A double-blind, placebo-controlled, randomized phase III trial of chemotherapy plus epigenetic therapy with hydralazine valproate for advanced cervical cancer. Preliminary results

Med Oncol. 2011 Dec;28 Suppl 1:S540-6. doi: 10.1007/s12032-010-9700-3. Epub 2010 Oct 8.


The reversing of epigenetic aberrations using the inhibitors of DNA methylation and histone deacetylases may have therapeutic value in cervical cancer. This is a randomized phase III, placebo-controlled study of hydralazine and valproate (HV) added to cisplatin topotecan in advanced cervical cancer. Patients received hydralazine at 182 mg for rapid, or 83 mg for slow acetylators, and valproate at 30 mg/kg, beginning a week before chemotherapy and continued until disease progression. Response, toxicity, and PFS were evaluated, and 36 patients (17 CT + HV and 19 CT + PLA) were included. The median number of cycles was 6. There were four PRs to CT + HV and one in CT + PLA. Stable disease in five (29%) and six (32%) patients, respectively, whereas eight (47%) and 12 (63%) showed progression (P = 0.27). At a median follow-up time of 7 months (1-22), the median PFS is 6 months for CT + PLA and 10 months for CT + HV (P = 0.0384, two tailed). Although preliminary, this study represents the first randomized clinical trial to demonstrate a significant advantage in progression-free survival for epigenetic therapy over one of the current standard combination chemotherapy in cervical cancer. Molecular correlates with response and survival from this trial are pending to analyze.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial, Phase III
  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Antineoplastic Combined Chemotherapy Protocols / administration & dosage*
  • Combined Modality Therapy / methods
  • Double-Blind Method
  • Epigenesis, Genetic*
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Genetic Therapy / methods*
  • Humans
  • Hydralazine / administration & dosage
  • Middle Aged
  • Survival Rate
  • Uterine Cervical Neoplasms / genetics*
  • Uterine Cervical Neoplasms / mortality
  • Uterine Cervical Neoplasms / therapy*
  • Valproic Acid / administration & dosage


  • Hydralazine
  • Valproic Acid