A Phase I-II Trial of Lovastatin for Anaplastic Astrocytoma and Glioblastoma Multiforme

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Malignant gliomas are thought to be highly dependent on the mevalonate pathway for cell growth. Lovastatin, a cholesterol-lowering drug, inhibits not only the rate-limiting step in the mevalonate pathway (hepatic hydroxymethyl glutaryl coenzyme A reductase), but also the prenylation of several key regulatory proteins including ras and the small guanosine triphosphate binding proteins. Therefore, from August 1994 through March 1996, 18 patients with either anaplastic glioma or glioblastoma multiforme were entered into a trial testing the safety of high-dose lovastatin with or without radiation. Although the response data is too premature to evaluate activity, the fact that high doses of lovastatin are well tolerated with concurrent radiation suggests that central nervous system toxicity will not be a significant limiting toxicity as more selective farnesyltransferase inhibitors are brought into the clinic as radiation sensitizers.

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