Background: Hypermethylation of promoter CpG islands [CpG island methylator phenotype (CIMP)] represents a unique pathway for the development of colorectal cancer (CRC), characterized by lack of chromosomal instability and a low rate of adenomatous polyposis coli (APC) mutations, which have both been correlated with taxane resistance. Similarly, small bowel adenocarcinoma (SBA), a rare tumor, also has a low rate of APC mutations. This phase II study evaluated taxane sensitivity in SBA and CIMP-high CRC.
Patients and methods: The primary objective was Response Evaluation Criteria in Solid Tumors version 1.1 response rate. Eligibility included Eastern Cooperative Oncology Group performance status 0/1, refractory disease, and SBA or CIMP-high metastatic CRC. Nab-paclitaxel was initially administered at a dose of 260 mg/m2 every 3 weeks but was reduced to 220 mg/m2 owing to toxicity.
Results: A total of 21 patients with CIMP-high CRC and 13 with SBA were enrolled from November 2012 to October 2014. The efficacy-assessable population (patients who received at least three doses of the treatment) comprised 15 CIMP-high CRC patients and 10 SBA patients. Common grade 3 or 4 toxicities were fatigue (12%), neutropenia (9%), febrile neutropenia (9%), dehydration (6%), and thrombocytopenia (6%). No responses were seen in the CIMP-high CRC cohort and two partial responses were seen in the SBA cohort. Median progression-free survival was significantly greater in the SBA cohort than in the CIMP-high CRC cohort (3.2 months compared with 2.1 months, P = 0.03). Neither APC mutation status nor CHFR methylation status correlated with efficacy in the CIMP-high CRC cohort. In vivo testing of paclitaxel in an SBA patient-derived xenograft validated the activity of taxanes in this disease type.
Conclusion: Although preclinical studies suggested taxane sensitivity was associated with chromosomal stability and wild-type APC, we found that nab-paclitaxel was inactive in CIMP-high metastatic CRC. Nab-paclitaxel may represent a novel therapeutic option for SBA.
Keywords: CIMP; colorectal cancer; nab-paclitaxel; small bowel adenosscarcinoma.
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