PURPOSE: We conducted a phase I/II clinical trial to determine the safety and feasibility of combining vorinostat with 5-fluorouracil (5-FU) in patients with metastatic colorectal cancer (mCRC) and elevated intratumoral thymidylate synthase (TS).
METHODS: Patients with mCRC who had failed all standard therapeutic options were eligible. Intratumoral TS mRNA expression and peripheral blood mononuclear cell (PBMC) histone acetylation were measured before and after 6 consecutive days of vorinostat treatment at 400 mg PO daily. 5-FU/LV were given on days 6 and 7 and repeated every 2 weeks, along with continuous daily vorinostat. Dose escalation occurred in cohorts of three to six patients.
RESULTS: Ten patients were enrolled. Three dose levels were explored in the phase I portion of the study. Two dose-limiting toxicities (DLTs) were observed at the starting dose level, which resulted in dose de-escalation to levels -1 and -2. Given the occurrence of two DLTs at each of the dose levels, we were unable to establish a maximum tolerated dose (MTD). Two patients achieved significant disease stabilization for 4 and 6 months. Grade 3 and 4 toxicities included fatigue, thrombocytopenia and mucositis. Intratumoral TS downregulation > or = 50% was observed in one patient only. Acetylation of histone 3 was observed in PBMCs following vorinostat treatment.
CONCLUSIONS: The study failed to establish a MTD and was terminated. The presence of PBMC histone acetylation indicates biological activity of vorinostat, however, consistent reductions in intratumoral TS mRNA were not observed. Alternate vorinostat dose-scheduling may alleviate the toxicity and achieve optimal TS downregulation.
- Antineoplastic Combined Chemotherapy Protocols
- Colorectal Neoplasms
- Dose-Response Relationship, Drug
- Drug Resistance, Neoplasm
- Histone Acetyltransferases
- Hydroxamic Acids
- Leukocytes, Mononuclear
- Maximum Tolerated Dose
- Middle Aged
- RNA, Messenger
- Thymidylate Synthase
- Treatment Failure