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1.  Gemcitabine Plus nab-Paclitaxel Is an Active Regimen in Patients With Advanced Pancreatic Cancer: A Phase I/II Trial 
Journal of Clinical Oncology  2011;29(34):4548-4554.
The trial objectives were to identify the maximum-tolerated dose (MTD) of first-line gemcitabine plus nab-paclitaxel in metastatic pancreatic adenocarcinoma and to provide efficacy and safety data. Additional objectives were to evaluate positron emission tomography (PET) scan response, secreted protein acidic and rich in cysteine (SPARC), and CA19-9 levels in relation to efficacy. Subsequent preclinical studies investigated the changes involving the pancreatic stroma and drug uptake.
Patients and Methods
Patients with previously untreated advanced pancreatic cancer were treated with 100, 125, or 150 mg/m2 nab-paclitaxel followed by gemcitabine 1,000 mg/m2 on days 1, 8, and 15 every 28 days. In the preclinical study, mice were implanted with human pancreatic cancers and treated with study agents.
A total of 20, 44, and three patients received nab-paclitaxel at 100, 125, and 150 mg/m2, respectively. The MTD was 1,000 mg/m2 of gemcitabine plus 125 mg/m2 of nab-paclitaxel once a week for 3 weeks, every 28 days. Dose-limiting toxicities were sepsis and neutropenia. At the MTD, the response rate was 48%, with 12.2 median months of overall survival (OS) and 48% 1-year survival. Improved OS was observed in patients who had a complete metabolic response on [18F]fluorodeoxyglucose PET. Decreases in CA19-9 levels were correlated with increased response rate, progression-free survival, and OS. SPARC in the stroma, but not in the tumor, was correlated with improved survival. In mice with human pancreatic cancer xenografts, nab-paclitaxel alone and in combination with gemcitabine depleted the desmoplastic stroma. The intratumoral concentration of gemcitabine was increased by 2.8-fold in mice receiving nab-paclitaxel plus gemcitabine versus those receiving gemcitabine alone.
The regimen of nab-paclitaxel plus gemcitabine has tolerable adverse effects with substantial antitumor activity, warranting phase III evaluation.
PMCID: PMC3565012  PMID: 21969517
2.  Gemcitabine Alone Versus Gemcitabine Plus Radiotherapy in Patients With Locally Advanced Pancreatic Cancer: An Eastern Cooperative Oncology Group Trial 
Journal of Clinical Oncology  2011;29(31):4105-4112.
The purpose of this trial was to evaluate the role of radiation therapy with concurrent gemcitabine (GEM) compared with GEM alone in patients with localized unresectable pancreatic cancer.
Patients and Methods
Patients with localized unresectable adenocarcinoma of the pancreas were randomly assigned to receive GEM alone (at 1,000 mg/m2/wk for weeks 1 to 6, followed by 1 week rest, then for 3 of 4 weeks) or GEM (600 mg/m2/wk for weeks 1 to 5, then 4 weeks later 1,000 mg/m2 for 3 of 4 weeks) plus radiotherapy (starting on day 1, 1.8 Gy/Fx for total of 50.4 Gy). Measurement of quality of life using the Functional Assessment of Cancer Therapy–Hepatobiliary questionnaire was also performed.
Of 74 patients entered on trial and randomly assigned to receive GEM alone (arm A; n = 37) or GEM plus radiation (arm B; n = 34), patients in arm B had greater incidence of grades 4 and 5 toxicities (41% v 9%), but grades 3 and 4 toxicities combined were similar (77% in A v 79% in B). No statistical differences were seen in quality of life measurements at 6, 15 to 16, and 36 weeks. The primary end point was survival, which was 9.2 months (95% CI, 7.9 to 11.4 months) and 11.1 months (95% CI, 7.6 to 15.5 months) for arms A and B, respectively (one-sided P = .017 by stratified log-rank test).
This trial demonstrates improved overall survival with the addition of radiation therapy to GEM in patients with localized unresectable pancreatic cancer, with acceptable toxicity.
PMCID: PMC3525836  PMID: 21969502
3.  Phase I Pharmacokinetic and Pharmacodynamic Study of 17-dimethylaminoethylamino-17-demethoxygeldanamycin, an Inhibitor of Heat-Shock Protein 90, in Patients With Advanced Solid Tumors 
Journal of Clinical Oncology  2010;28(9):1520-1526.
To define the maximum tolerated dose, toxicities, pharmacokinetics, and pharmacodynamics of 17-dimethylaminoethylamino-17-demethoxygeldanamycin (17DMAG).
17DMAG was given intravenously over 1 hour daily for 5 days (schedule A) or daily for 3 days (schedule B) every 3 weeks. Plasma 17DMAG concentrations were measured by liquid chromatography/mass spectrometry. Heat-shock proteins (HSPs) and client proteins were evaluated at baseline and after treatment on day 1 in peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs) and in pre- and post-treatment (24 hours) biopsies done during cycle 1 at the recommended phase II dose (n = 7).
Fifty-six patients were entered: 26 on schedule A; 30 on schedule B. The recommended phase II doses for schedules A and B were 16 mg/m2 and 25 mg/m2, respectively. Grade 3/4 toxicities included liver function test elevation (14%), pneumonitis (9%), diarrhea (4%), nausea (4%), fatigue (4%) and thrombocytopenia (4%). There were no objective responses. Four patients had stable disease. 17DMAG half-life was 24 ± 15 hours. 17DMAG area under the curve (range, 0.7 to 14.7 mg/mL × h) increased linearly with dose. The median HSP90, HSP70, and integrin-linked kinase levels were 87.5% (n = 14), 124% (n = 20), and 99.5% (n = 20) of baseline. Changes in HSPs and client proteins in tumor biopsies were not consistent between baseline and 24 hours nor did they change in the same direction as those in PBMCs collected at the time of biopsy.
The recommended phase II doses of 17DMAG (16 mg/m2 × 5 days or 25 mg/m2 × 3 days, every 3 weeks) are well tolerated and suitable for further evaluation.
PMCID: PMC2849772  PMID: 20177028
4.  Phase II and pharmacokinetic trial of rebeccamycin analog in advanced biliary cancers 
Advanced cancers of the bile duct and gallbladder carry an ominous prognosis. Rebeccamycin analogue (RA) is a novel antitumor antibiotic where phase I trials suggested clinical efficacy in patients with biliary cancers.
The primary objective was to determine the response rate to RA in patients with advanced gallbladder and bile duct tumors. Secondary endpoints were survival and pharmacokinetic characterization. RA was given at a dose 165 mg/(m2 day) × 5 days every 3 weeks.
Forty-six patients were enrolled. Nine patients were removed from study before their first planned imaging study for response. Two patients had partial responses and 16 had stable disease. On an intent-to-treat analysis the median survival was 6.3 months. A >20% drop in CA 19.9 was seen in 43% of patients with initial high levels. Grade 4 neutropenia and thrombocytopenia were seen in 35 and 5% of patients, respectively. Febrile neutropenia occurred in 16% of patients. The pharmacokinetic profile of this trial closely resembles those of prior phase I trials. Measured biliary concentrations of RA were as much as 100× greater than simultaneous plasma concentration.
Although RA has a response rate of 5% in advanced biliary cancers, it is associated with significant numbers of patients experiencing prolonged stable disease. Biliary concentrations of RA are significantly greater than plasma concentrations.
PMCID: PMC4220168  PMID: 19399502
Biliary cancer; Gallbladder cancer; Phase II trial
5.  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
6.  First-in-human phase 1/2a trial of CRLX101, a cyclodextrin-containing polymer-camptothecin nanopharmaceutical in patients with advanced solid tumor malignancies 
Investigational new drugs  2013;31(4):986-1000.
Patients with advanced solid malignancies were enrolled to an open-label, single-arm, dose-escalation study, in which CRLX101 was administered intravenously over 60 min among two dosing schedules, initially weekly at 6, 12, and 18 mg/m2 and later bi-weekly at 12, 15, and 18 mg/m2. The maximum tolerated dose (MTD) was determined at 15 mg/m2 bi-weekly, and an expansion phase 2a study was completed. Patient samples were obtained for pharmacokinetic (PK) and pharmacodynamic (PD) assessments. Response was evaluated per RECIST criteria v1.0 every 8 weeks. Sixty-two patients (31 male; median age 63 years, range 39-79) received treatment. Bi-weekly dosing was generally well tolerated with myelosuppression being the dose-limiting toxicity. Among all phase 1/2a patients receiving the MTD (n=44), most common grade 3/4 adverse events were neutropenia and fatigue. Evidence of systemic plasma exposure to both the polymer-conjugated and unconjugated CPT was observed in all treated patients. Mean elimination unconjugated CPT Tmax values ranged from 17.7 to 24.5 h, and maximum plasma concentrations and areas under the curve were generally proportional to dose for both polymer-conjugated and unconjugated CPT. Best overall response was stable disease in 28 patients (64 %) treated at the MTD and 16 (73 %) of a subset of NSCLC patients. Median progression-free survival (PFS) for patients treated at the MTD was 3.7 months and for the subset of NSCLC patients was 4.4 months. These combined phase 1/2a data demonstrate encouraging safety, pharmacokinetic, and efficacy results. Multinational phase 2 clinical development of CRLX101 across multiple tumor types is ongoing.
PMCID: PMC3774600  PMID: 23397498
Nanopharmaceutical; Polymer conjugate camptothecin; Phase 1/2a; Solid tumor
7.  A Multicenter, Phase I, Dose-Escalation Study to Assess the Safety, Tolerability, and Pharmacokinetics of Etirinotecan Pegol in Patients with Refractory Solid Tumors 
This study was designed to establish the maximum tolerated dose (MTD) and to evaluate tolerability, pharmacokinetics, and antitumor activity of etirinotecan pegol.
Experimental Design
Patients with refractory solid malignancies were enrolled and assigned to escalating-dose cohorts. Patients received 1 infusion of etirinotecan pegol weekly 3 times every 4 weeks (w × 3q4w), or every 14 days (q14d), or every 21 days (q21d), with MTD as the primary end point using a standard 3 + 3 design.
Seventy-six patients were entered onto 3 dosing schedules (58–245 mg/m2). The MTD was 115 mg/m2 for the w × 3q4w schedule and 145 mg/m2 for both the q14d and q21d schedules. Most adverse events related to study drug were gastrointestinal disorders and were more frequent at higher doses of etirinotecan pegol. Late onset diarrhea was observed in some patients, the frequency of which generally correlated with dose density. Cholinergic diarrhea commonly seen with irinotecan treatment did not occur in patients treated with etirinotecan pegol. Etirinotecan pegol administration resulted in sustained and controlled systemic exposure to SN-38, which had a mean half-life of approximately 50 days. Overall, the pharmacokinetics of etirinotecan pegol are predictable and do not require complex dosing adjustments. Confirmed partial responses were observed in 8 patients with breast, colon, lung (small and squamous cell), bladder, cervical, and neuroendocrine cancer.
Etirinotecan pegol showed substantial antitumor activity in patients with various solid tumors and a somewhat different safety profile compared with the irinotecan historical profile. The MTD recommended for phase II clinical trials is 145 mg/m2 q14d or q21d.
PMCID: PMC4104496  PMID: 23136196
8.  Unusual Relapse of Primary Central Nervous System Lymphoma at Site of Lumbar Puncture 
Case Reports in Hematology  2014;2014:161952.
Primary CNS lymphoma (PCNSL) is a rare non-Hodgkin's lymphoma confined to the CNS. Local relapse of this disease is common, but extracranial or subcutaneous metastasis is rare with only a few cases being reported in literature. We report a 63-year-old male patient, who responded well to treatment for PCNSL but relapsed two and half years later with a lumbosacral nodule at the site of a previous lumbar puncture due to microscopic tumor seeding. Clinicians treating patients with PCNSL must remain alert to the possibility of extracranial solitary relapse even after the resolution of initial disease because prompt treatment can result in a good outcome.
PMCID: PMC4100395  PMID: 25093130
9.  Whole genome sequencing reveals potential targets for therapy in patients with refractory KRAS mutated metastatic colorectal cancer 
BMC Medical Genomics  2014;7:36.
The outcome of patients with metastatic colorectal carcinoma (mCRC) following first line therapy is poor, with median survival of less than one year. The purpose of this study was to identify candidate therapeutically targetable somatic events in mCRC patient samples by whole genome sequencing (WGS), so as to obtain targeted treatment strategies for individual patients.
Four patients were recruited, all of whom had received > 2 prior therapy regimens. Percutaneous needle biopsies of metastases were performed with whole blood collection for the extraction of constitutional DNA. One tumor was not included in this study as the quality of tumor tissue was not sufficient for further analysis. WGS was performed using Illumina paired end chemistry on HiSeq2000 sequencing systems, which yielded coverage of greater than 30X for all samples. NGS data were processed and analyzed to detect somatic genomic alterations including point mutations, indels, copy number alterations, translocations and rearrangements.
All 3 tumor samples had KRAS mutations, while 2 tumors contained mutations in the APC gene and the PIK3CA gene. Although we did not identify a TCF7L2-VTI1A translocation, we did detect a TCF7L2 mutation in one tumor. Among the other interesting mutated genes was INPPL1, an important gene involved in PI3 kinase signaling. Functional studies demonstrated that inhibition of INPPL1 reduced growth of CRC cells, suggesting that INPPL1 may promote growth in CRC.
Our study further supports potential molecularly defined therapeutic contexts that might provide insights into treatment strategies for refractory mCRC. New insights into the role of INPPL1 in colon tumor cell growth have also been identified. Continued development of appropriate targeted agents towards specific events may be warranted to help improve outcomes in CRC.
PMCID: PMC4074842  PMID: 24943349
Metastatic colorectal cancer; Whole genome sequencing; KRAS mutations
10.  Novel LHRH-receptor-targeted cytolytic peptide, EP-100: first-in-human phase I study in patients with advanced LHRH-receptor-expressing solid tumors 
To conduct a phase I study determining the safety, pharmacokinetics and preliminary efficacy of EP-100, a novel anticancer drug consisting of natural luteinizing-hormone-releasing hormone (LHRH) ligand linked to a cationic membrane-disrupting peptide.
Patients with advanced, solid tumors, positive for LHRH receptor by immunohistochemistry (IHC), received EP-100 weekly or twice weekly for 3 of 4 weeks in a 28 day cycle. A modified Fibonacci 3 + 3 dose-escalation schema was used. Initial cohorts received EP-100 once weekly (cohorts 1–7, 0.6–7.8 mg/m2, n = 21). Later cohorts received doses twice weekly (cohorts 7–11, 7.8–40 mg/m2, n = 16).
LHRH-receptor expression was confirmed by IHC in 52 of 89 consented patients; 37 patients received at least 1 dose. Cohorts receiving doses of 5.2 mg/m2 and above achieved therapeutic levels from in vitro studies Clearance was rapid (mean half-life 7.1 ± 3.8 to 15.9 ± 3.6 min). The maximum-tolerated dose was not reached at the highest dose evaluated (40 mg/m2 twice weekly). Grade 2 increase in alanine aminotransferase/serum aspartate aminotransferase in one patient resolved, did not recur upon re-treatment, and was not observed in other patients. The only drug-related adverse event was transient infusion-related dermatologic reactions (10 patients). No complete or partial tumor responses were observed; seven patients had stable disease of 16 weeks.
EP-100 was well tolerated in patients with advanced, LHRH-receptor-expressing solid tumors. The recommended phase 2 dose is 40 mg/m2 twice weekly for 3 of 4 weeks per cycle.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1007/s00280-014-2424-x) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
PMCID: PMC4000412  PMID: 24610297
LHRH receptor; EP-100; Cytolytic peptide; Cytolytic peptide conjugate; Advanced/metastatic solid tumors
11.  STAG2 is a clinically relevant tumor suppressor in pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma 
Genome Medicine  2014;6(1):9.
Pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDA) is a highly lethal cancer characterized by complex aberrant genomes. A fundamental goal of current studies is to identify those somatic events arising in the variable landscape of PDA genomes that can be exploited for improved clinical outcomes.
We used DNA content flow sorting to identify and purify tumor nuclei of PDA samples from 50 patients. The genome of each sorted sample was profiled by oligonucleotide comparative genomic hybridization and targeted resequencing of STAG2. Transposon insertions within STAG2 in a KRASG12D-driven genetically engineered mouse model of PDA were screened by RT-PCR. We then used a tissue microarray to survey STAG2 protein expression levels in 344 human PDA tumor samples and adjacent tissues. Univariate Kaplan Meier analysis and multivariate Cox Regression analysis were used to assess the association of STAG2 expression relative to overall survival and response to adjuvant therapy. Finally, RNAi-based assays with PDA cell lines were used to assess the potential therapeutic consequence of STAG2 expression in response to 18 therapeutic agents.
STAG2 is targeted by somatic aberrations in a subset (4%) of human PDAs. Transposon-mediated disruption of STAG2 in a KRASG12D genetically engineered mouse model promotes the development of PDA and its progression to metastatic disease. There was a statistically significant loss of STAG2 protein expression in human tumor tissue (Wilcoxon-Rank test) with complete absence of STAG2 staining observed in 15 (4.3%) patients. In univariate Kaplan Meier analysis nearly complete STAG2 positive staining (>95% of nuclei positive) was associated with a median survival benefit of 6.41 months (P = 0.031). The survival benefit of adjuvant chemotherapy was only seen in patients with a STAG2 staining of less than 95% (median survival benefit 7.65 months; P = 0.028). Multivariate Cox Regression analysis showed that STAG2 is an independent prognostic factor for survival in pancreatic cancer patients. Finally, we show that RNAi-mediated knockdown of STAG2 selectively sensitizes human PDA cell lines to platinum-based therapy.
Based on these iterative findings we propose that STAG2 is a clinically significant tumor suppressor in PDA.
PMCID: PMC3971348  PMID: 24484537
12.  Integrated Genomic and Epigenomic Analysis of Breast Cancer Brain Metastasis 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(1):e85448.
The brain is a common site of metastatic disease in patients with breast cancer, which has few therapeutic options and dismal outcomes. The purpose of our study was to identify common and rare events that underlie breast cancer brain metastasis. We performed deep genomic profiling, which integrated gene copy number, gene expression and DNA methylation datasets on a collection of breast brain metastases. We identified frequent large chromosomal gains in 1q, 5p, 8q, 11q, and 20q and frequent broad-level deletions involving 8p, 17p, 21p and Xq. Frequently amplified and overexpressed genes included ATAD2, BRAF, DERL1, DNMTRB and NEK2A. The ATM, CRYAB and HSPB2 genes were commonly deleted and underexpressed. Knowledge mining revealed enrichment in cell cycle and G2/M transition pathways, which contained AURKA, AURKB and FOXM1. Using the PAM50 breast cancer intrinsic classifier, Luminal B, Her2+/ER negative, and basal-like tumors were identified as the most commonly represented breast cancer subtypes in our brain metastasis cohort. While overall methylation levels were increased in breast cancer brain metastasis, basal-like brain metastases were associated with significantly lower levels of methylation. Integrating DNA methylation data with gene expression revealed defects in cell migration and adhesion due to hypermethylation and downregulation of PENK, EDN3, and ITGAM. Hypomethylation and upregulation of KRT8 likely affects adhesion and permeability. Genomic and epigenomic profiling of breast brain metastasis has provided insight into the somatic events underlying this disease, which have potential in forming the basis of future therapeutic strategies.
PMCID: PMC3906004  PMID: 24489661
13.  Meta-analysis of inter-patient pharmacokinetic variability of liposomal and non-liposomal anticancer agents 
Nanomedicine : nanotechnology, biology, and medicine  2013;10(1):10.1016/j.nano.2013.07.005.
A meta-analysis was conducted to evaluate the inter-patient pharmacokinetic (PK) variability of liposomal and small molecule (SM) anticancer agents.
Inter-patient PK variability of 9 liposomal and SM formulations of the same drug were evaluated. PK variability was measured as coefficient of variance (CV%) of area under the plasma concentration versus time curve (AUC) and the fold-difference between AUCmax and AUCmin (AUC range).
CV% of AUC and AUC ranges were 2.7-fold (P<0.001) and 16.7-fold (P=0.13) greater, respectively, for liposomal compared with SM drugs. There was an inverse linear relationship between the clearance (CL) of liposomal agents and PK variability with a lower CL associated with greater PK variability (R2 = 0.39). PK variability of liposomal agents was greater when evaluated from 0–336 h compared with 0–24 h.
PK variability of liposomes is significantly greater than SM. The factors associated with the PK variability of liposomal agents needs to be evaluated.
PMCID: PMC3877184  PMID: 23891988
CKD-602; S-CKD602; pharmacokinetic; variability; sampling schema; liposomes
14.  Pharmacokinetics and Safety of Bortezomib in Patients with Advanced Malignancies and Varying Degrees of Liver Dysfunction: Phase 1 NCI Organ Dysfunction Working Group Study NCI-6432 
The proteasome inhibitor bortezomib undergoes oxidative hepatic metabolism. This study (NCI-6432; NCT00091117) was conducted to evaluate bortezomib pharmacokinetics and safety in patients with varying degrees of hepatic impairment, to inform dosing recommendations in these special populations.
Patients received bortezomib on days 1, 4, 8, and 11 of 21-day cycles. Patients were assigned to four hepatic function groups based on the National Cancer Institute Organ Dysfunction Working Group classification. Those with normal function received bortezomib at the 1.3 mg/m2 standard dose. Patients with severe, moderate, and mild impairment received escalating doses from 0.5, 0.7, and 1.0 mg/m2, respectively, up to a 1.3 mg/m2 maximum. Serial blood samples were collected for 24 hours post-dose on days 1 and 8, cycle 1, for bortezomib plasma concentration measurements.
Sixty-one patients were treated, including 14 with normal hepatic function and 17, 12, and 18 with mild, moderate, and severe impairment, respectively. Mild hepatic impairment did not alter dose-normalized bortezomib exposure (AUC0-tlast) or Cmax compared with patients with normal function. Mean dose-normalized AUC0-tlast was increased by approximately 60% on day 8 in patients with moderate or severe impairment.
Patients with mild hepatic impairment do not require a starting dose adjustment of bortezomib. Patients with moderate or severe hepatic impairment should be started at a reduced dose of 0.7 mg/m2.
PMCID: PMC3834726  PMID: 22394984
Bortezomib; hepatic impairment; pharmacokinetics; cytochrome P450 enzymes; metabolism
15.  Phase I dose-escalation study to examine the safety and tolerability of LY2603618, a checkpoint 1 kinase inhibitor, administered 1 day after pemetrexed 500 mg/m2 every 21 days in patients with cancer 
Investigational new drugs  2012;31(1):136-144.
This phase I study aims at assessing the safety and tolerability of LY2603618, a selective inhibitor of Checkpoint Kinase 1, in combination with pemetrexed and determining the maximum tolerable dose and the pharmacokinetic parameters.
Experimental design
This was an open-label, multicenter, dose-escalation study in patients with advanced solid tumors. Increasing doses of LY2603618 (40–195 mg/m2) were combined with 500 mg/m2 of pemetrexed. LY2603618 was administered on Days 1 and 9 and pemetrexed on Day 8 in a 28-day cycle. For all subsequent 21-day cycles, pemetrexed was administered on Day 1 and LY2603618 on Day 2. Anti-tumor activity was evaluated as per Response Evaluation Criteria in Solid Tumors 1.0.
A total of 31 patients were enrolled into six cohorts (three at 40 mg/m2 over 4.5-hour infusion, 1-hour infusion in subsequent cohorts: three each at 40 mg/m2, 70 mg/m2, and 195 mg/m2; 13 at 105 mg/m2; six at 150 mg/m2). Four patients experienced a dose-limiting toxicity: diarrhea (105 mg/m2); reversible infusion-related reaction (150 mg/m2); thrombocytopenia (195 mg/m2); and fatigue (195 mg/m2). The maximum tolerated dose was defined as 150 mg/m2. The pharmacokinetic data demonstrated that the exposure of LY2603618 increased in a dose-dependent manner, displayed a suitable half-life for maintaining required human exposures while minimizing the intra- and inter-cycle accumulation, and was unaffected by the pemetrexed administration. The pharmacokinetic-defined biologically efficacious dose was achieved at doses ≥105 mg/m2.
LY2603618 administered approximately 24 h after pemetrexed showed acceptable safety and pharmacokinetic profiles.
PMCID: PMC3715080  PMID: 22492020
LY2603618; Pemetrexed; Checkpoint kinase; inhibitor; Cancer
16.  A phase I study of liposomal-encapsulated docetaxel (LE-DT) in patients with advanced solid tumor malignancies 
Docetaxel is a taxane anticancer drug used in a wide variety of solid tumors. Liposomes are versatile drug carriers that may increase drug solubility, serve as sustained release systems, provide protection from drug degradation and toxicities, and help overcome multidrug resistance. This phase I study was conducted to determine the maximum tolerated dose, dose-limiting toxicities (DLTs), pharmacokinetics (PK), and clinical response of liposomal-encapsulated docetaxel (LE-DT) in patients with advanced solid tumor malignancies.
LE-DT was administered using a standard 3 + 3 dose escalation schema with dose levels of 50, 65, 85, 110, and 132 mg/m2 IV on a 3-week cycle. Toxicities were assessed using the NCI-CTCAE version 3.0, and response was assessed using RECIST criteria (version 1.0). PK samples were drawn during cycle 1 and analyzed using a non-compartmental analysis.
Twenty-four patients were treated for 1–30 cycles (median = 4). No DLTs were experienced through dose levels of 50, 65, 85, and 110 mg/m2. Two out of two patients experienced grade 4 neutropenia at the 132 mg/m2 dose level. When an additional three patients were treated at the expanded 110 mg/m2 dose level, two experienced grade 4 neutropenia. The 85 mg/m2 dose level was reassessed with an expanded group of three additional patients, and only one of three patients experienced grade 4 neutropenia. The protocol was amended to allow G-CSF during cycle 1, and an additional three patients were treated at 110 mg/m2 with no DLTs experienced. No patient experienced significant neuropathy, even patients treated for 19, 20, and 30 cycles. PK followed a two-compartment elimination pattern; there was no correlation between PK and toxicity. Two patients with thyroid and neuroendocrine cancer had partial responses (PR, 8 %), and one patient with non-small-cell lung cancer had an unconfirmed PR. Eight patients (33 %) had stable disease lasting more than 3 months, for a clinical benefit rate of 41 %.
LE-DT was well tolerated with expected toxicities of neutropenia, anemia, and fatigue, but without neuropathy or edema. Clinical benefit (SD + PR) was observed in 41 % of the patients. The recommended phase II dose of LE-DT is 85 mg/m2 without G-CSF or 110 mg/m2 with G-CSF.
PMCID: PMC3703246  PMID: 23274395
Phase I; Liposomes; Docetaxel; Clinical trial
17.  Phase I study of the safety, tolerability and pharmacokinetics of PHA-848125AC, a dual tropomyosin receptor kinase A and cyclin-dependent kinase inhibitor, in patients with advanced solid malignancies 
Investigational new drugs  2011;30(6):2334-2343.
This phase I trial assessed the safety, maximally tolerated dose (MTD) and pharmacokinetics of TRKA/CDK inhibitor PHA-848125AC in adult patients with advanced/metastatic solid tumors.
Patients and methods
Patients with relapsed or refractory solid tumors, for which no standard therapy existed, were eligible. PHA-848125AC was administered orally in two schedules: daily for 7 consecutive days in 2-week cycles (i.e. 7 days on/7 days off q2wks; S1) or daily for 4 consecutive days a week for 3 weeks in 4-week cycles (i.e. 4 days on/3 days off × 3wks q4wks; S2).
Thirty-seven patients were treated in this study, 22 in S1 and 15 in S2. The recommended phase II dose (RP2D) was 150 mg/day for either schedule. The dose-limiting toxicities (DLTs) in S1 included ataxia (Grade 2–4) and tremors (Grade 2–3). In S2, DLTs included tremors (Grade 2–3), elevated lipase (Grade 3), increased creatinine (Grade 2), and nausea and vomiting (Grade 3). These events were all reversible. In S2, out of 14 patients evaluable for efficacy, 2 patients with thymic carcinoma, showed partial response and stable disease was observed in 3 patients. Stable disease was observed in 6 out 14 patients evaluable for efficacy on S1. Drug pharmacokinetics demonstrated a half-life of approximately 33 h, and dose-proportionality with accumulation by a factor of 3 after repeated administrations.
The RP2D of PHA-848125AC was 150 mg/day on both schedules. Based on the responses noted in thymic carcinoma, a phase II study for patients with that disease is currently enrolling.
PMCID: PMC3561458  PMID: 22160853
Tropomyosin receptor kinase A; Cyclin-dependent kinase; PHA-848125AC; Phase I clinical trial; Investigational agent
18.  Clonal Evolution and Therapeutic Resistance in Solid Tumors 
Tumors frequently arise as a result of an acquired genomic instability and the subsequent evolution of neoplastic populations with variable genomes. A barrier to the study of the somatic genetics of human solid tumors in vivo is the presence of admixtures of non-neoplastic cells with normal genomes in patient samples. These can obscure the presence of somatic aberrations including mutations, homozygous deletions, and breakpoints in biopsies of interest. Furthermore, clinical samples frequently contain multiple neoplastic populations that cannot be distinguished by morphology. Consequently, it is difficult to determine whether mutations detected in a sample of interest are concurrent in a single clonal population or if they occur in distinct cell populations in the same sample. The advent of targeted therapies increases the selection for preexisting populations. However the asymmetric distribution of therapeutic targets in clonal populations provides a mechanism for the rapid evolution of resistant disease. Thus, there is a need to not only isolate tumor from normal cells, but to also enrich distinct populations of clonal neoplastic cells in order to apply genome technologies to identify clinically relevant genomic aberrations that drive disease in patients in vivo. To address this we have applied single and multiparameter DNA content based flow assays to the study of solid tumors. Our work has identified examples of clonal resistance to effective therapies. This includes androgen withdrawal in advanced prostate cancer. In addition we demonstrate examples of co-existing clonal populations with highly aberrant genomes and ploidies in a wide variety of solid tumors. We propose that clonal analysis of tumors, based on flow cytometry and high resolution genome analyses of purified neoplastic populations, provides a unique approach to the study of therapeutic responses and the evolution of resistance.
PMCID: PMC3556559  PMID: 23372550
solid tumors; flow cytometry; clonal evolution; aCGH; next generation sequencing
19.  Dose-Escalating and Pharmacological Study of Bortezomib in Adult Cancer Patients With Impaired Renal Function: A National Cancer Institute Organ Dysfunction Working Group Study 
Cancer chemotherapy and pharmacology  2011;68(6):1439-1447.
To determine the toxicities, pharmacokinetics, pharmacodynamics, and maximum tolerated dose of bortezomib in patients with renal impairment, and to develop dosing guidelines for such a patient population.
Patients and Methods
Sixty-two adult cancer patients received intravenous bortezomib at 0.7–1.5 mg/m2 on days 1, 4, 8, and 11 every 3 weeks. Patients were stratified by 24-hour creatinine clearance (CrCl) normalized to body surface area (BSA) 1.73 m2 into five cohorts: normal renal function (≥60 mL/min/1.73 m2); mild dysfunction (40–59 mL/min/1.73 m2); moderate dysfunction (20–39 mL/min/1.73 m2); severe dysfunction (<20 mL/min/1.73 m2); and dialysis. Dose escalation was planned for the four cohorts with renal dysfunction. Plasma bortezomib concentrations and blood 20S proteasome inhibition were assayed.
Bortezomib escalation to the standard 1.3 mg/m2 dose was well tolerated in all patients with CrCl ≥20 mL/min/1.73 m2; 0.7 mg/m2 was tolerated in three patients with severe renal dysfunction (<20 mL/min/1.73 m2). Bortezomib dose escalation was well tolerated in nine dialysis patients, including to 1.3 mg/m2 in four patients. Decreased CrCl did not affect bortezomib pharmacokinetics or pharmacodynamics. Bortezomib-related side-effects were neither more common nor severe in patients with renal dysfunction versus those with normal renal function.
Bortezomib 1.3 mg/m2 is well tolerated, and dose reductions are not necessary in patients with renal dysfunction. Extrapolation from clinical and pharmacologic data suggests patients with severe renal dysfunction, including dialysis patients, can receive bortezomib at the full dose established to be clinically effective in the general patient population.
PMCID: PMC3481841  PMID: 21479634
20.  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
21.  Mechanism-based model characterizing bidirectional interaction between PEGylated liposomal CKD-602 (S-CKD602) and monocytes in cancer patients 
S-CKD602 is a PEGylated liposomal formulation of CKD-602, a potent topoisomerase I inhibitor. The objective of this study was to characterize the bidirectional pharmacokinetic–pharmacodynamic (PK–PD) interaction between S-CKD602 and monocytes. Plasma concentrations of encapsulated CKD-602 and monocytes counts from 45 patients with solid tumors were collected following intravenous administration of S-CKD602 in the phase I study. The PK–PD models were developed and fit simultaneously to the PK–PD data, using NONMEM®. The monocytopenia after administration of S-CKD602 was described by direct toxicity to monocytes in a mechanism-based model, and by direct toxicity to progenitor cells in bone marrow in a myelosuppression-based model. The nonlinear PK disposition of S-CKD602 was described by linear degradation and irreversible binding to monocytes in the mechanism-based model, and Michaelis–Menten kinetics in the myelosuppression-based model. The mechanism-based PK–PD model characterized the nonlinear PK disposition, and the bidirectional PK–PD interaction between S-CKD602 and monocytes.
PMCID: PMC3480239  PMID: 23112576
population pharmacokinetics; pharmacodynamics; PEGylated liposome; nonlinear kinetics
22.  Genome-Wide Characterization of Pancreatic Adenocarcinoma Patients Using Next Generation Sequencing 
PLoS ONE  2012;7(10):e43192.
Pancreatic adenocarcinoma (PAC) is among the most lethal malignancies. While research has implicated multiple genes in disease pathogenesis, identification of therapeutic leads has been difficult and the majority of currently available therapies provide only marginal benefit. To address this issue, our goal was to genomically characterize individual PAC patients to understand the range of aberrations that are occurring in each tumor. Because our understanding of PAC tumorigenesis is limited, evaluation of separate cases may reveal aberrations, that are less common but may provide relevant information on the disease, or that may represent viable therapeutic targets for the patient. We used next generation sequencing to assess global somatic events across 3 PAC patients to characterize each patient and to identify potential targets. This study is the first to report whole genome sequencing (WGS) findings in paired tumor/normal samples collected from 3 separate PAC patients. We generated on average 132 billion mappable bases across all patients using WGS, and identified 142 somatic coding events including point mutations, insertion/deletions, and chromosomal copy number variants. We did not identify any significant somatic translocation events. We also performed RNA sequencing on 2 of these patients' tumors for which tumor RNA was available to evaluate expression changes that may be associated with somatic events, and generated over 100 million mapped reads for each patient. We further performed pathway analysis of all sequencing data to identify processes that may be the most heavily impacted from somatic and expression alterations. As expected, the KRAS signaling pathway was the most heavily impacted pathway (P<0.05), along with tumor-stroma interactions and tumor suppressive pathways. While sequencing of more patients is needed, the high resolution genomic and transcriptomic information we have acquired here provides valuable information on the molecular composition of PAC and helps to establish a foundation for improved therapeutic selection.
PMCID: PMC3468610  PMID: 23071490
23.  Phase I and Pharmacokinetic Study of Pegylated Liposomal CKD-602 (S-CKD602) in Patients with Advanced Malignancies 
S-CKD602 is a pegylated liposomal formulation of CKD-602, a semi-synthetic camptothecin analogue. Pegylated (STEALTH®) liposomes can achieve extended drug exposure in plasma and tumor. Based on promising preclinical data, the first phase I study of S-CKD602 was performed in patients (pts) with refractory solid tumors.
Experimental Design
S-CKD602 was administered IV every 3 weeks. Modified Fibonacci escalation was used (3–6 pts/cohort), and dose levels ranged from 0.1 to 2.5 mg/m2. Serial plasma samples were obtained over two weeks and total (lactone + hydroxyl acid) concentrations of encapsulated, released, and sum total (encapsulated + released) CKD602 measured by LC-MS/MS.
45 pts (21 male) were treated: median age 62 years (range: 33–79 years); ECOG status: 0 to 1 (43 pts) and 2 (2 pts). Dose-limiting toxicities of grade 3 mucositis occurred in 1/6 pts at 0.3 mg/m2, grade 3/4 bone marrow suppression in 2/3 pts at 2.5 mg/m2, and grade 3 febrile neutropenia and anemia in 1/6 pts at 2.1 mg/m2. The maximum tolerated dose was 2.1 mg/m2. Partial responses occurred in 2 pts with refractory ovarian cancer (1.7 and 2.1 mg/m2). High inter-patient variability occurred in the pharmacokinetic disposition of encapsulated and released CKD-602.
S-CKD602 represents a promising new liposomal camptothecin analogue with manageable toxicity and promising antitumor activity. Phase II studies of S-CKD602 at 2.1 mg/m2 IV once every 3 weeks are planned. Prolonged plasma exposure over 1 to 2 wks is consistent with STEALTH® liposomes and provides extended exposure compared with single doses of non-liposomal camptothecins.
PMCID: PMC3428134  PMID: 19190127
24.  Population pharmacokinetic analysis of 17-dimethylaminoethylamino-17-demethoxygeldanamycin (17-DMAG) in adult patients with solid tumors 
To identify sources of exposure variability for the tumor growth inhibitor 17-dimethylaminoethylamino-17-demethoxygeldanamycin (17-DMAG) using a population pharmacokinetic analysis.
A total 67 solid tumor patients at 2 centers were given 1 h infusions of 17-DMAG either as a single dose, daily for 3 days, or daily for 5 days. Blood samples were extensively collected and 17-DMAG plasma concentrations were measured by liquid chromatography/mass spectrometry. Population pharmacokinetic analysis of the 17-DMAG plasma concentration with time was performed using nonlinear mixed effect modeling to evaluate the effects of covariates, inter-individual variability, and between-occasion variability on model parameters using a stepwise forward addition then backward elimination modeling approach. The inter-individual exposure variability and the effects of between-occasion variability on exposure were assessed by simulating the 95 % prediction interval of the AUC per dose, AUC0–24 h, using the final model and a model with no between-occasion variability, respectively, subject to the five day 17-DMAG infusion protocol with administrations of the median observed dose.
A 3-compartment model with first order elimination (ADVAN11, TRANS4) and a proportional residual error, exponentiated inter-individual variability and between occasion variability on Q2 and V1 best described the 17-DMAG concentration data. No covariates were statistically significant. The simulated 95% prediction interval of the AUC0–24 h for the median dose of 36 mg/m2 was 1,059–9,007 mg/L h and the simulated 95 % prediction interval of the AUC0–24 h considering the impact of between-occasion variability alone was 2,910–4,077 mg/L h.
Population pharmacokinetic analysis of 17-DMAG found no significant covariate effects and considerable inter-individual variability; this implies a wide range of exposures in the population and which may affect treatment outcome. Patients treated with 17-DMAG may require therapeutic drug monitoring which could help achieve more uniform exposure leading to safer and more effective therapy.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1007/s00280-012-1859-1) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
PMCID: PMC3383947  PMID: 22450873
17-dimethylaminoethylamino-17-demethoxygeldanamycin (17-DMAG); 3-compartment model; Heat shock protein-90; Objective function values
25.  The Impact of Concomitant Medication Use on Patient Eligibility for Phase I Cancer Clinical Trials 
Journal of Cancer  2012;3:345-353.
Concomitant medication (CM) use may result in Phase I cancer clinical trial ineligibility due to concern for potential CM-investigational drug interactions or alteration of investigational drug absorption. Few studies have examined the impact of CM use on trial eligibility. Methods: We reviewed records of 274 patients on Phase I trials at a single academic institution. Demographics, CM identities and classes, CM discontinuation, reasons, and incidence of CM substitution were recorded. CM-investigational drug cytochrome P450 (CYP) enzyme interactions were documented. Statistical analysis was performed using descriptive statistics. Results: 273 of 274 patients (99.6%, 95% confidence interval [CI] 98.9-100%) took CM, with a median of 8 CM per patient (range 0 - 42). CM discontinuation occurred in 67 cases (25%, 95% CI 19-30%). The most common CM classes discontinued were herbal (17 cases, 25%, 95% CI 16-37%) and proton pump inhibitors (15 cases, 22%, 95% CI 12-32%). CM discontinuation reasons were: protocol prohibition (32 cases, 48%, 95% CI 36-60%); potential CM-investigational drug interaction (25 cases, 37%, 95% CI 26-49%); other (10 cases, 15%, 95% CI 6-23%). A potential CM-investigational drug CYP interaction was noted in 122 cases (45%, 95% CI 39-50%). CM potentially weakly decreased investigational drug metabolism in 52 cases (43%, 95% CI 34-51%), and potentially strongly decreased investigational drug metabolism in 17 cases (14%, 95% CI 8-20%). Investigational drug potentially weakly decreased CM metabolism in 39 cases (32%, 95% CI 24-40%), and potentially strongly decreased CM metabolism in 28 cases (23%, 95% CI 15-30%). CM substitution occurred in 36/67 cases (54%, 95% CI 41-66%) where CM were discontinued to allow for eventual participation in clinical trials. Overall in 2 cases (0.7%, 95% CI 0.1-2.6%), patients were protocol ineligible because CM could not be discontinued or substituted. Conclusions: This study highlights the high prevalence of concomitant medication use among cancer patients enrolled in phase I clinical trials. Most patients did meet trial eligibility criteria with careful substitution and discontinuation of CM. The most common reason for discontinuation of CM was protocol prohibition. The most common medications discontinued were herbal, proton pump inhibitors, selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor anti-depressants, and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs.
PMCID: PMC3434362  PMID: 22962561
Concomitant; Medications; Cancer; Clinical Trials; Eligibility; Drug Interactions.

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