Background: Lenvatinib (E7080), an oral multi-kinase inhibitor, has inhibitory action on tumor cell proliferation and tumor angiogenesis in preclinical models. We evaluated correlations between pharmacodynamic (PD) biomarkers with patient clinical outcomes in a lenvatinib phase 1 dose-escalation study.
Methods: Plasma angiogenic proteins were evaluated as potential PD biomarkers of response to lenvatinib in a dose-escalation phase 1 study. Lenvatinib was administered to 27 patients by twice-daily dosing in 3-week cycles; 2 weeks of treatment followed by 1 week of rest until discontinuation. Blood samples for plasma proteins were collected on days 1 (baseline), 8, and 15 of cycle 1, and days 1, 8, and 15 of cycle 2. Selected clinical outcomes, including tumor shrinkage and adverse events (AEs), were used for correlative analyses of pharmacokinetic parameters and PD biomarkers.
Results: Tumor shrinkage and changes in PD biomarkers (increased vascular endothelial growth factor [VEGF] and stromal cell-derived factor 1 alpha [SDF1α] levels and decreased soluble VEGF receptor 2 [sVEGFR2] levels) significantly correlated with increasing lenvatinib exposure. Observed changes in levels of VEGF, SDF1α, and sVEGFR2 were maintained on day 15 of cycle 1, but returned to baseline during the 1-week rest period, and similar changes were induced by reinstitution of treatment in cycle 2. The worst grades of hypertension, proteinuria, and fatigue were associated with changes in VEGF and HGF at day 8 of cycle 1. Maximum tumor shrinkage was correlated with increased SDF1α levels. Decreased sVEGFR2 level was also correlated with tumor shrinkage and frequency of hypertension, proteinuria, and fatigue. Tumor shrinkage significantly correlated with the worst grade of proteinuria, but not with hypertension or fatigue.
Conclusion: PD biomarker changes observed in plasma angiogenic proteins are correlated with lenvatinib-induced tumor shrinkage and AEs. Our findings warrant further assessment of plasma proteins associated with angiogenesis as potential biomarkers of lenvatinib activity.
Trial registration: ClinicalTrial.gov: NCT00280397 (January 20, 2006).