U.S. Food & Drug Administration Acts to Bolster Supply of Critically Needed Cancer Drugs Including Doxil

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration today announced a series of steps to (i) increase the supply of critically needed cancer drugs, and (ii) build upon President Obama’s Executive Order to help prevent future drug shortages.  To alleviate the Doxil cancer drug shortage, the FDA approved  the temporary importation of a replacement drug named “Lipodox” (doxorubicin hydrochloride liposome injection), with the expectation of  ending the U.S. shortage and fully meeting patient needs in the coming weeks. Doxil is an important weapon in the fight against recurrent ovarian cancer.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration today announced a series of steps designed to increase the supply of critically needed cancer drugs, and build upon President Obama’s Executive Order, dated October 31, 2011 (No. 13588), in an attempt to prevent future drug shortages.

Margaret Hamburg, M.D., Commissioner, U.S. Food & Drug Administration

“A drug shortage can be a frightening prospect for patients and President Obama made it clear that preventing these shortages from happening is a top priority of his administration,” said FDA Commissioner Margaret A. Hamburg, M.D. “Through the collaborative work of the FDA, industry, and other stakeholders, patients and families waiting for these products or anxious about their availability should now be able to get the medication they need.”

In response to the critical shortage of the cancer drug Doxil (doxorubicin hydrochloride liposome injection) and rapidly declining supplies of methotrexate, the FDA took proactive steps needed to increase available supply for patients in the U.S.

For Doxil, there will be temporary importation of a replacement drug named “LipoDox” (doxorubicin hydrochloride liposome injection), which is expected to end the shortage and fully meet patient needs in the coming weeks.

For methotrexate, in addition to already announced actions, the FDA approved a new manufacturer of preservative-free formulation of methotrexate that is expected to further bolster supply and help avert a shortage of this lifesaving medicine. the FDA expedited review of the application to help address this potential shortage.

In response to President Obama’s Executive Order #13588 regarding prescription drug shortages, the FDA today issued draft guidance to industry which provides detailed requirements for both mandatory and voluntary notifications to the FDA of issues that could result in a drug shortage or supply disruption. Because of President Obama’s Executive Order #13588 and the FDA’s letter to manufacturers on the same day, increased awareness of the importance of early notification has resulted in a sixfold increase in voluntary notifications by industry of potential shortages. In 2011, there were a total of 195 drug shortages prevented. Since the issuance of Presidential Executive Order #13588, the FDA has prevented 114 drug shortages.

Under the FDA’s exercise of enforcement discretion, the chemotherapeutic drug LipoDox will be imported as an alternative to Doxil. Doxil is used in multiple treatment regimens, including treatment of ovarian cancer after failure of platinum-based chemotherapy (e.g., carboplatin or cisplatin). The drug is also indicated for use in AIDS-related Kaposi’s sarcoma and multiple myeloma. The FDA anticipates that the incoming supply of LipoDox will be able to fully meet patient needs.

The FDA’s exercise of enforcement discretion for Lipodox is a temporary, limited arrangement specific to Sun Pharma Global FZE (a United Arab Emirates entity) and its authorized distributor, Caraco Pharmaceutical Laboratories Ltd. (a U.S. subsidiary of Sun Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd., a leading Indian pharmaceutical company).

Temporary importation of unapproved foreign drugs is considered in rare cases when there is a shortage of an approved drug that is critical to patients and the shortage cannot be resolved in a timely fashion with FDA-approved drugs.

When a company is identified that is willing and able to import the needed drug product, the FDA evaluates the foreign-approved drug to ensure that it is of adequate quality and that the drug does not pose significant risks for U.S. patients. Only after successful evaluation of these factors does the FDA exercise its enforcement discretion for the temporary importation of an overseas drug into the U.S. market.

Methotrexate is a drug that is needed for the treatment of many forms of cancer and other serious diseases. For example, preservative-free methotrexate is needed for the intrathecal (injection into the fluid surrounding the brain and spinal cord) treatment of children with acute lymphocytic leukemia (ALL), as well as high-dose therapy of osteosarcoma.

To alleviate the shortage of methotrexate, the FDA has successfully engaged several firms to assist in maintaining supplies to meet all patient needs. First, the FDA has prioritized the review and approval of a preservative-free methotrexate generic drug manufactured by APP Pharmaceuticals (APP) and expects that product to become available in March 2012 and continue indefinitely. Second, Hospira expedited release of additional methotrexate supplies, resulting in 31,000 vials of new product – enough for more than one month’s worth of demand – being shipped to hundreds of U.S. hospitals and treatment centers today. The FDA is actively working with other manufacturers of methotrexate who have also stepped up to increase drug production for the purpose of meeting patient needs, including Mylan and Sandoz Pharmaceuticals.

APP’s application for preservative-free methotrexate is a supplement to its already approved generic drug application that the firm had previously discontinued. When the FDA became aware of potential problems with the supply of the drug (attributable to the voluntary plant closing of the largest methotrexate manufacturer, Ben Venue Laboratories), the agency reached out to other firms to see how the FDA could assist to meet the shortfall.

Prior to the approval of APP’s application, and the subsequent Ben Venue Laboratories’ voluntary shutdown, the FDA worked with Ben Venue on release of already manufactured preservative-free methotrexate, following its confirmation of the safety of remaining drug inventory. This supply is available already and will provide emergency supplies as the other firms also work to increase production of methotrexate in response to requests by the FDA and the public.

On October 31, 2011, the Obama Administration also announced its support for bipartisan legislation that would (i) require all prescription drug shortages to be reported to the FDA, and (ii) give the FDA new authority to enforce these requirements. While additional manufacturing capacity is necessary to fully address the drug shortage problem, additional early notification to the FDA can have a significant, positive impact on addressing the incidence and duration of drug shortages.

For more FDA information relating to the U.S. drug shortage, please click on the topics listed below:

Drug Shortages

Drug Shortage Guidance (“Guidance for Industry — Notification to FDA of Issues that May Result in a Prescription Drug or Biological Product Shortage – Draft Guidance,” dated February 2012)

Labeling for Doxil (doxorubicin hydrochloride liposome injection)

Letter from Sun Pharma Global FZE to healthcare professionals regarding doxorubicin, dated January 27, 2012.

FDA letter to Industry regarding drug shortage, dated October 31, 2011.

Labeling for methotrexate

Consumer Inquiries: 888-INFO-FDA

About the U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA)

The FDA, an agency within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, protects the public health by assuring the safety, effectiveness, and security of human and veterinary drugs, vaccines and other biological products for human use, and medical devices. The FDA is also responsible for the safety and security of our nation’s food supply, cosmetics, dietary supplements, products that give off electronic radiation, and for regulating tobacco products.

Source: FDA acts to bolster supply of critically needed cancer drugs, FDA News Release, U.S. Food & Drug Administration, February 21, 2012.

Can Iran Solve the Current U.S. Doxil/Caelyx Cancer Drug Shortage?

Iran expects to bring a  cancer nanodrug called “Sinadoxosome” to market next month. Sinadoxosome is apparently similiar to pegylated liposomal doxorubicin which is marketed under the brand name “Doxil” in the U.S. and “Caelyx” in Europe. Doxil/Caelyx has been in extreme short supply in the U.S. and Europe, thereby causing potential detriment to many ovarian cancer patients.

Iran inaugurated the production line of an anti-cancer nanodrug under the name “Sinadoxosome” in the Northern city of Rasht, and the medicine will soon come to market.

In addition to producing the amount of nanodrug required by Iran, the new drug production line makes possible the exportation of the drug to other countries. The drug acquired the necessary certificates from Nanotechnology Committee of the Ministry of Health, Treatment, and Medical Education in November 2011.

Dr. Mahmoud Reza Ja’fari, the Managing Director of Exir Nano Sina Company, told the Iran Nanotechnology Initiative Council’s reporter that the anti-cancer drug Sinadoxosome would be presented to the market next month.

“This product has been produced by the knowledge-based company Exir Nano Sina in association with Iran Nanotechnology Initiative Council. It has acquired the production certificate from the Ministry of Health, Treatment, and Medical Education,” Dr. Ja’fari added.

Pointing to the fact that the production of this medicine had been “monopolized” by European countries (under the “Caelyx” brand name) and by the United States (under the “Doxil” brand name), the Head of Nanotechnology Research Centre of Mashhad University of Medical Sciences said: “The importation of this medicine cost [sic] $5 mln annually. However, this medicine will be presented to the patients at one-third of the price of the foreign drug after the establishment of Sinadoxosome production line.”

Sinadoxosome contains nano liposomes that contain doxorubicin anti-cancer medicine. It targets the tumor tissue and boosts the effect of the medicine but decreases its side effects. The medicine has applications in the treatment of ovarian cancer, breast cancer, leukemia, and Kaposi’s sarcoma (a type of soft tissue cancer).

The production line involving the Sinadoxosome anti-cancer drug was established on February 8, 2012, in the presence of Iran Nanotechnology Initiative Council’s authorities and the managing director and researchers of the Sobhan Oncology Pharmaceutical Company.

*          *          *

In the YouTube video presented below, U.S. Senator Orrin Hatch (R-Utah), Ranking Member of the Senate Finance Committee, delivered the opening statement at a 2011 committee hearing examining the impact of drug shortages in America.

Source: Iran to Present New Anti-Cancer Nanodrug to Market Soon, Iran Nano-Technology Initiative Council, February 15, 2012.

Additional Doxil & Drug Shortage Information:

2011 ASCO: Exelixis Reports Expanded Cabozantinib (XL184) Phase II Data For Advanced Ovarian Cancer; Six Deaths Reported

Exelixis, Inc. reported expanded Phase 2 study data with respect to cabozantinib (XL184) use in advanced ovarian cancer patients at the recent 2011 American Society of Clinical Oncology Annual Meeting. The overall solid tumor Phase 2 safety and tolerability data reference six deaths, including two ovarian cancer patients.

Ronald J. Buckanovich, M.D., Ph.D., Assistant Professor, Departments of Internal Medicine & Obstetrics and Gynecology, University of Michigan

Exelixis, Inc. reported expanded Phase 2 study data with respect to cabozantinib (XL184) use in advanced ovarian cancer patients at the 2011 American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) Annual Meeting . The overall solid tumor Phase 2 safety and tolerability data refers to six deaths, including two ovarian cancer patients.

On May 19, 2011, we reported promising cabozantinib phase 2 solid tumor (including ovarian) data, which was presented at an ASCO press briefing held in advance of the 2011 ASCO Annual Meeting. As noted in our May 19 article, cabozantinib demonstrated excellent activity against several solid tumors, including ovarian cancer. In addition, we reported that cabozantinib showed promising activity in ovarian cancer patients independent of prior response to platinum drug-based therapies.

Ronald J. Buckanovich, M.D., Ph.D., Assistant Professor, Departments of Internal Medicine & Obstetrics and Gynecology, University of Michigan, presented the expanded cabozantinib Phase 2 data relating to use of the drug in advanced ovarian cancer patients, on June 4 at the 2011 ASCO Annual Meeting.

Ovarian Cancer Patient Population & Overall Response Rate

(Image Source: Exelixis, Inc.)

The cabozantinib trial is an ongoing phase 2 adaptive randomized discontinuation trial. As of the February 11, 2011 cut-off date, accrual in the cabozantinib study cohort was complete at 70 patients.

The 70 patients enrolled in the ovarian cancer cohort received oral cabozantinib (100 mg) daily over a 12 week “Lead-in Stage.” These patients had a minimum follow-up of at least 12 weeks and were thus evaluable for safety and the primary efficacy endpoint of response per RECIST (Response Evaluation Criteria in Solid Tumors).

Patient tumor response was assessed every 6 weeks. Receipt of cabozantinib treatment beyond the 12 week open label Lead-in Stage was based upon patient response: (1) patients with a partial response (PR) or complete response (CR) continued taking cabozantinib, (2) patients with stable disease (SD) were randomized to the cabozantinib treatment arm or the placebo treatment arm (collectively referred to as the “Blinded Randomized Stage”), and (iii) patients with progressive disease (PD) discontinued study treatment. The study primary endpoint was overall response rate (ORR) per RECIST in the Lead-in Stage, and progression free survival (PFS) in the Blinded Randomized Stage. Accrual in any cohort could be halted for high ORR or PD.

Approximately half of the 70 patients enrolled in the cohort were considered platinum drug-refractory/-resistant (49%), defined as a platinum drug-free interval of 6 months or less, and the remainder of patients (51%) had platinum-sensitive disease based on a platinum-free interval greater than 6 months.

The baseline patient tumor histologic characteristics are as follows: serous ovarian cancer (79%), clear cell ovarian cancer (4%), endometrioid ovarian cancer (6%), and other forms of ovarian cancer (11%)

More than half the patients (57%) received 2 or more prior lines of platinum therapy prior to trial enrollment. Some patients also had additional prior lines of therapy with agents such as pegylated liposomal doxorubicin (brand name: Doxil®) or topotecan (brand name: Hycamtin®) (32%), gemcitabine (brand name: Gemzar®) (29%), and VEGF (vascular endothelial growth factor) pathway inhibitors (10%).

Evidence of objective tumor regression was observed in 73% of patients with at least 1 post-baseline medical imaging scan. The best overall response rate per RECIST criteria was 24% (16 PRs and 1 CR). The overall Week-12 disease control rate (DRC = CR + PR + SD) was 53%. The Week-12 DCRs in the platinum drug-refractory, -resistant, and -sensitive groups were 36%, 39%, and 67%, respectively.

Based on an observed high rate of clinical activity, randomization was halted, and randomized patients were unblinded.  At this point, the unblinded randomized patients that were treated with placebo were allowed to “cross-over” to treatment with cabozantinib. Disease stabilization was experienced by some ovarian cancer patients who had progressive disease prior to treatment cross-over.

“These latest results in metastatic ovarian cancer demonstrate the potential broad utility of cabozantinib beyond bone-predominant types of cancers such as castration-resistant prostate cancer. The high rates of durable response with our dual inhibitor of MET and VEGFR2 compare favorably to those of other single-agent targeted therapies and cytotoxic agents in development,” said Michael M. Morrissey, Ph.D., president and chief executive officer of Exelixis. “These results underscore the potential of cabozantinib in metastatic ovarian cancer, and we are in discussions with leading cooperative groups to plan further evaluation of cabozantinib in randomized trials for this indication.”

Activity in Platinum Drug-Sensitive, -Refractory, and -Resistant Disease

Ignace Vergote, M.D., Ph.D., senior author of the cabozantinib (XL184) ASCO presentation & Chairman, Leuven Cancer Institute, University of Leuven, European Union

(Image Source: Exelixis, Inc.)

Two of 11 patients (18%) with platinum refractory disease, defined as a platinum-free interval of <1 month, achieved a confirmed response (1 CR and 1 PR).

In the subset of patients with platinum-resistant disease, defined as a platinum-free interval of 1-6 months, 5 of 23 (22%) achieved a PR.

Ten of 36 patients (28%) with platinum sensitive disease achieved a PR.

A total of 37 patients experienced reductions in the ovarian cancer tumor marker CA-125 (cancer antigen-125), including 8 with decreases greater than 50%. There is no consistent concordance between CA-125 changes and tumor regression. The median duration of response has not yet been reached with 36 weeks of median follow-up.

“The continued activity of cabozantinib in a larger population of ovarian cancer patients is very encouraging, especially with respect to the clinical benefit observed in both platinum-sensitive and platinum-resistant/refractory disease. This activity profile has not been observed with other single-agent TKIs [tyrosine kinase inhibitors], and cabozantinib has the potential to be an important new treatment for ovarian cancer,” said Ignace Vergote, M.D., Ph.D., senior author of the presentation and Chairman of the Leuven Cancer Institute at the University of Leuven, European Union. “The high rate of disease control in platinum-resistant and platinum-refractory disease suggests that cabozantinib may help to address the substantial unmet medical need faced by patients who have sub-optimal responses to platinum-based therapies. I believe that further evaluation will help to define the potential role of cabozantinib in the treatment of ovarian cancer.”

General Safety & Tolerability Data 

Safety data are available for the 70 patients in the Lead-In phase of the cabozantinib study. The most common CTCAE (Common Terminology Criteria for Adverse Eventsgrade 3 or 4 adverse events (AEs), regardless of causality, were diarrhea (10%), fatigue (9%), palmar-plantar erythrodysesthesia  syndrome (also referred as “hand-foot syndrome”)(7%), vomiting (4%), abdominal pain (3%), hypomagnesemia (3%), and nausea, constipation, rash, increased transaminase, and hypertension (each 1%). At least one dose reduction was reported in 37% of patients. Less frequent important medical events, regardless of causality, were hemorrhage (11% all CTCAE grades, 0% CTCAE grade 3 or 4), venous thrombosis (6% all CTCAE grades, 4% CTCAE grade 3 or 4), and gastrointestinal perforation (6% all CTCAE grades, 0% CTCAE grade 3 or 4).

To access the cabozantinib clinical study data information, please visit www.exelixis.com/sites/default/files/pdf/ASCO_2011-XL184-Ovarian.pdf

Six Deaths Reported (Including Two Ovarian Cancer Patients)

If you examine the Exelixis press release dated June 4 (entitled, Exelixis’ Cabozantinib Demonstrates Encouraging Clinical Activity in Patients with Metastatic Ovarian Cancer — Disease control rate of 53% at week 12, response rate of 24%), which addresses data for cabozantinib use in advanced ovarian cancer patients, pay particular attention to the wording under the heading entitled, “Safety and Tolerability.”  Within the wording set forth under that heading, you will find the following statement: “Two cabozantinib-related grade 5 AEs [adverse events], one enterocutaneous fistula and one intestinal perforation, were reported after the Lead-In phase.” Pursuant to the CTCAE guidelines, a “grade 5 adverse event” is defined as “death related to AE [adverse event].”

We should also note that the two ovarian cancer deaths were summarized briefly in the ASCO presentation regarding cabozantinib use in advanced ovarian cancer.

The reporting of all six deaths is set forth in the Exelixis press release, dated June 5, 2011 (entitled, Exelixis’ Cabozantinib Demonstrates Broad Clinical Activity in Multiple Tumor Types), in similar fashion. Within this release, the sentence provided under the heading “Safety and Tolerability” states: “There were 6 (1%) cabozantinib-related grade 5 [adverse] events, all of which were reported after the Lead-In phase of the trial: respiratory compromise (breast cancer), hemorrhage (NSCLC [non-small cell lung cancer]), enterocutaneous perforation (ovarian cancer), intestinal perforation (ovarian cancer), gastrointestinal hemorrhage (pancreatic cancer), and death (CRPC [castrate resistant prostate cancer]).”

Exelixis Chief Executive Michael Morrissey said the safety statistics are consistent with targeted cancer therapies like cabozantinib that block a pathway used by tumor cells to secure blood vessels.

Cowen & Co analyst Eric Schmidt said the rate of cabozantinib treatment-related deaths — 1 percent — was “no different from what we have seen for every other Phase 1 and 2 trials here at ASCO.”

“While drug safety is of less concern in cancer indications than in others, the apparent morbidities associated with cabo[zantinib] use will confound interpretation of clinical benefit in a trial designed to show anything less than overall survival,” Canaccord analyst George Farmer said in a research note.

In a note to investors, Piper Jaffray analyst Edward Tenthoff said: “The company is exploring lower doses, but the concern is that cabo[zantinib] will not retain the impressive efficacy seen to date.”

Mr. Morrissey said Exelixis plans to move forward with the current daily 100 mg dose of the drug.

Dr. Nicholas J. Vogelzang (Director, Comprehensive Cancer Centers of Nevada) Discusses Mortalities in the Cabozantinib (XL184) Trial

Take Away Message

  • Cabozantinib demonstrates promising activity in both platinum drug-sensitive and platinum drug-resistant/-refractory ovarian cancer.
  • Week 12 overall disease control rate of 53%.
  • Response rates of 18% in platinum-refractory, 22% in platinum-resistant and 28% in platinum-sensitive patients.
  • Cabozantinib shows encouraging duration of response.
  • After 36 weeks of follow-up, median duration of response not reached.
  • Tolerability profile is consistent with that of other tyrosine kinase inhibitors (6 solid tumor patient deaths (1% of all solid tumor pts), including 2 ovarian cancer patients (3% of ovarian cancer pts)).
  • Discordant effects observed between CA-125 changes and clinical activity.
  • Simultaneous targeting of MET and VEGFR2 with cabozantinib results in robust effects in patients with advanced ovarian cancer.
  • Non-randomized expansion cohort is currently accruing in platinum-resistant/-refractory ovarian cancer.

About the MET & VEGFR2 Pathways

To learn more about (i) the role of MET in cancer, (ii) the relationship between the MET and VEGFR pathways, and (iii) the dual inhibition of MET and VEGFR2, visit http://www.metinhibition.com/.

About Cabozantinib (XL184)

Cabozantinib (XL184) is a potent, dual inhibitor of MET and VEGFR2. Cabozantinib is an investigational agent that provides coordinated inhibition of metastasis and angiogenesis to kill tumor cells while blocking their escape pathways. The therapeutic role of cabozantinib is currently being investigated across several tumor types. MET is upregulated in many tumor types, thus facilitating tumor cell escape by promoting the formation of more aggressive phenotypes, resulting in metastasis. MET-driven metastasis may be further stimulated by hypoxic conditions (i.e., deprivation of adequate oxygen supply) in the tumor environment, which are often exacerbated by selective VEGF-pathway inhibitors. In preclinical studies, cabozantinib has shown powerful tumoricidal, anti-metastatic and anti-angiogenic effects, including: (i) extensive apoptosis of malignant cells; (ii) decreased tumor invasiveness and metastasis; (iii) decreased tumor and endothelial cell proliferation; (iv) blockade of metastatic bone lesion progression; and (v) disruption of tumor vasculature.

About Exelixis

Exelixis, Inc. is a biotechnology company committed to developing small molecule therapeutics for the treatment of cancer. Exelixis is focusing its resources and development efforts exclusively on cabozantinib, its most advanced solely-owned product candidate, in order to maximize the therapeutic and commercial potential of this compound. Exelixis believes cabozantinib has the potential to be a high-quality, differentiated pharmaceutical product that can make a meaningful difference in the lives of patients. Exelixis has also established a portfolio of other novel compounds that it believes have the potential to address serious unmet medical needs. For more information, please visit the company’s web site at www.exelixis.com

Sources: 

Cabozantinib (XL184) Clinical Trial Information
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2011 ASCO: EC145 Demonstrates 85 Percent Improvement in Progression-Free Survival for Treatment of Platinum Resistant Ovarian Cancer

EC145, in combination with pegylated liposomal doxorubicin (Doxil®/Caelyx®) in patients with platinum-resistant ovarian cancer, met its primary endpoint by showing an 85 percent (2.3 month) improvement in median progression-free survival in the intent-to-treat population, and a 260 percent (4.0 month) improvement in a subset of folate receptor positive patients. The final EC145 phase 2 clinical study data were presented today at the 2011 American Society of Clinical Oncology Annual Meeting.

EC145 delivers a very potent vinca chemotherapy directly to cancer cells by targeting the folate receptor expressed on cancer cells, but not on most normal cells. Approximately 80-90 percent of ovarian and lung cancers express the receptor, as do many other types of cancer. Click on the picture above to view a video regarding EC145's mechanism of action. (Photo: Endocyte, Inc.)

Endocyte, Inc., a biopharmaceutical company developing targeted small molecule drug conjugates (SMDCs) and companion imaging diagnostics for personalized therapy, today announced that the phase 2 PRECEDENT trial, which is investigating the company’s lead drug candidate, EC145, in combination with pegylated liposomal doxorubicin (PLD)(brand name: Doxil®/Caelyx®) in patients with platinum-resistant ovarian cancer, met its primary endpoint by showing: (i) an 85 percent (2.3 month) improvement in median progression-free survival (PFS) in the intent-to-treat population, and (ii) a 260 percent (4.0 month) improvement in a subset of folate receptor positive patients. EC145 in combination with PLD showed limited additional toxicity compared to standard therapy with PLD alone. The most commonly occurring adverse events were neutropenia, small intestine obstruction, and palmar-plantar erythrodysesthesia (or hand-foot syndrome). EC145 is a therapeutic that targets the folate receptor and EC20 is a companion imaging diagnostic used to assess folate receptor presence.

These final PFS data from the PRECEDENT trial were presented today at the 2011 Annual Meeting of the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO), in Chicago, Illinois and are available at http://investor.endocyte.com/events.cfm.

“I am encouraged by these data as EC145 is the first drug candidate to demonstrate a significant improvement in PFS in a randomized trial of patients with platinum-resistant ovarian cancer, a very challenging disease with a high unmet need. Historical data show that for these patients on standard therapy, PFS is approximately three months and overall survival is approximately twelve months. No new drug has been approved in the U.S. for this indication in over a decade,” said Wendel Naumann, M.D., Associate Director of Gynecologic Oncology at Blumenthal Cancer Center, Carolinas Medical Center. “In addition the companion imaging diagnostic, EC20, is designed to identify patients who over-express the targeted receptor and are most likely to respond to EC145. This represents a personalized therapeutic approach that I believe will help oncologists direct patients to the most promising treatment.”

EC145 Phase 2 PRECEDENT Clinical Study Data 

The Phase 2 PRECEDENT trial was an international, multi-center, randomized study of 149 women with platinum-resistant ovarian cancer. Patients were randomized to receive EC145 plus PLD or PLD alone at a standard dose until disease progression or death. The primary endpoint of the study was progression-free survival. Secondary endpoints included response rate and overall survival.

The EC145 phase 2 PRECEDENT trial results are summarized below.

  • 85 Percent (2.3 Month) Improvement in Median Progression-Free Survival for All Patients

Patients receiving EC145 in combination with PLD, regardless of folate receptor expression, had a median progression free survival of 5.0 months compared to 2.7 months for patients receiving single agent PLD. The hazard ratio for PFS was 0.626 (p=0.031). The overall response rate was 28 percent in the EC145 combination group versus 16 percent in the PLD-alone group. CA-125 (cancer antigen-125) responses were also more common in patients receiving EC145 in combination with PLD compared to those receiving PLD alone, with response rates (based on CA-125 blood serum measurement) of 38 percent and 19 percent, respectively.

  • 260 Percent (4.0 Month) Improvement in Median Progression-Free Survival for Patients Most Positive for Folate Receptor

The study also utilized EC20, an investigational companion imaging diagnostic that is designed to identify patients with folate receptor positive tumors. As expected, in the folate receptor positive patients the improvement in PFS was even greater. In the subpopulation most positive for the folate receptor, PFS increased 4.0 months from 1.5 months to 5.5 months. The hazard ratio for PFS was 0.381 (p=0.018). This represents more than a 60 percent reduction in the risk of progression and provides evidence supporting the mechanism of action through targeting of the folate receptor. The overall response rate was 22 percent in the EC145 combination group versus 7 percent in the PLD alone group. CA-125 responses were also more common in patients receiving EC145 in combination with PLD compared to those receiving PLD alone, 43 percent and 13 percent, respectively.

“We see tremendous potential for continued development of EC145 based on these data that demonstrate, for the first time, a significant improvement in PFS in patients with platinum resistant ovarian cancer,” said Ron Ellis, President and Chief Executive Officer of Endocyte. “We have already advanced EC145 into Phase 3 evaluation with the PROCEED trial, which has a similar design to the PRECEDENT trial, and plan to file for regulatory approval in the European Union based on the PFS data from the PRECEDENT study.”

Plan to File PRECEDENT Data for Conditional Approval in Europe

As a result of Endocyte’s interaction with the European Medicines Agency (EMA), including a meeting with the Scientific Advice Working Party and written advice from the Committee for Medicinal Products for Human Use (CHMP), the Company will prepare marketing applications for both EC145 and EC20. Based on feedback from the CHMP, Endocyte plans to seek conditional marketing authorization for patients with platinum-resistant ovarian cancer who test positive for the folate receptor using the EC20 companion imaging diagnostic.

Phase 3 PROCEED Trial Initiated

Endocyte recently announced the initiation of patient enrollment in the Phase 3 PROCEED trial of EC145, which is structured to replicate the PRECEDENT trial design. The Phase 3 trial is a randomized, double-blinded trial of EC145 in combination with PLD compared to PLD plus placebo. The patient population — those with platinum-resistant ovarian cancer — will be the same as in the PRECEDENT trial, and the primary endpoint will be progression-free survival in patients selected by EC20 as folate-receptor positive. The trial will also be statistically powered for overall survival as a secondary endpoint with projected enrollment in excess of 500 patients. The trial will be conducted in approximately 150 sites in the U.S., Canada, and Europe.  More information regarding the trial is available at www.clinicaltrials.gov.

About EC145

EC145 is a conjugate of the vitamin folate and a super-potent vinca alkaloid. Folate is required for cell division and rapidly dividing cancer cells often over-express folate receptors in order to capture enough folate to support cell division. By attaching a chemotherapy drug to folate through proprietary chemistry, EC145 targets cancer cells while avoiding most normal cells. This targeted approach is designed to provide treatment with super-potent drugs while lowering toxicity compared to standard chemotherapy.

About EC20

EC20 is a folate-targeted molecular imaging agent that is being developed as a non-invasive method to identify tumors that over-express folate receptors. These tumors are the molecular target of Endocyte’s folate-targeted therapeutic compounds such as EC145. To date, EC20 has been administered to over 500 patients and has been found to be well tolerated.

About Endocyte

Endocyte is a biopharmaceutical company developing targeted therapies for the treatment of cancer and inflammatory diseases. Endocyte uses its proprietary technology to create novel small molecule drug conjugates (SMDCs) and companion imaging diagnostics for personalized targeted therapies. The company’s SMDCs actively target receptors that are over-expressed on diseased cells, relative to healthy cells. This targeted approach is designed to enable the treatment of patients with highly active drugs at greater doses, delivered more frequently, and over longer periods of time than would be possible with the untargeted drug alone. The companion imaging diagnostics are designed to identify patients whose disease over-expresses the target of the therapy and who are therefore more likely to benefit from treatment.

Sources:

  • EC145 PRECEDENT Trial Results — 2011 American Society of Clinical Oncology Annual Meeting Poster Presentation, June 5, 2011. [Adobe Reader PDF document]
EC145 PROCEED Clinical Trial Information:
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Related Libby’s H*O*P*E*™ Postings:

Two Combination Treatment Regimens Added to Updated NCCN Guidelines for Ovarian Cancer

The National Comprehensive Cancer Network (NCCN) recently updated the NCCN Guidelines for Ovarian Cancer to include two additional combination treatment regimens for women with select types of recurring ovarian cancer.

The National Comprehensive Cancer Network (NCCN) recently updated the NCCN Clinical Practice Guidelines for Oncology™ for Ovarian Cancer to reflect the addition of two preferred combination regimens for a specific cohort of patients based on data from recent clinical research studies.

Key updates to the NCCN Guidelines include the addition of carboplatin (Paraplatin®, Bristol-Myers Squibb)/weekly paclitaxel (Taxol®, Bristol-Myers Squibb) and carboplatin/liposomal doxorubicin (Doxil®, Centocor Ortho Biotech) for cytotoxic therapy for patients with platinum-sensitive epithelial ovarian cancer, fallopian tube cancer, or primary peritoneal cancer that has recurred.

These modifications made to the NCCN Guidelines for ovarian cancer are based on results from recent studies in The Lancet and The Journal of Clinical Oncology demonstrating that both combination regimens improved median progression-free survival in women with specific types of recurring ovarian cancer as compared to conventional regimens. In addition, the carboplatin/weekly paclitaxel regimen improved overall survival.

Robert J. Morgan, Jr., M.D., F.A.C.P., Professor, Medical Oncology & Therapeutics Research, City of Hope Comprehensive Cancer Center

“Ovarian cancer is a challenge to treat because by the time the majority of the women are diagnosed with the disease, it has already progressed to stage III or IV,” says Robert J. Morgan, MD, of City of Hope Comprehensive Cancer Center and the chair of the NCCN Guidelines Panel for Ovarian Cancer. “Although finding effective screening tools remains a priority, new treatment options for women with ovarian cancer such as the ones outlined in the updated NCCN Guidelines, remains imperative to making steady progress against the disease.”

Epithelial ovarian cancer is the leading cause of death from gynecologic cancer in the United States and the country’s fifth most common cause of cancer mortality in women. In the year 2009, there were more than 21,000 new diagnoses and nearly 15,000 deaths from this neoplasm in the United States.

The NCCN Clinical Practice Guidelines in Oncology™ are developed and updated through an evidence-based process with explicit review of the scientific evidence integrated with expert judgment by multidisciplinary panels of physicians from NCCN Member Institutions. The most recent version of this and all the NCCN Guidelines are available free of charge at NCCN.org.

About the National Comprehensive Cancer Network

The National Comprehensive Cancer Network (NCCN), a not-for-profit alliance of 21 of the world’s leading cancer centers, is dedicated to improving the quality and effectiveness of care provided to patients with cancer. Through the leadership and expertise of clinical professionals at NCCN Member Institutions, NCCN develops resources that present valuable information to the numerous stakeholders in the health care delivery system. As the arbiter of high-quality cancer care, NCCN promotes the importance of continuous quality improvement and recognizes the significance of creating clinical practice guidelines appropriate for use by patients, clinicians, and other health care decision-makers. The primary goal of all NCCN initiatives is to improve the quality, effectiveness, and efficiency of oncology practice so patients can live better lives.

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Endocyte’s EC145 Produces Significant Anti-Tumor Activity In Advanced Stage Chemoresistant Ovarian Cancer Patients

Endocyte, Inc., … presented data from a Phase 2a clinical trial for EC145, … In 49 women with advanced-stage ovarian cancer, EC145 was shown to have anti-tumor activity in a significant percentage of participants in the trial. …[T]he overall disease control rate, defined as stable disease, partial or complete response to therapy, was 40.8 percent (20 of 49). … In the subgroup of patients who were EC20 “positive” and who had failed four or fewer prior therapies, the disease control rate was 75 percent (9 of 12) and two patients exhibited a RECIST partial response. …

EC20 Imaging Results

Companion diagnostic images of ovarian cancer patients using folate-receptor targeted imaging agent (EC20-Tc99m). Patient on the top shows no targeting to tumor (negative profile). Patient on the bottom shows targeting to tumor (positive profile)(Photo: Endocyte, Inc.)

Endocyte, Inc., a cancer drug discovery and development company, presented data from a Phase 2a clinical trial for EC145, currently in development as a potential treatment for advanced ovarian cancer. Results were presented at the European Society of Gynaecologic Oncology (ESGO) meeting in Belgrade, Serbia last week. In 49 women with advanced-stage ovarian cancer, EC145 was shown to have anti-tumor activity in a significant percentage of participants in the trial.

The study participants had disease that was highly resistant to standard chemotherapy. Subjects had a median of four prior exposures to chemotherapy (with a range of 1 to 14), and 88 percent were diagnosed with “bulky disease,” defined as having a tumor volume of greater than five centimeters in diameter. However, in spite of this, the overall disease control rate, defined as stable disease, partial or complete response to therapy, was 40.8 percent (20 of 49).

Prior to the start of treatment with EC145, the women were scanned with 99mTc-EC20 [EC20], a molecular imaging agent that binds to folate receptors (FR) and is being developed by Endocyte as a companion diagnostic tool to identify patients whose tumors express FR, the molecular target for the EC145 therapy. When scanned with EC20, 76 percent of patients were found to be folate-receptor “positive.” In the subgroup of patients who were EC20 “positive” and who had failed four or fewer prior therapies, the disease control rate was 75 percent (9 of 12) and two patients exhibited a RECIST partial response. Across all patients, the drug was well tolerated with no grade 4 toxicities. The most common grade 3 toxicity was fatigue (8.2 percent).

According to Dr. Richard Messmann, Endocyte’s VP for medical affairs, “These preliminary results provide significant additional support for Endocyte’s technology platform and for the important role that Endocyte’s co-development of targeted therapeutics and companion diagnostics can play in cancer drug discovery. Based upon these promising results, EC145 is now being evaluated in our Phase 2b PRECEDENT study, an international randomized study of EC145 in combination with Doxil®/Caelyx® versus Doxil®/Caelyx® alone in women with platinumresistant ovarian cancer.”

About Endocyte

EC145 PRECEDENT Clinical TrialEndocyte is a privately held biotechnology company with headquarters in the Purdue Research Park of West Lafayette, IN. Based on the applications of Endocyte’s advanced proprietary Drug Guidance System (DGS), the company is working to develop new drugs and diagnostic agents to treat many types of cancer and other serious diseases. The DGS platform makes it possible to use highly potent drugs on extended and frequent dosing schedules and in combination with other drugs to maximize efficacy. The technology improves drug targeting and reduces the risk of side effects by combining drugs with ligands that are able to identify and attach to receptors found on tumor and other disease cells. Endocyte’s clinical development of EC20 and EC145 is progressing with the recent completion of accrual for the Phase 2a trials in advanced ovarian and lung cancer. EC20 and EC145 are now being studied in an international Phase 2b trial of EC145 in combination with Doxil® for the treatment of women with platinum resistant ovarian cancer. Other clinical-stage products in the Endocyte pipeline include EC0225, a targeted combination of two potent anticancer drugs; BMS753493, a potent drug being developed in partnership with Bristol-Myers Squibb; EC0489, a targeted cancer drug; and EC17, a targeted immunotherapy agent. The company also has multiple product candidates in pre-clinical stage of development.

Information about the PRECEDENT study can be found at http://clinicaltrials.gov/ct2/show/NCT00722592.

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2008 ASCO Annual Meeting Abtracts Highlight Several Drugs That Show Promise Against Drug Resistant Ovarian Cancer

There were several drugs highlighted in clinical trial abstracts presented at the 2008 American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) Annual Meeting that demonstrated varying degrees of effectiveness against drug resistant (i.e., recurrence within 6 to 12 months after completion of first line treatment) and/or drug refractory (i.e., recurrence within 6 months after completion of first line treatment) ovarian cancer. By “effectiveness,” we mean generally that the drug or drug combination produced a complete response, partial response, and/or disease stabilization (and in a few cases, a significant drop in the CA-125 tumor marker) in ovarian cancer tumors. To better understand how to intrepret a medical study abstract, click here. The 2008 ASCO Annual Meeting was held in Chicago, Illinois on May 30 – June 3, 2008.

A list of the drugs/drug combinations is provided below. Any drug covered in depth through an earlier H*O*P*E*™ weblog post is noted. We also included 2008 ASCO Annual Meeting abstracts that provide “solid tumor” clinical trial results with respect to studies that enrolled patients with ovarian cancer tumors. When evaluating the potential enrollment in a clinical trial at various treatment points, an ovarian cancer survivor should evaluate trials dedicated to ovarian cancer patients in entirety, as well as general “solid tumor” trials that allow enrollment of ovarian cancer patients. Generally, a patient should give first priority to dedicated ovarian cancer trials and use the solid tumor trials as a “backup” to the ovarian cancer trials. All questions regarding the priority assigned to, or proper sequencing of, clinical trials should be discussed in detail with your doctor(s). Treatment priority and sequencing issues arise, for example, when enrollment in one clinical trial potentially disqualifies the patient for a subsequent second clinical trial based upon the protocol (i.e., inclusion/exclusion criteria) of the second trial. This example assumes that both clinical trials are currently enrolling patients when trial enrollment is being evaluated by you and your doctor.

Abbreviation Legend:

ABSTR=2008 American Society of Clinical Oncology Annual Meeting Abtract; ASCO=American Society of Clinical Oncology; CA-125=cancer antigen 125; CEA=Carcinoembryonic Antigen (Tumor Marker); CR=Complete Response; CT=Computed Tomography

CTC=Common Toxicity Criteria; DCE-MRI=Dynamic Contrast Enhanced Magnetic Resonance Imaging; DLT=Dose Limiting Toxicity; DP=Disease Progression; EOC=Epithelial Ovarian Cancer; G=Grade of Adverse Drug Effect;

GCIG=Gynecologic Cancer Intergroup; GOGGynecologic Oncology Group; MTD=Maximum Tolerable Dose; mg/m²=milligrams per metre squared; NCI=National Cancer Institute; OR=Objective Response; OS=Overall Survival;

PET=Positron Emission Tomography Scanning; PK=Pharmacokinetics; PO=Oral Administration; PR=Partial Response; PFS=Progression Free Survival; RECIST=Response Evaluation Criteria in Solid Tumors; RR=Response Rate; SD=Stable Disease

SNS-595 (Voreloxin®):

NOV-002 & Carboplatin (Paraplatin®):

  • NOV-002 plus carboplatin in platinum-resistant ovarian cancer (2008 ASCO Abstract #5593). Patients were heavily pretreated with 11/15 patients having received 3 prior [treatment] lines. Toxicity was mild-moderate with no G4 toxicity. There was no febrile neutropenia. The most common toxicities were nausea and fatigue, as well as abdominal pain and bowel obstruction thought to be related to underlying disease. To date, there is 1 patient with PR, 7 patients with SD and 5 patients with PD, with 1 patient off-trial for patient discretion. PFS is 14 weeks. Patients tolerated this regimen extremely well, with most toxicity attributable to carboplatin alone. Conclusion: The PFS was longer than expected, with a significant proportion of these platinum resistant patients achieving clinical benefit with prolonged stable disease. [61% disease control (CR+PR+SD) rate]

Picoplatin & Pegylated Liposomal Doxorubicin (Doxil®):

  • Final results of a phase I study of picoplatin and pegylated liposomal doxorubicin [e.g. Doxil™] in advanced solid tumor malignancies (2008 ASCO Annual Mtg. Abstr. #2568 ): Picoplatin is a novel, sterically hindered platinum(II) complex designed to circumvent mechanisms of platinum resistance. Given the single agent activity seen in multiple tumor types, we conducted a phase I study of picoplatin in combination with pegylated liposomal doxorubicin (PLD) in patients with advanced solid tumors. The Phase 1 trial enrolled 16 patients with advanced solid tumors who had received up to three prior regimens for metastatic disease. Patients were administered picoplatin followed by liposomal doxorubicin on day one of a 28-day cycle. Four dose levels of picoplatin and pegylated liposomal doxorubicin were tested: 100/20, 100/30, 100/40 and 120/40 (all mg/m2). A total of 62 courses of treatment were delivered to 16 patients with a median number of four cycles per patient. A total of 12 patients were evaluable for response. One patient experienced a CR (primary peritoneal cancer) and four experienced a PR (including three of five patients with ovarian cancer). Hematologic and non-hematologic toxicity were mild. Conclusion: This study suggests that picoplatin and liposomal doxorubicin is an active combination with promising results and can be given at standard dose levels with a minimal increase in toxicity. [41% disease control (CR+PR+SD) rate among evaluable patients]

Weekly Topotecan (Hycamtin™) Monotherapy:

  • Phase II study of weekly topotecan in recurrent ovarian cancer: duration of response based on a prolonged follow-up (ASCO Annual Mtg. Abstr. #16549). Nineteen patients (median age 52 yrs, range 45-72) with EOC who progressed after 3 (11/19 patients = 57.9%), 4 (7/19 patients= 36.8%) or 5 (1/19 patients= 5.3%) previous lines of chemotherapy were treated with Topotecan at the dose of 2.0 mg/m2 via a 30-minute intravenous infusion once every week until disease progression, unacceptable toxicity or when a stability of disease was reached. Results: All patients were evaluable for toxicity and clinical response. 16/19 patients enrolled (84.2%) had stage III-IV disease. Median number of chemotherapy cycles was 7 (range 3 – 12). A total of 107 cycles were administered. Dose reduction was necessary for 13% of the cycles. Main toxicities included anemia (G1-G2=57.9%), leucopenia (G1-G2=15.8%), thrombocytopenia (G1-G2=10.5%) and asthenia (20%). No one showed a CR, while 5/19 patients experienced a PR (26.4%), 6/19 patients experienced SD (31.5%), and 8/19 patients (42.1%) experienced DP. The median PFS was 12 weeks in patients with PR; SD was maintained for a median time of 14 weeks. Conclusion: The rate of patients with ongoing stable disease (31.5%) suggests that the clinical benefit of weekly topotecan may be expected also in patients with no other viable therapeutic options. [57% disease control (CR+PR+SD) rate among evaluable patients]

Azacitidine & Carboplatin:

Combretastatin A4 Phosphate (Zybrestat™) and Bevacizumab (Avastin™):

BSI-201:

Belinostat (PXD101):

SU11248/Sunitinib (Sutent®):

AZD2281 (KU-0059436):

  • AZD2281, a PARP (poly ADP-ribose polymerase) inhibitor with single agent anticancer activity in patients with BRCA deficient ovarian cancer: Results from a phase I study (2008 ASCO Annual Mtg. Abstr. #5510) Thirty-two patients with BRCA-deficient ovarian cancer (i.e., patients with BRCA gene mutations) the majority of whom were platinum resistant/refractory are so far evaluable for response. All evaluable patients had either received treatment for at least 8 weeks (2 cycles) or progressed prior to completion of 2 cycles. Fourteen patients have achieved PR, 13 patients meeting GCIG- CA125 criteria and 10 patients meeting RECIST criteria. Of the responders, 1 patient has been on drug > 56 weeks whilst 7 patients have maintained responses for > 24 weeks. SD was seen in an additional 8 patients, 7 of whom continue on drug and 3 patients had SD > 16 weeks. Responses were seen at all dose levels from 100mg bd and above. Conclusion: AZD2281 is well tolerated and has demonstrated compelling activity in patients with BRCA deficient ovarian cancer. Responses were seen in all patient groups including platinum resistant disease. Updated efficacy data, together with a correlation of potential predictive factors including platinum free interval will be presented on a total planned cohort of 46 patients with BRCA-deficient ovarian cancer. A randomised study in BRCA-deficient ovarian cancer has been planned. [68% disease control (CR+PR+SD) rate among evaluable patients]

Gemcitibine (Gemzar™) & Epirubicin (Ellence™):

Belinostat/PXD101, Carboplatin (Paraplatin®) & Paclitaxel (Taxol™):

Pegylated Liposomal Doxorubicin (Doxil®) & Gemcitabine (Gemzar®):

Pemetrexed/LY231514 (Altima®):

Sorafenib (Nexavar™):

  • Phase II trial of sorafenib in persistent or recurrent epithelial ovarian cancer (EOC) or primary peritoneal cancer (PPC): A Gynecologic Oncology Group (GOG) study (2008 ASCO Annual Mtg. Abstr. #5537). Sorafenib is a tyrosine kinase inhibitor targeting raf and other receptor kinases (VEGF-R, PDGF-R, Flt3, c-KIT). Sorafenib may have anti-angiogenic activity through inhibition of VEGF-R. This phase II study was conducted to assess the activity and tolerability of sorafenib in patients with recurrent EOC. Methods: This was an open label multi-institutional phase II study …. Eligible patients had persistent or recurrent EOC/PPC after 1-2 prior cytotoxic regimens, measurable or detectable (e.g. by CA125) disease, and GOG performance status < 2. Patients were required to have progressed within 12 months of completing platinum based therapy. Treatment consisted of sorafenib 400 mg orally bid until disease progression or prohibitive toxicity. Primary endpoints were PFS at 6 months and toxicity by NCI criteria. Secondary endpoints were tumor response and duration of PFS/OS. Results: 73 patients were enrolled from 10/04 to 5/07 and as of 12/2007, 68 patients are evaluable (2 ineligible and 3 too early) for toxicity. Median age was 60 (range 33-80) years and prior treatment consisted of 1 regimen in 40 patients and 2 regimens in 28 patients. Significant G3 and G4 toxicities included: rash (12 patients), metabolic (10 patients), gastrointestinal (3 patients), cardiovascular (2 patients), and pulmonary (2 patients). No treatment related deaths were recorded. Only patients with measurable disease were used to assess efficacy. Among the 59 patients with measurable disease, 12 survived PFS at least 6 months. Three patients are yet to be determined. Two patients had PR; 20 had SD; 30 had DP, and 7 could not have their tumor assessed. Conclusions: Preliminary results suggest that sorafenib is tolerated in patients with recurrent EOC with dermatologic and metabolic abnormalities being the most common toxicities. Efficacy data is expected to reach maturity and be analyzed in the spring of 2007, and comprehensive results will be presented. [42% disease control (CR+PR+SD) rate among evaluable patients]

Topotecan (Hycamtin™) & Bevacizumab (Avastin™):

  • Phase II prospective study of weekly topotecan and bevacizumab in platinum refractory ovarian cancer or peritoneal cancer (OC) (2008 ASCO Annual Mtg. Abstr. #5551). Patients (pts) with platinum refractory OC have limited treatment options. Bevacizumab, an anti-angiogenesis agent has demonstrated efficacy in recurrent ovarian cancer. Bevacizumab combined with chemotherapy in other solid tumors has improved efficacy compared with bevacizumab or chemotherapy alone. Topotecan, an active drug in recurrent OC has been used in a weekly fashion with less toxicity and more acceptability than a standard 5 day regimen. Topotecan and bevacizumab have non-overlapping toxicities. We studied the efficacy and tolerability of weekly topotecan and bevacizumab in patients with platinum refractory OC. Methods: The primary objectives of this study were to evaluate PFS, OS, OR rate and toxicity of this combination regimen. Eligible pts included those with platinum refractory OC (recurrence < 6 months of platinum therapy) who had received a maximum of 2 prior chemotherapy regimens. Results: Twenty-two pts have been enrolled to date, with 11 pts remaining on study and 18 now evaluable. Best responses for the 18 evaluable pts were: 22.2% PR (n=4), 27.8% SD (n=5), and 50% DP (n=9). Eleven pts went off study due to DP (based on CT scan RECIST criteria [n=6] or general deterioration and/or bowel obstruction [n=5]). Median duration on study for the 18 evaluable pts was 15 wks (range 5-63 weeks). Four pts have had PFS >5 months. The 18 evaluable pts received a total of 91 treatment cycles. No pt went off study due to treatment related toxicity or suffered a bowel perforation. Conclusions: Combination bevacizumab and topotecan administered in a weekly fashion demonstrate good activity in platinum refractory OC with acceptable toxicity. G3-G4 Hematologic or Hypertensive Toxicities. [50% disease control (CR+PR+SD) rate among evaluable patients]

Lapatinib (Tykerb™), Carboplatin (Paraplatin®) & Paclitaxel (Taxol™):

  • Phase I/II lapatinib plus carboplatin and paclitaxel in stage III or IV relapsed ovarian cancer patients (2008 ASCO Annual Mtg. Abstr. #5556). The purpose of this study was to establish the MTD and evaluate DLTs and response to therapy of combination therapy with carboplatin/paclitaxel and lapatinib, an oral dual tyrosine kinase inhibitor of both ErbB1 and ErbB2, in Stage III /IV relapsed ovarian cancer. Methods: This was an open-label, multicenter, phase I/II study of carboplatin/paclitaxel in combination with single agent lapatinib in Stage III/IV relapsed ovarian cancer patients. Measurable disease, adequate organ function and ECOG performance status of 0-2 were required. Results: 25 ovarian cancer patients are enrolled and four are too early to be evaluable. The median age is 57 (range 39-81). The median number of prior therapeutic regimens is 4 (range 1-10). GI toxicities were primarily < grade 2 and were successfully treated with aggressive bowel management. 10 patients (pts) experienced G3 toxicities. 4 pts- leukopenia, 2 pts-neutropenia, 2 pts-hyperglycemia, 2 pts-allergic reactions to carboplatin, 1 pt-thrombocytopenia, 1 pt-lymphopenia, 1 pt-hypokalemia, 1 pt-nausea, 1 pt-diarrhea, 1 pt-bowel obstruction. Response to therapy to date is: CR=21%, PR=29%, SD=29%, PD=21%. Two patients who were in complete remission both stopped IV chemotherapy and were maintained only with lapatinib. One is still in remission after six months and one relapsed. Conclusions: Lapatinib, an oral targeted molecular therapy which inhibits both EGFR 1 and 2 tyrosine kinase activity, can be safely administered with a weekly regimen of carboplatin and paclitaxel in heavily pretreated, ovarian cancer patients. The high response rates seen warrant further investigation. [79% disease control (CR+PR+SD) rate among evaluable patients]

Ifomide, Epirubicin, & Cisplatin:

NKTR-102 (Pegylated irinotecan):

  • Phase I dose finding and pharmacokinetic study of NKTR-102 (PEGylated irinotecan): Early evidence of anti-tumor activity (2008 ASCO Annual Mtg. Abstr. #13518 ). NKTR-102 is a novel pegylated form of irinotecan with superior efficacy against a range of xenografts compared with irinotecan. Sustained tumor inhibition is associated with increased SN38 exposure. A phase I trial of NKTR-102 was conducted to establish the MTD and to characterize safety and PK in patients (pts) with refractory solid tumors. No CTC Grade 4 toxicity was observed. G3 diarrhea was dose limiting. Other toxicities included transient uncomplicated G3 neutropenia and transient infusion related visual disturbance. PK data are available for 12 pts. Two partial responses were observed in pts with advanced cervical cancer and small cell lung cancer. Anti-tumor activity was seen in 4 other pts; ovarian: CA-125 decreased from 2557 to 518, Hodgkin’s disease: 28% radiologic improvement with symptomatic benefit, adrenocortical: cortisol levels normalized, metabolic response by PET, esophageal: CEA decreased from 35.5 to 13.6, metabolic response by PET. Conclusions: NKTR-102 shows early evidence of activity in a wide spectrum of tumors. Cumulative SN38 exposure is 1.2 to 6.5 fold higher than that predicted for irinotecan. Toxicity is manageable; diarrhea (not neutropenia) is dose limiting.

ON 01910.Na:

  • Phase I study of ON 01910.Na, a novel polo-like kinase 1 pathway modulator, administered as a weekly 24-hour continuous infusion in patients with advanced cancer (2008 ASCO Annual Mtg. Abstr. #2515). ON 01910.Na induces G2/M cell cycle arrest, apoptosis, and cell death in a broad spectrum of cancer cells, but not in non-neoplastic cells. In vitro, cell killing is dependent on drug exposure time. Based on these preclinical findings, a weekly 24hr continuous infusion (CI) study to determine safety and MTD of ON 01910.Na was initiated. Methods: Patients with advanced cancers received ON 01910.Na as a weekly 24hr CI. Twenty-three pts (7:16 M:F, 45-80 yrs) have received ON 01910.Na. G2 toxicities (2-grade increase over baseline) included fatigue (3 pts) and anorexia (1 pt). Fatigue (11/23 pts) was the most common side effect, with no G3 or greater fatigue observed. Overall, three G3 events occurred, none of which were drug-related. The best response was a pt with advanced ovarian cancer who maintained stable disease for 36 wks of treatment. Conclusions: ON 01910.Na is well tolerated as a weekly 24h continuous infusion. In the dose range studied, the drug exhibited non-linear kinetics with rapid attainment of plasma concentrations that are cytotoxic to cancer cells in vitro, but have limited end-organ toxicity in vivo. Study data continues to accrue, and we expect to recommend a phase II dose shortly. Further analysis and combination phase I studies are planned.

BAY 73-4506:

  • Phase I study of BAY 73-4506, an inhibitor of oncogenic and angiogenic kinases, in patients with advanced solid tumors: Final results of a dose-escalation study (2008 ASCO Annual Mtg. Abstr. #2558 ). BAY 73-4506 is a potent tyrosine kinase inhibitor of receptor tyrosine kinases (VEGFR, PDGF, RET, KIT, FGFR) and serine/threonine kinases (raf and p38MAPK). In tumor xenograft models, BAY 73-4506 demonstrated a broad spectrum antitumor activity. Methods: This phase I study was a dose-escalation trial investigating the safety, PK, and pharmacodynamic (PD) profile of BAY 73-4506, given orally in 21 days on/7 days off cycles, until discontinuation due to toxicity or tumor progression. PK was assessed on days 1 and 21 of cycle 1. PD markers including DCE-MRI, soluble VEGFR-2 (sVEGFR-2) and VEGF plasma levels were assessed at each cycle. Tumor response was evaluated as per RECIST. Results: 52 patients (pts) with solid tumors and progressive disease were enrolled and treated with doses of 10 to 220 mg once daily. Frequent tumor types included colorectal cancer (CRC) (31%), malignant melanoma (10%), and ovarian cancer (10%). The median treatment duration was 49.5 days (min. 3, max. 609). Drug-related adverse events (AEs) of all grades reported in >20% of pts were hoarseness (54%), dermatological toxicities (50%; CTC G3-G4: 13%), mucositis (35%), diarrhea (25%; CTC 3: 2%), fatigue (23%; CTC 3: 2%), and hypertension (23%; CTC 3: 6%). Treatment-related AEs leading to dose reduction, interruption or discontinuation were hand foot skin reaction (15%), diarrhea (8%), and thrombopenia (6%). Of the 33 evaluable pts, 9% achieved a partial response (PR), 64% had stable disease (SD), at least 7 weeks after start of treatment, and 48% had SD or PR for more than 11 weeks. Conclusions: The recommended phase II dose for BAY 73-4506 is 160 mg daily, using the 21 days on/7 days off treatment schedule. Clinical activity (PR+SD) has been demonstrated in 73% of the evaluable pts. An extension cohort (dose level 160 mg) has been started.