Introduction: Perifosine is a novel targeted oral Akt inhibitor currently in Phase III clinical development for treatment of colorectal cancer (CRC, in combination with capecitabine) and multiple myeloma (MM, in combination with bortezomib and dexamethasone).
Areas covered: The mechanism, preclinical testing, and clinical activity of perifosine in CRC and MM are discussed, with supportive pharmacokinetic information presented. Appropriate literature searches were carried out for background and discussion purposes.
Expert opinion: In preclinical models, perifosine has been shown to target phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase-Akt signaling. In CRC cell lines, preclinical studies indicate that perifosine may enhance the cytotoxic effects of fluorouracil, likely primarily through the nuclear transcription factor-kappa B pathway. A placebo-controlled Phase II randomized trial of capecitabine ± perifosine in previously treated patients with metastatic CRC showed the combination to be superior. In MM, Phase I/II clinical trials have established the optimal dosing schedule for perifosine and bortezomib in combination, and demonstrated that perifosine can sensitize to, or overcome resistance to, bortezomib, associated with prolonged responses and a favorable side effect profile. Ultimately, the favorable tolerability of perifosine will allow for its testing in combination with multiple targeted therapies to improve PFS and OS, which represent an important unmet need in these populations.