Background: The objective of this study was to assess the safety, maximum tolerated dose (MTD), pharmacokinetics, pharmacodynamics, and preliminary efficacy of SB939, a novel histone deacetylase (HDAC) inhibitor, in patients with advanced solid malignancies.
Patients and methods: Dose-escalating cohorts of three to six patients received SB939 orally thrice weekly for 3 weeks in a 4-week cycle. Acetylated histone H3 (acH3) was measured in peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs).
Results: Thirty patients treated at one of five doses (10-80 mg/day) received 79 cycles of SB939 (range, 1-12 cycles). Dose-limiting toxic effects were fatigue, hypokalemia, troponin T elevation, and QTc prolongation. Peak plasma concentration (C(max)) and area under the concentration-time curve extrapolated to infinity increased dose proportionally. The MTD of SB939 was 80 mg/day. The mean elimination half-life and oral clearance of SB939 were 7.2 ± 0.6 h and 53.0 ± 8.5 l/h, respectively, with no substantial accumulation on day 15. An increase in acH3 was observed at hour 3 and correlated with dose and C(max). Stable disease was seen in several tumor types treated at ≥40 mg. HDAC inhibition was consistently observed at 60 mg, the recommended dose.
Conclusions: SB939 can be safely administered at the recommended dose and reaches plasma levels that strongly inhibit HDAC in PBMCs. These data support further efficacy studies of SB939.