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1.  Phase I Pharmacokinetic and Pharmacodynamic Study of the Oral, Small-Molecule Mitogen-Activated Protein Kinase Kinase 1/2 Inhibitor AZD6244 (ARRY-142886) in Patients With Advanced Cancers 
To assess the tolerability, pharmacokinetics (PKs), and pharmacodynamics (PDs) of the mitogen-activated protein kinase kinase (MEK) 1/2 inhibitor AZD6244 (ARRY-142886) in patients with advanced cancer.
Patients and Methods
In part A, patients received escalating doses to determine the maximum-tolerated dose (MTD). In both parts, blood samples were collected to assess PK and PD parameters. In part B, patients were stratified by cancer type (melanoma v other) and randomly assigned to receive the MTD or 50% MTD. Biopsies were collected to determine inhibition of ERK phosphorylation, Ki-67 expression, and BRAF, KRAS, and NRAS mutations.
Fifty-seven patients were enrolled. MTD in part A was 200 mg bid, but this dose was discontinued in part B because of toxicity. The 50% MTD (100 mg bid) was well tolerated. Rash was the most frequent and dose-limiting toxicity. Most other adverse events were grade 1 or 2. The PKs were less than dose proportional, with a median half-life of approximately 8 hours and inhibition of ERK phosphorylation in peripheral-blood mononuclear cells at all dose levels. Paired tumor biopsies demonstrated reduced ERK phosphorylation (geometric mean, 79%). Five of 20 patients demonstrated ≥ 50% inhibition of Ki-67 expression, and RAF or RAS mutations were detected in 10 of 26 assessable tumor samples. Nine patients had stable disease (SD) for ≥ 5 months, including two patients with SD for 19 (thyroid cancer) and 22 (uveal melanoma plus renal cancer) 28-day cycles.
AZD6244 was well tolerated with target inhibition demonstrated at the recommended phase II dose. PK analyses supported twice-daily dosing. Prolonged SD was seen in a variety of advanced cancers. Phase II studies are ongoing.
PMCID: PMC2718422  PMID: 18390968
2.  Research Participants' High Expectations of Benefit in Early-Phase Oncology Trials: Are We Asking the Right Question? 
Journal of Clinical Oncology  2012;30(35):4396-4400.
To determine whether patients' expectations of benefit in early-phase oncology trials depend on how patients are queried and to explore whether expectations are associated with patient characteristics.
Patients and Methods
Participants were 171 patients in phase I or II oncology trials in the United States. After providing informed consent for a trial but before receiving the investigational therapy, participants answered questions about expectations of benefit. We randomly assigned participants to one of three groups corresponding to three queries about expectations: frequency type, belief type, or both. Main outcomes were differences in expectations by question type and the extent to which expectations were associated with demographic characteristics, numeracy, dispositional optimism, religiousness/spirituality, understanding of research, and other measures.
The belief-type group had a higher mean expectation of benefit (64.4 of 100) than the combination group (51.6; P = .01) and the frequency-type group (43.1; P < .001). Mean expectations in the combination and frequency groups were not significantly different (P = .06). Belief-type expectations were associated with a preference for nonquantitative information (r = −0.19; 95% CI, −0.19 to −0.36), knowledge about research (r = −0.21; 95% CI, −0.38 to −0.03), dispositional optimism (r = 0.20; 95% CI, 0.01 to 0.37), and spirituality (r = 0.22; 95% CI, 0.03 to 0.38). Frequency-type expectations were associated with knowledge about clinical research (r = −0.27; 95% CI, −0.27 to −0.51).
In early-phase oncology trials, patients' reported expectations of benefit differed according to how patients were queried and were associated with patient characteristics. These findings have implications for how informed consent is obtained and assessed.
PMCID: PMC3615308  PMID: 23091107
3.  A Phase I Dose-Escalation Study of Danusertib (PHA-739358) Administered as a 24-hour Infusion With and Without G-CSF in a 14-day Cycle in Patients with Advanced Solid Tumors 
This study was conducted to assess the safety, tolerability, pharmacokinetics and pharmacodynamics of the intravenous pan-aurora kinase inhibitor PHA-739358, danusertib, in patients with advanced solid tumors.
Experimental Design
In Part 1, patients received escalating doses of danusertib (24-h infusion every 14 days) without filgrastim (G-CSF). Febrile neutropenia was the dose-limiting toxicity without G-CSF. Further dose escalation was performed in part 2 with G-CSF. Blood samples were collected for danusertib pharmacokinetics and pharmacodynamics. Skin biopsies were collected to assess histone H3 phosphorylation (pH3).
Fifty-six patients were treated, 40 in part 1 and 16 in part 2. Febrile neutropenia was the dose limiting toxicity in Part 1 without G-CSF. Most other adverse events were grade 1–2, occurring at doses ≥360 mg/m2 with similar incidence in parts 1 and 2. The MTD without G-CSF is 500 mg/m2. The recommended phase 2 dose (RP2D) in Part 2 with G-CSF is 750 mg/m2. Danusertib demonstrated dose-proportional pharmacokinetics in parts 1 and 2 with a median half-life of 18–26 hours. pH3 modulation in skin biopsies was observed at ≥500 mg/m2. One patient with refractory small cell lung cancer (1000 mg/m2 with G-CSF) had an objective response lasting 23 weeks. One patient with refractory ovarian cancer had 27% tumor regression and 30% CA125 decline.
Danusertib was well tolerated with target inhibition in skin at ≥500 mg/m2. Preliminary evidence of anti-tumor activity, including a PR and several occurrences of prolonged stable disease (SD), was seen across a variety of advanced refractory cancers. Phase II studies are ongoing.
PMCID: PMC2826106  PMID: 19825950
Danusertib; PHA-739358; Aurora Kinase Inhibitor; phase I trial; solid tumors
4.  New agents in the Treatment for Malignancies of the Salivary and Thyroid Glands 
PMCID: PMC2659655  PMID: 19010274
malignant salivary gland tumors; thyroid cancer; tyrosine kinase inhibitors
5.  A Web-Based Communication Aid for Patients with Cancer: The CONNECT™ Study 
Cancer  2013;119(7):1437-1445.
Cancer patients and their oncologists often report differing perceptions of consultation discussions and discordant expectations regarding treatment outcomes. CONNECT™, a computer-based communication aid, was developed to improve communication between patients and oncologists.
CONNECT includes assessment of patient values, goals, and communication preferences; patient communication skills training; and a pre-consult physician summary report. CONNECT was tested in a three-arm, prospective, randomized clinical trial. Prior to the initial medical oncology consultation, adult patients with advanced cancer were randomized to (a) control; (b) CONNECT with physician summary, or (c) CONNECT without physician summary. Outcomes were assessed with post-consultation surveys.
Of 743 patients randomized, 629 completed post-consultation surveys. Patients in the intervention arms (versus control) felt that the CONNECT program made treatment decisions easier to reach (p=0.003) and helped them to be more satisfied with these decisions (p<0.001). In addition, patients in the intervention arms reported higher levels of satisfaction with physician communication format (p=0.026) and discussion regarding support services (p=0.029) and quality of life concerns (p=0.042). The physician summary did not impact outcomes. Patients with higher levels of education and poorer physical functioning experienced greater benefit from CONNECT.
This prospective randomized clinical trial demonstrates that computer-based communication skills training can positively affect patient satisfaction with communication and decision making. Measureable patient characteristics may be used to identify subgroups most likely to benefit from an intervention such as CONNECT.
PMCID: PMC3604078  PMID: 23335150
Cancer communication; health communication; physician-patient communication; decision making; computer assisted; cancer
6.  A phase 1, open-label, dose-escalation study of BIIB022 (anti-IGF-1R monoclonal antibody) in subjects with relapsed or refractory solid tumors 
Investigational New Drugs  2014;32(3):518-525.
Purpose The IGF-1R signaling pathway has been implicated in multiple cancers as important for cell survival, proliferation, invasion and metastasis. BIIB022 is a non-glycosylated human IgG4 monoclonal antibody (mAb) with specificity for IGF-1R. Unlike other anti-IGF1R antibodies, BIIB022 has no effector functions. Additionally, inhibition is via an allosteric rather than competitive mechanism, which further differentiates this antibody from others. We sought to determine the safety and tolerability of BIIB022 and determine the pharmacokinetic (PK) and pharmacodynamic (PD) profile of this antibody. Methods A multi-institutional phase I study evaluated the safety of escalating doses of BIIB022 given IV q3wk until progression or unacceptable toxicity in patients with advanced solid tumors. Five sequential BIIB022 dose cohorts were evaluated using a standard 3 + 3 dose-escalation design (1.5, 5. 10, 20, 30 mg/kg); 10 additional patients were treated at the recommended phase 2 dose. Results 34 patients were treated. Toxicities were manageable and mostly low grade; grade 3–4 hyperglycemia was not observed. No RECIST responses were observed, although three patients had metabolic responses associated with prolonged stable disease. The PK of BIIB022 was nearly linear in the dose range from 10 to 30 mg/kg, with some nonlinearity at lower doses (1.5–5.0 mg/kg), likely due to target-mediated drug disposition of BIIB022 at low serum concentrations. PD analyses showed decrease in IGF-1R levels on leucocytes, with stable serum values of IGF-1 and IGF-2. Conclusions BIIB022 can be safely given at 30 mg/kg IV every 3 weeks with preliminary evidence of biological activity in selected patients.
PMCID: PMC4045341  PMID: 24458261
IGF-1R; Antibody; Phase I; Sarcoma; FDG-PET
7.  A Phase I, open-label, dose escalation study of afatinib, in a 3-week-on/1-week-off schedule in patients with advanced solid tumors 
Investigational New Drugs  2012;31(2):399-408.
Background A Phase I study to determine the maximum tolerated dose (MTD) and pharmacokinetics of afatinib (BIBW 2992), a novel irreversible ErbB Family Blocker, administered orally once daily in a 3-week-on/1-week-off dosing schedule. Methods Patients with advanced solid tumors received single-agent afatinib at 10, 20, 40, 55 or 65 mg/day. Safety, antitumor activity, pharmacokinetics and pharmacodynamic modulation of biomarkers were assessed. Results: Forty-three patients were enrolled. Dose-limiting toxicities (DLTs) occurred in five patients in the dose escalation phase (1/8 at 40 mg/day; 1/6 at 55 mg/day; 3/6 at 65 mg/day). The MTD was established at 55 mg/day. In the expansion cohort at the MTD, 6 patients experienced a DLT in the first 28-day treatment period. The most frequent DLT was diarrhea. The most common adverse events were diarrhea, rash, nausea, vomiting and fatigue. Overall, the afatinib safety profile in a 3-week-on/1-week-off dose schedule was similar to that of our daily-continuous schedule. Afatinib displayed dose-dependent pharmacokinetics at doses up to and including 55 mg/day, with a terminal half-life suitable for once-daily dosing. Signs of clinical antitumor activity were observed. In biopsies taken from clinically normal forearm skin, afatinib caused a reduced proliferation rate, with a concomitant increase in differentiation of epidermal keratinocytes. Conclusion Afatinib in a 3-week-on/1-week-off schedule showed a good safety profile. The MTD was 55 mg/day, although excess DLTs in the expansion cohort indicated that the 40 mg/day dose would have an acceptable safety profile for future studies. Dose cohorts between 40 and 55 mg/day were not examined in this study.
PMCID: PMC3589659  PMID: 23161335
Afatinib; Pharmacokinetics; EGFR; HER2
8.  Impact of neck dissection on long-term feeding tube dependence in head and neck cancer patients treated with primary radiation or chemoradiation 
Head & neck  2010;32(3):341-347.
The impact of post-treatment neck dissection on prolonged feeding tube dependence in head and neck squamous cell cancer (HNSCC) patients treated with primary radiation or chemoradiation remains unknown.
Retrospective cohort study using propensity score adjustment to investigate the effect of neck dissection on prolonged feeding tube dependence.
A review of 67 patients with node positive HNSCC (T1-4N1-3), treated with primary radiation or chemoradiation, with no evidence of tumor recurrence and follow-up of at least 24 months was performed. Following adjustment for covariates, the relative risk of feeding tube dependence at 18 months was significantly increased in patients treated with post-treatment neck dissection (RR 4.74, 95% CI 2.07-10.89). At 24 months, the relative risk of feeding tube dependence in the patients having undergone neck dissection increased further (RR 7.66, 95% CI 2.07-10.89). Of patients with feeding tubes two years after completing treatment, 75% remained feeding tube dependent.
Neck dissection may contribute to chronic oropharyngeal dysphagia in HNSCC patients treated with primary radiation or chemoradiation.
PMCID: PMC3457780  PMID: 19693946
9.  Sunitinib in combination with paclitaxel plus carboplatin in patients with advanced solid tumors: phase I study results 
To evaluate the maximum tolerated dose (MTD), safety, and antitumor activity of sunitinib combined with paclitaxel and carboplatin.
Successive cohorts of patients with advanced solid tumors received oral sunitinib (25, 37.5, or 50 mg) for 2 consecutive weeks of a 3-week cycle (Schedule 2/1) or as a continuous daily dose for 3-week cycles (CDD schedule) in combination with paclitaxel (175–200 mg/m2) plus carboplatin (AUC 6 mg•min/mL) on day 1 of each of 4 cycles. Dose-limiting toxicities (DLTs) and adverse events (AEs) were evaluated to determine the MTD. Efficacy parameters were analyzed in patients with measurable disease.
Forty-three patients were enrolled (n = 25 Schedule 2/1; n = 18 CDD schedule). Across all doses, 6 DLTs were observed (grade 4 papilledema, grade 5 GI hemorrhage, grade 3 neutropenic infection, grade 4 thrombocytopenia [n = 3]). The MTD for Schedule 2/1 was sunitinib 25 mg plus paclitaxel 175 mg/m2 and carboplatin AUC 6 mg•min/mL. The MTD was not determined for the CDD schedule. Treatment-related AEs included neutropenia (77%), thrombocytopenia (56%), and fatigue (47%). Of 38 evaluable patients, 4 (11%) had partial responses and 12 (32%) had stable disease. PK data indicated an increase in maximum and total plasma exposures to sunitinib and its active metabolite when given with paclitaxel and carboplatin compared with sunitinib monotherapy.
Myelosuppression resulting in prolonged dose delays and frequent interruptions was observed, suggesting that this treatment combination is not feasible in the general cancer population.
PMCID: PMC3400085  PMID: 21140147
Sunitinib; Phase I; Solid tumor; NSCLC; Antiangiogenesis; Chemotherapy
10.  Activity of XL184 (Cabozantinib), an Oral Tyrosine Kinase Inhibitor, in Patients With Medullary Thyroid Cancer 
Journal of Clinical Oncology  2011;29(19):2660-2666.
XL184 (cabozantinib) is a potent inhibitor of MET, vascular endothelial growth factor receptor 2 (VEGFR2), and RET, with robust antiangiogenic, antitumor, and anti-invasive effects in preclinical models. Early observations of clinical benefit in a phase I study of cabozantinib, which included patients with medullary thyroid cancer (MTC), led to expansion of an MTC-enriched cohort, which is the focus of this article.
Patients and Methods
A phase I dose-escalation study of oral cabozantinib was conducted in patients with advanced solid tumors. Primary end points included evaluation of safety, pharmacokinetics, and maximum-tolerated dose (MTD) determination. Additional end points included RECIST (Response Evaluation Criteria in Solid Tumors) response, pharmacodynamics, RET mutational status, and biomarker analyses.
Eighty-five patients were enrolled, including 37 with MTC. The MTD was 175 mg daily. Dose-limiting toxicities were grade 3 palmar plantar erythrodysesthesia (PPE), mucositis, and AST, ALT, and lipase elevations and grade 2 mucositis that resulted in dose interruption and reduction. Ten (29%) of 35 patients with MTC with measurable disease had a confirmed partial response. Overall, 18 patients experienced tumor shrinkage of 30% or more, including 17 (49%) of 35 patients with MTC with measurable disease. Additionally, 15 (41%) of 37 patients with MTC had stable disease (SD) for at least 6 months, resulting in SD for 6 months or longer or confirmed partial response in 68% of patients with MTC.
Cabozantinib has an acceptable safety profile and is active in MTC. Cabozantinib may provide clinical benefit by simultaneously targeting multiple pathways of importance in MTC, including MET, VEGFR2, and RET. A global phase III pivotal study in MTC is ongoing ( number NCT00215605).
PMCID: PMC3646303  PMID: 21606412
11.  Phase 1 study of MLN8054, a selective inhibitor of Aurora A kinase in patients with advanced solid tumors 
Aurora A kinase is critical in assembly and function of the mitotic spindle. It is overexpressed in various tumor types and implicated in oncogenesis and tumor progression. This trial evaluated the dose-limiting toxicities (DLTs) and maximum tolerated dose (MTD) of MLN8054, a selective small-molecule inhibitor of Aurora A kinase.
In this first-in-human, dose-escalation study, MLN8054 was given orally for 7, 14, or 21 days followed by a 14-day treatment-free period. Escalating cohorts of 3–6 patients with advanced solid tumors were treated until DLT was seen in ≥2 patients in a cohort. Serial blood samples were collected for pharmacokinetics and skin biopsies were collected for pharmacodynamics.
Sixty-one patients received 5, 10, 20, 30 or 40 mg once daily for 7 days; 25, 35, 45 or 55 mg/day in four divided doses (QID) for 7 days; or 55, 60, 70 or 80 mg/day plus methylphenidate or modafinil with daytime doses (QID/M) for 7–21 days. DLTs of reversible grade 3 benzodiazepine-like effects defined the estimated MTD of 60 mg QID/M for 14 days. MLN8054 was absorbed rapidly, exposure was dose-proportional, and terminal half-life was 30-40 hours. Three patients had stable disease for >6 cycles.
MLN8054 dosing for up to 14 days of a 28-day cycle was feasible. Reversible somnolence was dose limiting and prevented achievement of plasma concentrations predicted necessary for target modulation. A recommended dose for investigation in phase 2 trials was not established. A second-generation Aurora A kinase inhibitor is in development.
PMCID: PMC3026871  PMID: 20607239
MLN8054; Aurora A kinase; dose-limiting toxicity; pharmacokinetics; pharmacodynamics
12.  Phase I Pharmacologic and Biologic Study of Ramucirumab (IMC-1121B), a Fully Human Immunoglobulin G1 Monoclonal Antibody Targeting the Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor Receptor-2 
Journal of Clinical Oncology  2010;28(5):780-787.
To evaluate the safety, maximum-tolerated dose (MTD), pharmacokinetics (PKs), pharmacodynamics, and preliminary anticancer activity of ramucirumab (IMC-1121B), a fully human immunoglobulin G1 monoclonal antibody targeting the vascular endothelial growth factor receptor (VEGFR)-2.
Patients and Methods
Patients with advanced solid malignancies were treated once weekly with escalating doses of ramucirumab. Blood was sampled for PK studies throughout treatment. The effects of ramucirumab on circulating vascular endothelial growth factor-A (VEGF-A), soluble VEGFR-1 and VEGFR-2, tumor perfusion, and vascularity using dynamic contrast-enhanced magnetic resonance imaging were assessed.
Thirty-seven patients were treated with 2 to 16 mg/kg of ramucirumab. After one patient each developed dose-limiting hypertension and deep venous thrombosis at 16 mg/kg, the next lower dose (13 mg/kg) was considered the MTD. Nausea, vomiting, headache, fatigue, and proteinuria were also noted. Four (15%) of 27 patients with measurable disease had a partial response (PR), and 11 (30%) of 37 patients had either a PR or stable disease lasting at least 6 months. PKs were characterized by dose-dependent elimination and nonlinear exposure consistent with saturable clearance. Mean trough concentrations exceeded biologically relevant target levels throughout treatment at all dose levels. Serum VEGF-A increased 1.5 to 3.5 times above pretreatment values and remained in this range throughout treatment at all dose levels. Tumor perfusion and vascularity decreased in 69% of evaluable patients.
Objective antitumor activity and antiangiogenic effects were observed over a wide range of dose levels, suggesting that ramucirumab may have a favorable therapeutic index in treating malignancies amenable to VEGFR-2 inhibition.
PMCID: PMC2834394  PMID: 20048182
13.  Phase I Study of the Safety, Tolerability, and Pharmacokinetics of Oral CP-868,596, a Highly Specific Platelet-Derived Growth Factor Receptor Tyrosine Kinase Inhibitor in Patients With Advanced Cancers 
Journal of Clinical Oncology  2009;27(31):5262-5269.
This phase I, first-in-human study evaluated the safety, tolerability, pharmacokinetics, and maximum-tolerated dose (MTD) of an oral platelet-derived growth factor receptor inhibitor, CP-868,596.
Patients and Methods
Patients with advanced solid tumors were eligible. Dose escalations were performed in three groups with two formulations: uncoated on an empty stomach (UES), uncoated with food (UFED), and film-coated (FC) without food. Initial dose escalation in the UES group was followed by parallel escalations in the UFED and FC groups.
Fifty-nine patients enrolled. CP-868,596 was escalated from 100 mg to 340 mg daily in the UES group, from 60 mg to 100 mg twice daily in the UFED group, and from 100 mg once daily to 140 mg twice daily in the FC group. MTDs were 200 mg daily in the UES group and 100 mg twice daily in the FC group; MTD was not reached at 100 mg twice daily in the UFED group. Dose-limiting toxicities included hematuria, increased γ-glutamyltransferase or ALT, insomnia, and nausea/vomiting. Most treatment-related AEs were of grades 1 to 2 severity; nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea were reported most frequently. Administration with food generally improved tolerability. CP-868,596 was absorbed slowly; systemic exposure parameters appeared to increase greater than proportionally with dose. Mean serum concentrations exceeded the preclinically predicted minimal efficacious concentration (ie, 16 ng/mL) at all dosages. Food and film coating apparently increased interpatient variability of the maximum observed plasma concentration and the area under the concentration-time curve. No objective responses were reported, and eight patients achieved stable disease (mean duration, 5.7 months).
CP-868,596 potentially demonstrated greater than dose-proportional pharmacokinetics. The recommended dosage of 100 mg twice daily with food was well tolerated. Additional development as a single agent in selected populations or in combination with chemotherapy in broader populations is warranted.
PMCID: PMC2773478  PMID: 19738123
14.  Safety, Pharmacokinetics, and Pharmacodynamics of the Insulin-Like Growth Factor Type 1 Receptor Inhibitor Figitumumab (CP-751,871) in Combination with Paclitaxel and Carboplatin 
This phase 1 study was conducted to determine the recommended phase 2 dose of the selective insulin-like growth factor type 1 receptor (IGF-IR) inhibitor figitumumab (F, CP-751,871) given in combination with paclitaxel and carboplatin in patients with advanced solid tumors.
Patients received paclitaxel 200 mg/m2, carboplatin (area under the curve of 6), and F (0.05–20 mg/kg) q3 weeks for up to six cycles. Patients with objective response or stable disease were eligible to receive additional cycles of single agent F until disease progression. Safety, efficacy, pharmacokinetic, and pharmacodynamic endpoints were investigated.
Forty-two patients, including 35 with stages IIIB and IV non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC), were enrolled in eight dose escalation cohorts. A maximum tolerated dose was not identified. Severe adverse events possibly related to F included fatigue, diarrhea, hyperglycemia, gamma glutamyl transpeptidase elevation, and thrombocytopenia (one case each). F plasma exposure parameters increased with dose. Fifteen objective responses (RECIST) were reported, including two complete responses in NSCLC and ovarian carcinoma. Notably, levels of bioactive IGF-1 seemed to influence response to treatment with objective responses in patients with a high baseline-free IGF-1 to IGF binding protein-3 ratio seen only in the 10 and 20 mg/kg dosing cohorts.
F was well tolerated in combination with paclitaxel and carboplatin. Based on its favorable safety, pharmacokinetic, and pharmacodynamic properties, the maximal feasible dose of 20 mg/kg has been selected for further investigation.
PMCID: PMC2941876  PMID: 19745765
IGF-1R; Figitumumab; CP-751,871; NSCLC
15.  Phase I Dose Escalation, Pharmacokinetic and Pharmacodynamic Study of Naptumomab Estafenatox Alone in Patients With Advanced Cancer and With Docetaxel in Patients With Advanced Non–Small-Cell Lung Cancer 
Journal of Clinical Oncology  2009;27(25):4116-4123.
Two phase I studies were conducted of ABR-217620 alone or in combination with docetaxel. This is a recombinant fusion protein consisting of a mutated variant of the superantigen staphylococcal enterotoxin E (SEA/E-120) linked to fragment antigen binding moiety of a monoclonal antibody recognizing the tumor-associated antigen 5T4.
Patients and Methods
Patients with non–small-cell lung cancer (NSCLC), pancreatic cancer (PC), and renal cell cancer (RCC) received 5 daily boluses of ABR-217620 (3-month cycles) in escalating doses to determine the maximum-tolerated dose (MTD; ABR-217620 dose escalation monotherapy [MONO] study). Doses were selected based on individual patient anti–SEA/E-120 titers pretreatment. Patients with NSCLC received 4 daily, escalating doses of ABR-217620 followed by docetaxel in 21-day cycles (ABR-217620 dose escalation combination with docetaxel [COMBO] study).
Thirty-nine patients were enrolled in the MONO study and 13 were enrolled in the COMBO study. The monotherapy MTD was 26 μg/kg (NSCLC and PC) and 15 μg/kg (RCC). Dose-limiting toxicities (DLTs) in the MONO study were fever, hypotension, acute liver toxicity, and vascular leak syndrome. In the COMBO study, the MTD was 22 μg/kg (neutropenic sepsis). Adverse events included grade 1 to 2 fever, hypotension, nausea, and chills. Treatment caused a systemic increase of inflammatory cytokines and selective expansion of SEA/E-120 reactive T-cells. Tumor biopsies demonstrated T-cell infiltration after therapy. Fourteen patients (36%) had stable disease (SD) on day 56 of the MONO study. Two patients (15%) in the COMBO study had partial responses, one in a patient with progressive disease on prior docetaxel, and five patients (38%) had SD on day 56.
ABR-217620 was well tolerated with evidence of immunological activity and antitumor activity.
PMCID: PMC2734423  PMID: 19636016
16.  Fluorescence in situ hybridization gene amplification analysis of EGFR and HER2 in patients with malignant salivary gland tumors treated with lapatinib 
Head & neck  2009;31(8):1006-1012.
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.
PMCID: PMC2711990  PMID: 19309723
MSGT; lapatinib; EGFR and HER2 gene amplification; FISH
17.  The Role of Cetuximab for the Treatment of Squamous Cell Carcinoma of the Head and Neck 
Squamous cell carcinoma of the head and neck (HNSCC) while curable in many cases with surgery, radiation, and chemotherapy, remains a disease that is associated with significant morbidity and mortality. Agents that target the epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) have demonstrated activity in this disease. Cetuximab, a monoclonal antibody, is FDA-approved in conjunction with radiation for locally advanced, potentially curable disease, and as a single agent for incurable recurrent/metastatic disease. In addition, there are more recent data showing a survival benefit for patients with recurrent/metastatic disease who were treated with a 1st-line regimen of platinum, fluorouracil and cetuximab. These promising results have had a significant impact on the standard of care for HNSCC, and have prompted further research on the role of EGFR inhibitors in the treatment of HNSCC. In the following review, we will discuss the history, mechanism, and clinical trials that pertain to the role of cetuximab in the treatment of HNSCC.
PMCID: PMC2745918  PMID: 18997665
18.  A Phase I Study of the Safety and Pharmacokinetics of Trabectedin in Combination With Pegylated Liposomal Doxorubicin in Patients With Advanced Malignancies 
To determine the maximum tolerated dose (MTD), safety, potential pharmacokinetic (PK) interactions, and effect on liver histology of trabectedin in combination with pegylated liposomal doxorubicin (PLD) for advanced malignancies.
Patients and Methods
Entry criteria for the 36 patients included normal liver function, prior doxorubicin exposure <250 mg/m2, and normal cardiac function. A 1-hour PLD (30 mg/m2) infusion was followed immediately by 1 of 6 trabectedin doses (0.4, 0.6, 0.75, 0.9, 1.1, and 1.3 mg/m2) infused over 3 hours, repeated every 21 days until evidence of complete response (CR), disease progression, or unacceptable txicity. Plasma samples were obtained to assess PK profiles.
The MTD of trabectedin was 1.1 mg/m2. Drug-related grade 3 and 4 toxicities were neutropenia (31%) and elevated transaminases (31%). Six patients responded (1 CR, 5 partial responses), with an overall response rate of 16.7%, and 14 had stable disease >4 months (39%). Neither drug had its PK affected significantly by concomitant administration compared to trabectedin and PLD each given as a single agent.
Trabectedin combined with PLD is generally well tolerated at therapeutic doses of both drugs in pretreated patients with diverse tumor types, and appears to provide clinical benefit. These results support the need for additional studies of this combination in appropriate cancer types.
PMCID: PMC2598415  PMID: 18497430
trabectedin; ET-743; pegylated liposomal doxorubicin (PLD); sarcomas; ovarian cancer

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