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1.  A Randomized Pilot Trial of Dietary Modification for the Chemoprevention of Non-invasive Bladder Cancer: The Dietary Intervention in Bladder Cancer Study (DIBS) 
Cancer prevention research (Philadelphia, Pa.)  2013;6(9):10.1158/1940-6207.CAPR-13-0050.
Epidemiological data suggest robust associations of high vegetable intake with decreased risks of bladder cancer incidence and mortality, but translational prevention studies have yet to be performed. We designed and tested a novel intervention to increase vegetable intake in patients with non-invasive bladder cancer. We randomized 48 patients aged 50 to 80 years with biopsy-proven non-invasive (Ta, T1, or carcinoma in situ) urothelial cell carcinoma to telephone- and Skype-based dietary counseling or a control condition that provided print materials only. The intervention behavioral goals promoted 7 daily vegetable servings, with at least 2 of these as cruciferous vegetables. Outcome variables were self-reported diet and plasma carotenoid and 24-hour urinary isothiocyanate (ITC) concentrations. We used 2-sample t-tests to assess between-group differences at 6-month follow-up. After 6 months, intervention patients had higher daily intakes of vegetable juice (p=0.02), total vegetables (p=0.02), and cruciferous vegetables (p=0.07); lower daily intakes of energy (p=0.007), (p=0.002) and energy from fat (p=0.06); and higher plasma alpha-carotene concentrations (p=0.03). Self-reported cruciferous vegetable intake correlated with urinary ITC concentrations at baseline (p<0.001) and at 6 months (p=0.03). Although urinary ITC concentrations increased in the intervention group and decreased in the control group, these changes did not attain between-group significance (p=0.32). In patients with non-invasive bladder cancer, our novel intervention induced diet changes associated with protective effects against bladder cancer. These data demonstrate the feasibility of implementing therapeutic dietary modifications to prevent recurrent and progressive bladder cancer.
PMCID: PMC3857028  PMID: 23867158
2.  PR-104 a bioreductive pre-prodrug combined with gemcitabine or docetaxel in a phase Ib study of patients with advanced solid tumours 
BMC Cancer  2012;12:496.
The purpose of this phase Ib clinical trial was to determine the maximum tolerated dose (MTD) of PR-104 a bioreductive pre-prodrug given in combination with gemcitabine or docetaxel in patients with advanced solid tumours.
PR-104 was administered as a one-hour intravenous infusion combined with docetaxel 60 to 75 mg/m2 on day one given with or without granulocyte colony stimulating factor (G-CSF) on day two or administrated with gemcitabine 800 mg/m2 on days one and eight, of a 21-day treatment cycle. Patients were assigned to one of ten PR-104 dose-levels ranging from 140 to 1100 mg/m2 and to one of four combination groups. Pharmacokinetic studies were scheduled for cycle one day one and 18F fluoromisonidazole (FMISO) positron emission tomography hypoxia imaging at baseline and after two treatment cycles.
Forty two patients (23 females and 19 males) were enrolled with ages ranging from 27 to 85 years and a wide range of advanced solid tumours. The MTD of PR-104 was 140 mg/m2 when combined with gemcitabine, 200 mg/m2 when combined with docetaxel 60 mg/m2, 770 mg/m2 when combined with docetaxel 60 mg/m2 plus G-CSF and ≥770 mg/m2 when combined with docetaxel 75 mg/m2 plus G-CSF. Dose-limiting toxicity (DLT) across all four combination settings included thrombocytopenia, neutropenic fever and fatigue. Other common grade three or four toxicities included neutropenia, anaemia and leukopenia. Four patients had partial tumour response. Eleven of 17 patients undergoing FMISO scans showed tumour hypoxia at baseline. Plasma pharmacokinetics of PR-104, its metabolites (alcohol PR-104A, glucuronide PR-104G, hydroxylamine PR-104H, amine PR-104M and semi-mustard PR-104S1), docetaxel and gemcitabine were similar to that of their single agents.
Combination of PR-104 with docetaxel or gemcitabine caused dose-limiting and severe myelotoxicity, but prophylactic G-CSF allowed PR-104 dose escalation with docetaxel. Dose-limiting thrombocytopenia prohibited further evaluation of the PR104-gemcitabine combination. A recommended dose was identified for phase II trials of PR-104 of 770 mg/m2 combined with docetaxel 60 to 75 mg/m2 both given on day one of a 21-day treatment cycle supported by prophylactic G-CSF (NCT00459836).
PMCID: PMC3495895  PMID: 23098625
3.  A phase I trial of PR-104, a pre-prodrug of the bioreductive prodrug PR-104A, given weekly to solid tumour patients 
BMC Cancer  2011;11:432.
The phosphate ester PR-104 is rapidly converted in vivo to the alcohol PR-104A, a nitrogen mustard prodrug that is metabolised to hydroxylamine (PR-104H) and amine (PR-104M) DNA crosslinking agents by one-electron reductases in hypoxic cells and by aldo-keto reductase 1C3 independently of oxygen. In a previous phase I study using a q 3 week schedule of PR-104, the maximum tolerated dose (MTD) was 1100 mg/m2 and fatigue, neutropenic fever and infection were dose-limiting. The primary objective of the current study was to determine the dose-limiting toxicity (DLT) and MTD of weekly PR-104.
Patients with advanced solid tumours received PR-104 as a 1-hour intravenous infusion on days 1, 8 and 15 every 28 days with assessment of pharmacokinetics on cycle 1 day 1. Twenty-six patients (pts) were enrolled (16 male/10 female; median age 58 yrs, range 30 to 70 yrs) who had received a median of two prior chemotherapy regimens (range, 0 to 3) for melanoma (8 pts), colorectal or anal cancer (3 pts), NSCLC (3 pts), sarcoma (3 pts), glioblastoma (2 pts), salivary gland tumours (2 pts) or other solid tumours (5 pts). PR-104 was administered at 135 mg/m2 (3 pts), 270 mg/m2 (6 pts), 540 mg/m2 (6 pts), 675 mg/m2 (7 pts) and 900 mg/m2 (4 pts) for a median of two treatment cycles (range, 1 to 7 cycles) and five infusions (range, 1 to 18) per patient.
Dose-limiting toxicities (DLTs) during cycle one included grade four thrombocytopenia at 540 mg/m2 (1 of 6 pts) and grade four thrombocytopenia and neutropenia at 900 mg/m2 (2 of 4 pts). At an intermediate dose of 675 mg/m2, there were no DLTs among a total of seven patients given 12 treatment cycles but all experienced moderate to severe (grade 2 to 4) haematological toxicity. Thrombocytopenia was delayed in its onset and nadir, and its recovery was protracted and incomplete in many patients. There were no complete or partial tumour responses. PR-104-induced thrombocytopenia and neutropenia correlated with plasma AUC of PR-104, PR-104A and an oxidative semi-mustard metabolite (PR-104S1), but no more strongly than with PR-104 dose-level. There was no significant correlation between plasma AUC for the reduced metabolites and myelotoxicity.
Thrombocytopenia, and to a lesser extent neutropenia, was the DLT of weekly PR-104. The MTD was 675 mg/m2/week. PR-104 given weekly may be a suitable protocol for further clinical evaluation as a short course of treatment with fractionated radiotherapy or haematopoietic stem cell support, as its duration of dosing is restricted by delayed-onset and protracted thrombocytopenia.
PMCID: PMC3205073  PMID: 21982454
4.  Comparative outcomes of squamous and non-squamous non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) patients in phase II studies of ASA404 (DMXAA) – retrospective analysis of pooled data 
Journal of Thoracic Disease  2010;2(4):199-204.
ASA404 (5,6-dimethylxanthenone-4-acetic acid) is a small-molecule, flavonoid tumor-vascular disrupting agent. Pooled data from phase II studies were analyzed retrospectively to compare safety and efficacy between squamous and non-squamous non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) patients.
Data from previously untreated patients with stage IIIb/IV NSCLC who were randomized to receive up to six cycles of carboplatin (C; AUC 6 mg/ml•min) and paclitaxel (P; 175 mg/m2) alone or with ASA404 (1200 mg/m2), or enrolled in an extension study to receive CP and ASA404 (1800 mg/m2), were analyzed. Differences between subgroups were calculated using Fisher’s exact test.
Of the 108 enrolled patients, safety data from the 104 patients included in the safety population were pooled to compare results between histological subgroups (squamous vs non-squamous) and treatment (CP alone vs CP + ASA404). Addition of ASA404 to the standard chemotherapy regimen did not appear to substantially increase toxicity, and there were no serious adverse events associated with bleeding, pulmonary hemorrhage, or hemoptysis. Activity with CP + ASA404 appeared improved over CP alone, with median survival 10.2 vs 5.5 months in squamous, and 14.9 vs 11.0 months in non-squamous populations, respectively.
This analysis is limited by its retrospective nature, and by the small size of the overall group, treatment and disease subgroups. However, as ASA404 appears to have a similar safety and activity profile in patients with squamous and non-squamous NSCLC, the findings support inclusion of both groups of patients in ongoing definitive phase III trials of ASA404 (NCT00832494).
PMCID: PMC3256477  PMID: 22263047
ASA404; non-small cell lung carcinoma; clinical trial; phase II; safety

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