Cilengitide (EMD 121974) arrests the growth of a heavily pretreated highly vascularised head and neck tumour

Oral Oncol. 2004 Feb;40(2):228-30. doi: 10.1016/j.oraloncology.2003.08.003.


The suppression and eradication of malignant tumours by targeting the endothelial cells of the tumour is one of the rapidly evolving new approaches to cancer therapy. Head and neck tumours, because of their high levels of vascularization, present themselves as ideal candidates for such antiangiogenic strategies. We report a heavily pretreated patient with a tumour 15 cm in diameter representing fourth relapse of squamous cell carcinoma, which had its origin in the upper left jaw. The patient was treated with the antiangiogenetic, cyclic peptide, EMD 121974 [cilengitide] (600 mg/m2 over 60 minutes i.v.) on day 1 and 4 in combination with gemcitabine (1000 mg/m2 over 30 minutes) administered days 1 and 8 every 3 weeks for five months, and a partial remission was achieved. This resulted in a clinical improvement in the ability of the patient to eat and smell. The patient remained stable for 12 months on cilengitide mainenance therapy, with no tendency towards spontaneous bleeding. This clinical case demonstrates the clinical efficacy of the antiangiogenetic agent cilengitide, in combination with gemcitabine, in inhibiting rapid growth of highly vascularized tumour and highlights the potential of this new therapeutic agent

Publication types

  • Case Reports

MeSH terms

  • Angiogenesis Inhibitors / administration & dosage*
  • Antineoplastic Combined Chemotherapy Protocols / therapeutic use*
  • Carcinoma, Squamous Cell / drug therapy*
  • Carcinoma, Squamous Cell / pathology
  • Deoxycytidine / administration & dosage
  • Deoxycytidine / analogs & derivatives*
  • Facial Neoplasms / drug therapy*
  • Facial Neoplasms / pathology
  • Humans
  • Jaw Neoplasms / drug therapy*
  • Jaw Neoplasms / pathology
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Snake Venoms / administration & dosage*


  • Angiogenesis Inhibitors
  • Snake Venoms
  • Deoxycytidine
  • Cilengitide
  • gemcitabine