Phase 1/2 Clinical Trial of Interferon α2b and Weekly Liposome-encapsulated All-trans Retinoic Acid in Patients With Advanced Renal Cell Carcinoma

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To evaluate the feasibility, efficacy, and biologic effects of weekly liposome-encapsulated all-trans retinoic acid (ATRA-IV) plus interferon α2b (IFN) in patients with advanced renal cell carcinoma (RCC). Twenty-six patients with metastatic RCC were treated on a phase 1/2 trial with weekly ATRA-IV and IFN SQ daily 5 d/wk. Twelve patients received ATRA-IV at three dose levels (60, 75, and 90 mg/m2) according to phase 1 methodology, and 14 additional patients received 90 mg/m2. Response was assessed according to an intention-to-treat analysis. Serum retinoic acid (RA) concentrations were assayed and peripheral blood mononuclear cell mRNA expression of RA and IFN-inducible genes (RARα, RARβ2, IRF1, CRABP2, and TRAIL) were examined. No dose limiting toxicities occurred at 60 mg/m2; grade 3 leukopenia affected 1/6 patients at 75 mg/m2, whereas 3 patients received 90 mg/m2 without a dose limiting toxicities. Fourteen additional patients received 90 mg/m2 ATRA-IV without grade 3/4 toxicity. Five of 26 (19%) patients achieved a major response, with a median duration of 14 months (range 9 to 23); 9 additional patients (41%) demonstrated stable disease or minor response lasting ≥4 months. No significant differences in serum (RA) after ATRA infusion were detected between weeks 1 and 8 of treatment. Peripheral blood mononuclear cell mRNA expression did not correlate with clinical response. The addition of weekly ATRA-IV to IFN therapy is feasible and well tolerated, resulting in sustainable increased serum (RA). This regimen demonstrates antitumor activity in metastatic RCC, and suggests ATRA-IV augments IFN therapy.

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