Trabectedin in soft tissue sarcomas

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Trabectedin (Yondelis®; PharmaMar, Madrid, Spain), a synthetic anticancer agent originally isolated from the Caribbean tunicate, Ecteinascidia turbinata, is currently approved in more than 70 countries worldwide for the treatment of soft tissue sarcoma (STS). Trabectedin is an isoquinoline alkylating agent that, unlike other alkylating agents, binds in the DNA minor groove to initiate cytotoxic activity. Other multitarget mechanisms of action of trabectedin include important effects within the tumor microenvironment; in particular, trabectedin possesses indirect anti-inflammatory and anti-angiogenic activity via tumor-associated macrophages and high-specificity modulation of various transcription factors. The clinical efficacy of trabectedin, administered intravenously over 24 h every 3 weeks, has been demonstrated in several studies in patients with STS. In the Phase II STS-201 trial, 270 patients with liposarcoma or leiomyosarcoma were randomized to receive trabectedin 1.5 mg/m2 given as a 24-h intravenous (iv.) infusion every 3 weeks or as a weekly regimen (0.58 mg/m2; 3-h iv. infusion for three consecutive weeks in a 4-week cycle). There was a statistically significant and clinically relevant 27% reduction in the risk of disease progression (primary end point) with trabectedin given as a 24-h infusion q3w (p = 0.0302) with an overall survival rate at 12 months of 60%. Trabectedin was generally well tolerated; the most frequently reported severe adverse events were neutropenia (47% of patients) and elevated transaminases (47%). Overall, the majority of adverse events were mild to moderate and, despite a long duration of exposure to trabectedin in some patients, no cumulative toxicities were experienced.

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