAC and RT alone. This treatment appeared to delay recovery from stomatitis.
Epidermal growth factor receptor; head and neck cancer; gefitinib; paclitaxel; radiation
This phase I study was conducted to determine the maximum tolerated dose (MTD) of erlotinib, an oral epidermal growth factor receptor tyrosine kinase inhibitor, with 5-fluorouracil/leucovorin/oxaliplatin (FOLFOX4) in patients with advanced colorectal cancer (CRC). Bevacizumab was later included as standard of care at the MTD.
Patients and Methods
Patients received FOLFOX4 with escalating doses of erlotinib: dose level (DL) 1, 50 mg; DL 2, 100 mg; and DL 3, 150 mg once daily continuously. Bevacizumab 5 mg/kg days 1 and 15 was added at the MTD upon Food and Drug Administration approval. Correlative studies included pharmacokinetics, pharmacodynamics was assessed in paired skin biopsies, and fluorodeoxyglucose positron emission tomography scans.
Fifteen patients received 60 cycles (120 FOLFOX treatments). Two dose-limiting toxicities (DLTs) were seen at DL 3: intolerable grade 2 rash (Common Terminology Criteria for Adverse Events version 2) lasting > 1 week, and grade 4 neutropenia. Dose level 2 was expanded to 6 more patients, this time adding bevacizumab, and 1 DLT of grade 3 mucositis occurred. As expected, the primary toxicities were cytopenias, diarrhea, rash, and fatigue. There were 2 occurrences of pneumatosis. One patient experienced an unrelated grade 4 myocardial infarction before starting chemotherapy. No pharmacokinetic drug interactions were observed. The Response Evaluation Criteria in Solid Tumors response rate was 11 of 14 (78%), median progression-free survival was 9.5 months, and median overall survival was 30 months. Three patients are currently alive > 3 years, with 1 having no evidence of disease.
The MTD of erlotinib with FOLFOX4 with or without bevacizumab is 100 mg daily. The regimen appeared to increase toxicity but showed activity in patients with CRC.
Epidermal growth factor receptor; Pharmacokinetics; Tyrosine kinase
UCN-01 potently inhibits protein kinase C, phosphatidylinositide-dependent kinase-1, and checkpoint kinase 1, which are involved in regulating cell cycle progression. We designed a phase I study to determine the maximum tolerated dose (MTD) of UCN-01 with prednisone in patients with advanced malignancies.
UCN-01 was administered as a continuous intravenous infusion over 72 h in cycle 1 and 36 h in subsequent cycles. Prednisone was given orally at 60 mg/m2/day for 5 consecutive days within each 28-day cycle. Standard dose escalation was employed, and MTD was defined as the dose at which no more than one of six patients experienced a dose-limiting toxicity (DLT). Plasma pharmacokinetics of UCN-01 were assessed.
Fifteen patients received a total of 55 courses of treatment. The MTD and the recommended phase II dose of UCN-01 in this combination is 72 mg/m2 total dose over 72 h for cycle 1 followed by 36 mg/m2/cycle over 36 h. All patients experienced hyperglycemia but responded to insulin treatment. Hypophosphatemia was a DLT in two patients. There were no cumulative toxicities. No objective responses were observed, but five patients had stable disease, including two patients with lymphoid malignancies who had prolonged disease stabilizations. UCN-01 has a long terminal half-life and low clearance; there was wide inter-patient variability in peak concentrations.
UCN-01 can be safely administered in combination with prednisone without unacceptable toxicity. The prolonged stable disease in two patients with lymphoid malignancies is proof of principle for the evaluation of cyclin-dependent kinase inhibitors in oncology.
cyclin-dependent kinase inhibitor; protein kinase C; phase I; combination chemotherapy; UCN-01; prednisone
Patients with (a) recurrent malignant glioma (MG): glioblastoma (GBM) or recurrent anaplastic glioma (AG), and (b) nonprogressive (NP) GBM following radiation therapy (RT) were eligible. Primary objective for recurrent MG was progression-free survival at 6 months (PFS-6) and overall survival at 12 months for NP GBM post-RT. Secondary objectives for recurrent MGs were response, survival, assessment of toxicity, and pharmacokinetics (PKs). Treatment with enzyme-inducing antiepileptic drugs was not allowed. Patients received 150 mg/day erlotinib. Patients requiring surgery were treated 7 days prior to tumor removal for PK analysis and effects of erlotinib on epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) and intracellular signaling pathways. Ninety-six patients were evaluable (53 recurrent MG and 43 NP GBM); 5 patients were not evaluable for response. PFS-6 in recurrent GBM was 3% with a median PFS of 2 months; PFS-6 in recurrent AG was 27% with a median PFS of 2 months. Twelve-month survival was 57% in NP GBMs post-RT. Primary toxicity was dermatologic. The tissue-to-plasma ratio normalized to nanograms per gram dry weight for erlotinib and OSI-420 ranged from 25% to 44% and 30% to 59%, respectively, for pretreated surgical patients. No effect on EGFR or intratumoral signaling was seen. Patients with NP GBM post-RT who developed rash in cycle 1 had improved survival (P < .001). Single-agent activity of erlotinib is minimal for recurrent MGs and marginally beneficial following RT for NP GBM patients. Development of rash in cycle 1 correlates with survival in patients with NP GBM after RT.
erlotinib; glioblastoma; glioma; meningioma; pharmacokinetics
The objective of this phase I study was to determine the maximal tolerated dose (MTD) of erlotinib in patients with recurrent malignant gliomas (MGs) or recurrent meningiomas on enzyme-inducing antiepileptic drugs (EIAEDs). Dose escalation was by a standard 3 × 3 design. The initial starting dose of erlotinib was 150 mg daily. If no dose-limiting toxicity (DLT) was observed, then dose escalation occurs as follows: 200 mg/day, 275 mg/day, and then increased in 125 mg increments until the MTD was reached. The MTD was defined as the dose where ≤1 of 6 patients experienced a DLT and the dose above had 2 or more DLTs. The MTD was 650 mg/day; the observed DLTs were grade 3 rash in 2 patients at 775 mg/day. Pharmacokinetic analysis showed a significant influence of EIAEDs on the metabolism of erlotinib when compared with our phase II data published separately. Primary toxicities were rash and diarrhea. The MTD of erlotinib in patients receiving EIAEDs is substantially higher than the standard dose of 150 mg. This has important implications for further development of this drug in the treatment of MG as well as the optimal management of patients with other malignancies such as NSCLC who are on enzyme-inducing drugs.
erlotinib; glioblastoma; glioma; meningioma; pharmacokinetics
Hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) is on the rise worldwide. HCC responds poorly to chemotherapy. Lapatinib is an inhibitor of EGFR and HER2/NEU both implicated in hepatocarcinogenesis. This trial was designed to determine the safety and efficacy of lapatinib in HCC.
A Fleming phase II design with a single stage of 25 patients with a 90% power to exclude a true response rate of < 10% and detect a true response rate of ≥30% was utilized. The dose of lapatinib was 1,500 mg/d administered orally in 28-day cycles. Tumor and blood specimens were analyzed for expression of HER2/NEU/CEP17 and status of downstream signal pathway proteins.
Twenty-six patients with HCC enrolled on this study. 19% had one prior therapy. Most common toxicities were diarrhea (73%), nausea (54%) and rash (42%). No objective responses were observed. Ten (40%) patients had stable disease (SD) as their best response including 6 (23%) with SD lasting > 120 days. Median progression-free-survival was 1.9 months and median overall survival 12.6 months. Patients who developed a rash had a borderline statistically significant longer survival. Tissue and blood specimens were available on >90% of patients. No somatic mutations in EGFR (exons 18–21) were found. In contrast to our previous findings, we did not find evidence of HER2/NEU somatic mutations. PTEN, P-AKT and P70S6K expression did not correlate with survival.
Lapatinib is well-tolerated but appears to benefit only a subgroup of patients for whom predictive molecular or clinical characteristics are not yet fully defined.
UCN-01 (7-hydroxystaurosporine) is a multi-targeted protein kinase inhibitor that exhibits synergistic activity with DNA-damaging agents in preclinical studies. We conducted a Phase I study to determine the maximum-tolerated dose (MTD), dose-limiting toxicity (DLT), pharmacokinetic, and pharmacodynamic effects of UCN-01 and irinotecan in patients with resistant solid tumors.
Patients received irinotecan (75–125 mg/m2 IV on days 1, 8, 15, 22) and UCN-01 (50–90 mg/m2 IV on day 2 and 25–45 mg/m2 on day 23 and subsequent doses) every 42 days. Blood for pharmacokinetics of UCN-01 and irinotecan, and blood, normal rectal mucosa, and tumor biopsies for pharmacodynamic studies were obtained.
Twenty-five patients enrolled to 5 dose levels. The MTD was irinotecan 125 mg/m2 on days 1, 8, 15, 22 and UCN-01 70 mg/m2 on day 2 and 35 mg/m2 on day 23. DLTs included grade 3 diarrhea/dehydration and dyspnea. UCN-01 had a prolonged half-life and a low clearance rate. There was a significant reduction in SN-38 Cmax and aminopentanocarboxylic acid (APC) and SN-38 glucuronide half-lives. Phosphorylated ribosomal protein S6 was reduced in blood, normal rectal mucosa, and tumor biopsies at 24 h post-UCN-01. Two partial responses were observed in women with ER, PgR, and HER2-negative breast cancers (TBNC). Both tumors were defective for p53. Twelve patients had stable disease (mean duration 18 weeks, range 7–30 weeks).
UCN-01 and irinotecan demonstrated acceptable toxicity and target inhibition. Anti-tumor activity was observed and a study of this combination in women with TNBC is underway.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1007/s00280-010-1410-1) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
Phase 1; Irinotecan; UCN-01; Chk1; Ribosomal protein S6
Gene amplification status of the epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) and the human epidermal growth factor receptor 2 (HER2) were analyzed and correlated with clinical outcome in patients with progressive malignant salivary glands tumors (MSGT) treated with the dual EGFR/Her2 tyrosine kinase inhibitor lapatinib
Fluorescence in situ hybridization (FISH) analysis for both EGFR and HER2 gene amplification was performed successfully in the archival tumor specimens of 20 patients with adenoid cystic carcinomas (ACC) and 17 patients with non-ACC, all treated with lapatinib.
For ACC, no EGFR or HER2 amplifications were detected. For non-ACC, no EGFR gene amplifications were detected but 3 patients (18%) were HER2 amplified and all had stained 3+ for both EGFR and HER2 by immunohistochemistry (IHC) in their archival specimens. Two of these patients had time-to-progression (TTP) durations of 8.3 months and 18.4 months respectively. Interestingly, patients with low and high HER2/chromosome-specific centromeric enumeration probe (CEP) 17 ratio had a prolonged TTP than those with moderate ratios for both ACC and non-ACC subtypes.
HER2 to CEP17 FISH ratio may predict which patients with MSGT have an increased likelihood to benefit from lapatinib. The finding of HER2:CEP17 ratio as a predictive marker of efficacy to lapatinib warrants further investigation.
MSGT; lapatinib; EGFR and HER2 gene amplification; FISH
The epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) is a validated target in squamous cell carcinoma of the head and neck but in patients with recurrent or metastatic disease, EGFR targeting agents have displayed modest efficacy. Vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) mediated angiogenesis has been implicated as a mechanism of resistance to anti-EGFR therapy. This study combined an EGFR inhibitor, erlotinib, with an anti-VEGF antibody, bevacizumab.
This multi-institutional phase I/II study enrolled patients with recurrent or metastatic squamous cell carcinoma of the head and neck to receive erlotinib (150 mg daily) and bevacizumab in escalating dose cohorts. The primary objectives in the phase I and II portions, respectively, were to determine the maximum tolerated dose and dose-limiting toxicity of bevacizumab when administered with erlotinib and to determine the objective response rate and time to disease progression. Pre-treatment serum and tissues were collected and analyzed by Enzyme-Linked ImmunoSorbent Assay and immunofluorescence quantitative laser analysis, respectively. This study was registered with ClinicalTrials.gov, number NCT00055913.
The phase I portion enrolled 10 subjects in three successive cohorts without dose-limiting toxicity observed. An additional 46 subjects were enrolled at the phase II dose (bevacizumab 15 mg/kg every 3 weeks). The most common toxicities of any grade were rash and diarrhea (41 and 16 of 48 subjects, respectively). Three patients experienced serious bleeding events. The observed response rate was 15% with 4 complete responses (CR) allowing rejection of the null hypothesis. The median overall and progression-free survival (PFS) durations were 7.1 (95% Confidence Interval: 5.7 to 9.0) and 4.1 (95% Confidence Interval: 2.8 to 4.4) months, respectively. Higher ratios of phosphorylated over total VEGF receptor-2 and EGFR in pre-treatment biopsies were associated with CR (0.7043 vs. 0.3857, p=0.036 and 0.949 vs. 0.332, p=0.036, respectively) and tumor shrinkage (p=0.007 and p=0.008, respectively) in a subset of 11 subjects with available tissue.
The combination of erlotinib and bevacizumab is well tolerated in recurrent or metastatic squamous cell carcinoma of the head and neck. Some patients appear to derive a sustained benefit and complete responses were associated with expression of putative targets in pre-treatment tumor tissue.
This phase I study was designed to determine the maximum tolerated dose (MTD) and toxicity profile of the combination of gefitinib, capecitabine, and celecoxib in patients with advanced solid tumors. Patients were treated with escalating doses of gefitinib once daily, capecitabine twice daily (14 of 28 days), and celecoxib twice daily. Plasma samples for biomarkers were obtained at baseline and weekly for the first 2 cycles. Pharmacokinetic variables were correlated with toxicity and presence of biological effect. Tumor biopsies from 5 patients were analyzed for changes in tumor metabolic activity by nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy. [18F]fluororodeoxyglucose positron emission tomography was done as a correlate in 6 patients at the MTD. Thirty-nine patients received 168 cycles of therapy. The dose-limiting toxicities observed included nausea, dehydration and nausea, diarrhea, and stomatitis. The MTD was 250 mg/d gefitinib (days 1–14) and 2,000 mg/m2/d capecitabine divided twice daily (days 8–21) every 28 days. Celecoxib was eliminated due to concerns of increased risk for cardiovascular toxicity, although no patients in this study had cardiac events. One patient with cholangiocarcinoma had a confirmed partial response. Fourteen of 39 (36%) patients maintained prolonged stable disease for a median of 4 months (range, 3–24 months). [18F]fluorodeoxyglulucose positron emission tomography scan and metabolomic analyses revealed differences in metabolic response to gefitinib versus capecitabine. The combination of gefitinib and capecitabine is well tolerated and appears to have activity against certain advanced solid tumors, providing a rationale for further evaluation in advanced solid malignancies.
To evaluate the efficacy and toxicity of erlotinib plus bevacizumab in patients with metastatic breast cancer (MBC), targeting the epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR/HER1) and the vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) pathway.
Thirty-eight patients with MBC were enrolled and treated at two institutions with erlotinib, a small molecule EGFR tyrosine kinase inhibitor (150 mg orally daily) plus bevacizumab, an anti-VEGF antibody (15 mg/kg intravenously every 3 weeks). Patients had 1-2 prior chemotherapy regimens for metastatic disease. The primary end point was response rate by RECIST criteria using a Simon 2-stage design. Secondary end points included toxicity, time to progression (TTP), response duration, and stabilization of disease ≥ 26 weeks. Correlative studies were performed on tumor tissue, including EGFR expression and mutation analysis.
One patient achieved a partial response for 52+ months. Fifteen patients had stable disease at first evaluation at 9 weeks; 4 of these patients had stable disease beyond 26 weeks. Median TTP was 11 weeks (95% confidence interval [CI] 8-18 weeks). Diarrhea of any grade was observed in 84% of patients (grade 3 in 3%); 76% experienced grade 1 or 2 skin rash, and 18% developed hypertension (grade 3 in 11%). The level of EGFR expression was not predictive of response to therapy.
The combination of erlotinib and bevacizumab was well tolerated, but had limited activity in unselected patients with previously treated MBC. Biomarkers are needed to identify those MBC patients likely to respond to anti-EGFR/HER1 plus anti-VEGF therapy.
A workshop sponsored by the National Cancer Institute and the US Food and Drug Administration addressed past lessons learned and ongoing challenges faced in biomarker development and drug and biomarker codevelopment. Participants agreed that critical decision points in the product life cycle depend on the level of understanding of the biology of the target and its interaction with the drug, the preanalytical and analytical factors affecting biomarker assay performance, and the clinical disease process. The more known about the biology and the greater the strength of association between an analytical signal and clinical result, the more efficient and less risky the development process will be. Rapid entry into clinical practice will only be achieved by using a rigorous scientific approach, including careful specimen collection and standardized and quality-controlled data collection. Early interaction with appropriate regulatory bodies will ensure studies are appropriately designed and biomarker test performance is well characterized.
We conducted a phase I and pharmacokinetic study of the epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) inhibitor erlotinib as a single agent and in combination with temozolomide in children with refractory solid tumors.
Patients and Methods
Erlotinib was administered orally once daily to cohorts of three to six children for a single 28-day course. Patients then received the combination of daily erlotinib and temozolomide daily for 5 days for all subsequent 28-day courses. An oral erlotinib solution was administered during the dose-finding phase and a tablet formulation was subsequently studied at the maximum-tolerated dose (MTD). Pharmacokinetic studies and ERBB-receptor expression and signaling studies were performed.
Forty-six patients, median age 11.5 years, received erlotinib at doses of 35, 50, 65, 85, or 110 mg/m2/d. At 110 mg/m2/d, two of four patients had dose-limiting toxicity (DLT) consisting of rash and hyperbilirubinemia, whereas one of six patients developed dose-limiting rash at 85 mg/m2/d. The most frequent non-DLTs included diarrhea, rash, and hyperbilirubinemia. The combination of erlotinib and temozolomide was well tolerated. The median apparent erlotinib clearance was 3.1 L/h/m2 and the median terminal half-life was 8.7 hours. One patient with a neurocytoma had stable disease for 19 months, two patients with neuroblastoma remained on study for 23 and 24 months, and one patient with myoepithelioma had a mixed response.
The recommended phase II dose of erlotinib in recurrent pediatric solid tumors is 85 mg/m2/d, either alone or in combination with temozolomide.
Progression-free survival is an important end point in advanced disease settings. Blinded independent central review (BICR) of progression in randomized clinical trials has been advocated to control bias that might result from errors in progression assessments. However, although BICR lessens some potential biases, it does not remove all biases from evaluations of treatment effectiveness. In fact, as typically conducted, BICRs may introduce bias because of informative censoring, which results from having to censor unconfirmed locally determined progressions. In this article, we discuss the rationale for BICR and different ways of implementing independent review. We discuss the limitations of these approaches and review published trials that report implementing BICR. We demonstrate the existence of informative censoring using data from a randomized phase II trial. We conclude that double-blinded trials with consistent application of measurement criteria are the best means of ensuring unbiased trial results. When such designs are not practical, BICR is not recommended as a general strategy for reducing bias. However, BICR may be useful as an auditing tool to assess the reliability of marginally positive results.