Purpose: Halofuginone (tempostatin) is a synthetic derivative of a quinazolinone alkaloid showing anti-angiogenic, anti-metastatic and anti-proliferative effects in preclinical studies. The objectives of this phase I study were to assess the dose-limiting toxicities (DLTs), to determine the maximum tolerated dose (MTD) and to study the pharmacokinetics (PKs) of halofuginone when administered once or twice daily orally to patients with advanced solid tumours.
Methods: Patients were treated with escalating doses of halofuginone at doses ranging from 0.5 to 3.5 mg/day. For pharmacokinetic analysis plasma sampling was performed during the first and second course and assayed using a validated high-performance liquid chromatographic assay with mass spectrometric detection.
Results: Twenty-four patients received a total of 106 courses. The 'acute' MTD was reached at 3.5 mg/day, with nausea, vomiting, and fatigue as DLT. The recommended dose for chronic administration was defined as 0.5mg/day with the requirement of 5HT3 antagonists to control nausea and vomiting considered as DLT. Several patients experienced bleeding complications on treatment with halofuginone in which a causal relationship could not be excluded. The PKs of halofuginone were linear over the dose range studied with a large interpatient variability.
Conclusions: In this study the DLT of halofuginone was nausea, vomiting, and fatigue. The recommended dose for phase II studies of halofuginone is 0.5mg administered orally, once daily.