Purpose: To determine the safety, dosing schedules, pharmacokinetic profile, and biologic effect of orally administered histone deacetylase inhibitor suberoylanilide hydroxamic acid (SAHA) in patients with advanced cancer.
Patients and methods: Patients with solid and hematologic malignancies were treated with oral SAHA administered once or twice a day on a continuous basis or twice daily for 3 consecutive days per week. Pharmacokinetic profile and bioavailibity of oral SAHA were determined. Western blots and enzyme-linked immunosorbent assays of histones isolated from peripheral-blood mononuclear cells (PBMNCs) pre and post-therapy were performed to evaluate target inhibition.
Results: Seventy-three patients were treated with oral SAHA and major dose-limiting toxicities were anorexia, dehydration, diarrhea, and fatigue. The maximum tolerated dose was 400 mg qd and 200 mg bid for continuous daily dosing and 300 mg bid for 3 consecutive days per week dosing. Oral SAHA had linear pharmacokinetics from 200 to 600 mg, with an apparent half-life ranging from 91 to 127 minutes and 43% oral bioavailability. Histones isolated from PBMNCs showed consistent accumulation of acetylated histones post-therapy, and enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay demonstrated a trend towards a dose-dependent accumulation of acetylated histones from 200 to 600 mg of oral SAHA. There was one complete response, three partial responses, two unconfirmed partial responses, and 22 (30%) patients remained on study for 4 to 37+ months.
Conclusions: Oral SAHA has linear pharmacokinetics and good bioavailability, inhibits histone deacetylase activity in PBMNCs, can be safely administered chronically, and has a broad range of antitumor activity.