Purpose: Everolimus is a selective mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR) inhibitor with promising anticancer activity. In order to identify a rationally based dose and schedule for cancer treatment, we have conducted a tumor pharmacodynamic phase I study in patients with advanced solid tumors.
Patients and methods: Fifty-five patients were treated with everolimus in cohorts of 20, 50, and 70 mg weekly or 5 and 10 mg daily. Dose escalation depended on dose limiting toxicity (DLT) rate during the first 4-week period. Pre- and on-treatment steady-state tumor and skin biopsies were evaluated for total and phosphorylated (p) protein S6 kinase 1, eukaryotic initiation factor 4E (elF-4E) binding protein 1 (4E-BP1), eukaryotic initiation factor 4G (eIF-4G), AKT, and Ki-67 expression. Plasma trough levels of everolimus were determined on a weekly basis before dosing during the first 4 weeks.
Results: We observed a dose- and schedule-dependent inhibition of the mTOR pathway with a near complete inhibition of pS6 and peIF-4G at 10 mg/d and >or= 50 mg/wk. In addition, pAKT was upregulated in 50% of the treated tumors. In the daily schedule, there was a correlation between everolimus plasma trough concentrations and inhibition of peIF4G and p4E-BP1. There was good concordance of mTOR pathway inhibition between skin and tumor. Clinical benefit was observed in four patients including one patient with advanced colorectal cancer achieving a partial response. DLTs occurred in five patients: one patient at 10 mg/d (grade 3 stomatitis) and four patients at 70 mg/wk (two with grade 3 stomatitis, one with grade 3 neutropenia, and one with grade 3 hyperglycemia).
Conclusion: Everolimus achieved mTOR signaling inhibition at doses below the DLT. A dosage of 10 mg/d or 50 mg/wk is recommended for further development.