Background: Pegylated liposomal doxorubicin (PLD) is an established treatment for relapsed ovarian cancer. Preclinical and clinical evidences in other tumor types suggest that the proteasome inhibitor bortezomib can act synergistically with PLD.
Methods: Patients with relapsed ovarian cancer (N = 58), previously treated with platinum (100%) and taxane (95%), received bortezomib, 1.3 mg/m intravenous (days 1, 4, 8, and 11), and PLD, 30 mg/m intravenous (day 1), every 3 weeks. Tumor responses were assessed using Response Evaluation Criteria In Solid Tumors and Gynecologic Cancer Intergroup criteria. An optimal 2-stage design was implemented. Gene expression profiling in peripheral blood was characterized before and during treatment in 10 platinum-sensitive patients enrolled in stage 2 of the study.
Results: Median number of bortezomib-PLD cycles was 3.5. Of 38 patients in the platinum-sensitive group, 9 responses were observed (median duration, 4.8 months). The platinum-resistant group was closed at stage 1 owing to lack of response. Toxicity was moderate and mainly consisted of hematologic, gastrointestinal, and mucositis events. Of the total 58 patients, peripheral neuropathy was reported in 9 patients (none were grade 3). Transcription profiling identified the prevalence of genes associated with ribonucleoprotein complexes, RNA processing, and protein translation. The gene expression changes were more robust in patients who responded or had stable disease compared with patients who had progressive disease.
Conclusions: The combination of bortezomib and PLD was well tolerated, but the antitumor activity is insufficient to warrant further investigation in ovarian cancer.