A phase I safety, tolerability, and pharmacokinetic study of enzastaurin combined with capecitabine in patients with advanced solid tumors

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Enzastaurin, an oral inhibitor of protein kinase Cβ, affects signal transduction associated with angiogenesis, proliferation, and survival. Capecitabine is converted to 5-fluoruracil by thymidine phosphorylase, a putative angiogenic factor. The all-oral combination of the two drugs offers the potential for targeting angiogenesis in capecitabine-sensitive tumors with nonoverlapping toxicities. Patients with advanced cancer initially received single-agent enzastaurin to achieve steady-state concentrations (cycle 1). In subsequent 21-day cycles, enzastaurin was given orally, once daily, on days 1–21 and capecitabine orally, twice daily (b.i.d.), on days 1–14 in three dose-level cohorts. Three dose-escalation cohorts were studied: cohort 1 (n=8), 350 mg of enzastaurin +capecitabine (750 mg/m2 b.i.d.); cohort 2 (n=7), enzastaurin (350 mg)+capecitabine (1000 mg/m2 b.i.d.); cohort 3 (n=12), 525-mg capsules or 500-mg enzastaurin+capecitabine (1000 mg/m2 b.i.d.). Further dose escalation was not pursued because of emerging data that enzastaurin systemic exposure did not increase at doses above 525 mg. Although a traditional toxicity-based maximum tolerated dose was not achieved, the highest dosing cohort represented a biologically relevant dose of enzastaurin, on the basis of preclinical data and correlative pharmacodynamic biomarker assays of protein kinase Cβ inhibition in peripheral blood mononucleocytes, in combination with a standard dose of capecitabine. For the 500/525-mg dose, ratios of total enzastaurin analyte geometric means (i.e. enzastaurin alone versus enzastaurin with capecitabine) reflected a trend toward decreased enzastaurin exposure, but did not reach statistical significance. The pharmacokinetic parameters of capecitabine with enzastaurin were similar to those previously reported for single-agent capecitabine. The regimen was well tolerated, without any consistent pattern of drug-related grade 3 or grade 4 toxicities being observed. Although no objective tumor responses were documented, five patients maintained stable disease for ≥6 months (range: 6–9.7 months). The recommended phase II dose of this combination, based on the results of this study, is enzastaurin at a daily dose of 500 mg (tablet formulation) and capecitabine (1000 mg/m2, b.i.d.) on days 1–14 every 21 days. Further disease-directed studies are warranted, such as in malignancies in the treatment of which both capecitabine and inhibitors of angiogenesis have previously been benchmarked as being effective.

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