- Gemcitabine plus sorafenib versus gemcitabine alone in advanced biliary tract cancer: a double-blind placebo-controlled multicentre phase II AIO study with biomarker and serum programme (2014)
- Background: Since sorafenib has shown activity in different tumour types and gemcitabine regimens improved the outcome for biliary tract cancer (BTC) patients, we evaluated first-line gemcitabine plus sorafenib in a double-blind phase II study. Patients and methods: 102 unresectable or metastatic BTC patients with histologically proven adenocarcinoma of gallbladder or intrahepatic bile ducts, Eastern Cooperative Oncology Group (ECOG) 0–2 were randomised to gemcitabine (1000 mg/m2 once weekly, first 7-weeks + 1-week rest followed by once 3-weeks + 1-week rest) plus sorafenib (400 mg twice daily) or placebo. Treatment continued until progression or unacceptable toxicity. Tumour samples were prospectively stained for sorafenib targets and potential biomarkers. Serum samples (first two cycles) were measured for vascular endothelial growth factors (VEGFs), vascular endothelial growth factor receptor 2 (VEGFR-2) and stromal cell-derived factor 1 (SDF1)α by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA). Results: Gemcitabine plus sorafenib was generally well tolerated. Four and three patients achieved partial responses in the sorafenib and placebo groups, respectively. There was no difference in the primary end-point, median progression-free survival (PFS) for gemcitabine plus sorafenib versus gemcitabine plus placebo (3.0 versus 4.9 months, P = 0.859), and no difference for median overall survival (OS) (8.4 versus 11.2 months, P = 0.775). Patients with liver metastasis after resection of primary BTC survived longer with sorafenib (P = 0.019) compared to placebo. Patients who developed hand-foot syndrome (HFS) showed longer PFS and OS than patients without HFS. Two sorafenib targets, VEGFR-2 and c-kit, were not expressed in BTC samples. VEGFR-3 and Hif1α were associated with lymph node metastases and T stage. Absence of PDGFRβ expression correlated with longer PFS. Conclusion: The addition of sorafenib to gemcitabine did not demonstrate improved efficacy in advanced BTC patients. Biomarker subgroup analysis suggested that some patients might benefit from combined treatment.
- Thymostimulin versus placebo for palliative treatment of locally advanced or metastasised hepatocellular carcinoma: a phase III clinical trial (2010)
- Background: Thymostimulin is a thymic peptide fraction with immune-mediated cytotoxicity against hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) in vitro and palliative efficacy in advanced HCC in two independent phase II trials. The aim of this study was to assess the efficacy of thymostimulin in a phase III trial. Methods: The study was designed as a prospective randomised, placebo-controlled, double-blind, multicenter clinical phase III trial. Between 10/2002 and 03/2005, 135 patients with locally advanced or metastasised HCC (Karnofsky [greater than or equal to]60% / Child-Pugh [less than or equal to]12) were randomised to receive thymostimulin 75 mg s.c. 5x/week or placebo stratified according to liver function. Primary endpoint was twelve-month survival, secondary endpoints overall survival (OS), time to progression (TTP), tumor response, safety and quality of life. A subgroup analysis according to liver function, KPS and tumor stage (Okuda, CLIP and BCLC) formed part of the protocol. Current Controlled Trials ISRCTN64487365. Results: Twelve-month survival was 28% [95%CI 17-41; treatment] and 32% [95%CI 19-44; control] with no significant differences in median OS (5.0 [95% CI 3.7-6.3] vs. 5.2 [95% CI 3.5-6.9] months; p=0.87, HR=1.04 [95% CI 0.7-1.6]) or TTP (5.3 [95%CI 2.0-8.6] vs. 2.9 [95%CI 2.6-3.1] months; p=0.60, HR=1.13 [95% CI 0.7-1.8]). Adjustment for liver function, Karnofsky status or tumor stage did not affect results. While quality of life was similar in both groups, fewer patients on thymostimulin suffered from accumulating ascites and renal failure. Conclusions: In our phase III trial, we found no evidence of any benefit to thymostimulin in the treatment of advanced HCC and there is therefore no justification for its use as single-agent treatment. The effect of thymostimulin on hepato-renal function requires further confirmation. trial registration: Current Controlled Trials ISRCTN64487365