Purpose: To determine the maximum-tolerated dose, dose-limiting toxicity (DLT), and pharmacodynamics of the proteasome inhibitor bortezomib (formerly PS-341) in children with recurrent or refractory solid tumors.
Patients and methods: An intravenous bolus of bortezomib was administered twice weekly for 2 consecutive weeks at either 1.2 or 1.6 mg/m2/dose followed by a 1-week rest. The pharmacodynamics of bortezomib were evaluated by measurement of whole blood 20S proteasome activity.
Results: Fifteen patients, 11 assessable, were enrolled between November 2001 and February 2003. Dose-limiting thrombocytopenia, which prevented administration of a complete course (four doses in 2 weeks) of therapy, occurred in two of five assessable children enrolled at the 1.6 mg/m2 dose level. There were no other DLTs. Inhibition of 20S proteasome activity seemed to be dose dependent. The average inhibition 1 hour after drug administration on day 1 was 67.2% +/- 7.6% at the 1.2 mg/m2/dose and 76.5% +/- 3.3% at the 1.6 mg/m2/dose. There were no objective antitumor responses.
Conclusion: Bortezomib is well tolerated in children with recurrent or refractory solid tumors. The recommended phase II dose of bortezomib for children with solid tumors is 1.2 mg/m2/dose, administered as an intravenous bolus twice weekly for 2 weeks followed by a 1-week break.