A Phase II Trial of Sorafenib and Dacarbazine for Leiomyosarcoma, Synovial Sarcoma, and Malignant Peripheral Nerve Sheath Tumors

Oncologist. 2019 Jun;24(6):857-863. doi: 10.1634/theoncologist.2018-0160. Epub 2018 Aug 20.


Background: Sorafenib and dacarbazine have low single-agent response rates in metastatic sarcomas. As angiogenesis inhibitors can enhance the efficacy of chemotherapy, we investigated the combination of sorafenib and dacarbazine in select sarcoma subtypes.

Materials and methods: Patients with leiomyosarcoma (LMS), synovial sarcoma (SS), or malignant peripheral nerve sheath tumors (MPNST) with up to two previous lines of therapy and adequate hepatic, renal, and marrow function received 3-week cycles of sorafenib at 400 mg oral twice daily and dacarbazine 1,000 mg/m2 intravenously (later reduced to 850 mg/m2). Patients were evaluated for response every 6 weeks. The primary objective was to determine the disease control rate (DCR) of sorafenib plus dacarbazine in the selected sarcoma subtypes.

Results: The study included 37 patients (19 female); median age was 55 years (range 26-87); and histologies included LMS (22), SS (11), and MPNST (4). The DCR was 46% (17/37). Median progression-free survival was 13.4 weeks. The RECIST response rate was 14% (5/37). The Choi response rate was 51% (19/37). Median overall survival was 13.2 months. Of the first 25 patients, 15 (60%) required dacarbazine dose reductions for hematologic toxicity, with one episode of grade 5 neutropenic fever. After reducing the starting dose of dacarbazine to 850 mg/m2, only 3 of the final 12 (25%) patients required dose reduction.

Conclusion: This phase II study met its primary endpoint with an 18-week DCR of 46%. The clinical activity of dacarbazine plus sorafenib in patients with these diagnoses is modest.

Implications for practice: Metastatic soft tissue sarcomas are a heterogeneous group of relatively rare malignancies. Most patients are treated with cytotoxic chemotherapy or targeted therapy in the form of tyrosine kinase inhibitors. Response rates are relatively low, and there is a need for better therapies. This clinical trial demonstrates that combining a cytotoxic therapy (dacarbazine) with an antiangiogenic small molecule (sorafenib) is feasible and associated with favorable disease-control rates; however, it also increases the potential for significant toxicity.

Keywords: Angiogenesis; Chemotherapy; Phase II clinical trials; Soft tissue sarcoma.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial, Phase II
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Administration, Oral
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Antineoplastic Combined Chemotherapy Protocols / administration & dosage*
  • Antineoplastic Combined Chemotherapy Protocols / adverse effects
  • Dacarbazine / administration & dosage
  • Dacarbazine / adverse effects
  • Dose-Response Relationship, Drug
  • Drug Administration Schedule
  • Feasibility Studies
  • Febrile Neutropenia / diagnosis
  • Febrile Neutropenia / epidemiology*
  • Febrile Neutropenia / etiology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Leiomyosarcoma / drug therapy*
  • Leiomyosarcoma / mortality
  • Leiomyosarcoma / pathology
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Neurofibrosarcoma / drug therapy*
  • Neurofibrosarcoma / mortality
  • Neurofibrosarcoma / pathology
  • Progression-Free Survival
  • Response Evaluation Criteria in Solid Tumors
  • Sarcoma, Synovial / drug therapy*
  • Sarcoma, Synovial / mortality
  • Sarcoma, Synovial / pathology
  • Severity of Illness Index
  • Sorafenib / administration & dosage
  • Sorafenib / adverse effects


  • Dacarbazine
  • Sorafenib