Purpose: There are few effective therapies for pancreatic neuroendocrine tumors (PNETs). Recent placebo-controlled phase III trials of the mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR) inhibitor everolimus and the vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF)/platelet-derived growth factor receptor inhibitor sunitinib have noted improved progression-free survival (PFS). Preclinical studies have suggested enhanced antitumor effects with combined mTOR and VEGF pathway-targeted therapy. We conducted a clinical trial to evaluate combination therapy against these targets in PNETs.
Patients and methods: We conducted a two-stage single-arm phase II trial of the mTOR inhibitor temsirolimus 25 mg intravenously (IV) once per week and the VEGF-A monoclonal antibody bevacizumab 10 mg/kg IV once every 2 weeks in patients with well or moderately differentiated PNETs and progressive disease by RECIST within 7 months of study entry. Coprimary end points were tumor response rate and 6-month PFS.
Results: A total of 58 patients were enrolled, and 56 patients were eligible for response assessment. Confirmed response rate (RR) was 41% (23 of 56 patients). PFS at 6 months was 79% (44 of 56). Median PFS was 13.2 months (95% CI, 11.2 to 16.6). Median overall survival was 34 months (95% CI, 27.1 to not reached). For evaluable patients, the most common grade 3 to 4 adverse events attributed to therapy were hypertension (21%), fatigue (16%), lymphopenia (14%), and hyperglycemia (14%).
Conclusion: The combination of temsirolimus and bevacizumab had substantial activity and reasonable tolerability in a multicenter phase II trial, with RR of 41%, well in excess of single targeted agents in patients with progressive PNETs. Six-month PFS was a notable 79% in a population of patients with disease progression by RECIST criteria within 7 months of study entry. On the basis of this trial, continued evaluation of combination mTOR and VEGF pathway inhibitors is warranted.
Trial registration: ClinicalTrials.gov NCT01010126.
© 2014 by American Society of Clinical Oncology.