PURPOSE: Dose and schedule optimization of treatment with tyrosine kinase inhibitors is of utmost importance. On the basis of preclinical data, a phase I clinical trial of once weekly or once every 2 weeks administration of high-dose sunitinib in patients with refractory solid malignancies was conducted.
PATIENTS AND METHODS: Patients with advanced cancer refractory to standard treatment were eligible. With use of a standard 3 + 3 phase I design, patients received escalating doses of sunitinib, in 100 mg increments, starting at 200 mg once weekly. In both the once weekly and once every 2 weeks cohorts, 10 more patients were included at the maximum tolerated dose level. Primary end points were safety and tolerability.
RESULTS: Sixty-nine patients with advanced cancer, predominantly colorectal cancer (42%), were treated with this alternative dosing regimen. Maximum tolerated dose was established at 300 mg once weekly and 700 mg once every 2 weeks, resulting in nine- and 18-fold higher maximum plasma concentrations compared with standard dose, respectively. Treatment was well tolerated, with fatigue (81%), nausea (48%), and anorexia (33%) being the most frequent adverse events. The only grade 3 or 4 treatment-related adverse event in 5% or more of patients was fatigue (6%). Sixty-three percent of patients had significant clinical benefit, with a 30% progression-free survival of 5 months or more.
CONCLUSION: Sunitinib administered once weekly at 300 mg or once every 2 weeks at 700 mg is feasible, with comparable tolerability as daily administration. Administration of 700 mg once every 2 weeks can be considered as the most optimal schedule because of the highest maximum plasma concentration being reached. The promising preliminary antitumor activity of this alternative schedule in heavily pretreated patients warrants further clinical evaluation and might ultimately indicate a class characteristic of tyrosine kinase inhibitors.