Abstract Title:

A phase I study of intravenous artesunate in patients with advanced solid tumor malignancies.

Abstract Source:

Cancer Chemother Pharmacol. 2018 03 ;81(3):587-596. Epub 2018 Feb 1. PMID: 29392450

Abstract Author(s):

John F Deeken, Hongkun Wang, Marion Hartley, Amrita K Cheema, Brandon Smaglo, Jimmy J Hwang, Aiwu Ruth He, Louis M Weiner, John L Marshall, Giuseppe Giaccone, Stephen Liu, Jim Luecht, Jay Y Spiegel, Michael J Pishvaian

Article Affiliation:

John F Deeken


PURPOSE: The artemisinin class of anti-malarial drugs has shown significant anti-cancer activity in pre-clinical models. Proposed anti-cancer mechanisms include DNA damage, inhibition of angiogenesis, TRAIL-mediated apoptosis, and inhibition of signaling pathways. We performed a phase I study to determine the maximum tolerated dose (MTD) and dose-limiting toxicities (DLTs) of intravenous artesunate (IV AS).

METHODS: Patients were enrolled in an accelerated titration dose escalation study with planned dose levels of 8, 12, 18, 25, 34 and 45 mg/kg given on days 1 and 8 of a 21-day cycle. Toxicities were assessed using the NCI CTCAE (ver. 4.0), and response was assessed using RECIST criteria (version 1.1). Pharmacokinetic (PK) studies were performed during cycle 1.

RESULTS: A total of 19 pts were enrolled, 18 of whom were evaluable for toxicity and 15 were evaluable for efficacy. DLTs were seen at dosages of 12 (1 of 6 patients), 18 (1 of 6) and 25 mg/kg (2 of 2), and were neutropenic fever (Gr 4), hypersensitivity reaction (Gr 3), liver function test abnormalities (Gr 3/4) along with neutropenic fever, and nausea/vomiting (Gr 3) despite supportive care. The MTD was determined to be 18 mg/kg. No responses were observed, while four patientshad stable disease, including three with prolonged stable disease for 8, 10, and 11 cycles, for a disease control rate of 27%. PK parameters of AS and its active metabolite, dihydroartemisinin (DHA), correlated with dose.

CONCLUSION: The MTD of intravenous artesunate is 18 mg/kg on this schedule. Treatment was well tolerated. Modest clinical activity was seen in this pre-treated population. CLINICALTRIALS.


Study Type : Human Study

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