Background: The Notch signalling pathway is activated in a variety of malignancies and has been implicated in colorectal cancer progression. One of the first steps in the Notch pathway activation is mediated by γ-secretase, a proteolytic enzyme which produces an activated intracellular Notch (ICN). RO4929097 is a selective inhibitor of γ-secretase. We tested the activity of RO4929097 in patients with metastatic, refractory colorectal cancer.
Patients and methods: Patients with metastatic colorectal cancer who had received at least two prior lines of systemic chemotherapy were enrolled on the study. Patients were treated with RO4929097 at its recommended phase II dose of 20mg daily, 3 days on and 4 days off continuously. Cycle length was 28 days. Imaging was performed every two cycles. Archival tissue specimens were stained immunohistochemically for components of the notch pathway: Notch1, ICN and the downstream target HES1.
Results: Thirty-seven patients were enrolled of whom 33 were evaluable for toxicity and response. Immunohistochemical analysis of archival tissues demonstrated positive staining for the notch receptor as well as intracellular notch and the downstream gene HES1 in the majority of patients. Nevertheless, no objective radiographic responses were observed in this group and only six patients had stable disease as their best response. Median PFS was 1.8 months and median overall survival (OS) was 6.0 months.
Conclusion: In this study of RO4929097 in patients with refractory metastatic colorectal cancer, no radiographic responses were seen and time to progression was short, which suggests that RO4929097 at the study dose and schedule has minimal single agent activity in this malignancy.
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