Purpose: This phase II study was undertaken to define the efficacy and pharmacodynamics of R115777, a farnesyl transferase inhibitor, in the first-line treatment of patients with advanced non-small-cell lung cancer.
Patients and methods: Forty-four patients with measurable stage IIIB (pleural effusion) or stage IV disease received 193 courses of treatment (median, 2.0; range, 1 to 22) with R115777 300 mg administered orally twice daily for 21 of every 28 days. Buccal mucosa samples and peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs) were collected before and after 8 days of treatment to evaluate inhibition of farnesyl transferase in vivo.
Results: No objective complete or partial responses were documented. Seven patients (16%; 95% confidence interval [CI], 8% to 31%) had disease stabilization for greater than 6 months. Median survival was 7.7 months (95% CI, 6.5 to 10.5) and time to progression was 2.7 months (95% CI, 1.9 to 3.1). The most severe toxicity was neutropenia (9% grade 3, 7% grade 4) and the most common toxicities were anemia (50% grade 1 or 2, 5% grade 3) and anorexia (50% grade 1 or 2, 2% grade 3). Mild peripheral neuropathy occurred in 25% of patients. Evidence of farnesyl transferase inhibition was documented in 83% of patients.
Conclusion: Single-agent R115777 was well tolerated in patients with advanced NSCLC, but demonstrated minimal clinical activity. Inhibition of farnesylation in vivo was consistently documented. On the basis of promising results of farnesyl transferase inhibitor combinations with standard chemotherapy agents, future studies of this agent in NSCLC should be in combination with systemic chemotherapy.