A phase Ib study of capecitabine and ziv-aflibercept followed by a phase II single-arm expansion cohort in chemotherapy refractory metastatic colorectal cancer

BMC Cancer. 2019 Nov 1;19(1):1032. doi: 10.1186/s12885-019-6234-8.


Background: Patients with chemotherapy refractory metastatic colorectal cancer (CRC) have a poor prognosis and limited therapeutic options. In this phase Ib/II clinical trial, we established the maximum tolerated dose (MTD) and recommended phase II dose (RPTD) for the combination of capecitabine and ziv-aflibercept, and then we evaluated the efficacy of the combination in patients with chemotherapy refractory metastatic CRC.

Methods: All patients were required to have a Karnofsky Performance Status > 70% and adequate organ function. The phase Ib dose escalation cohort included patients with advanced solid tumors who had progressed on all standard therapies. Using a standard 3 + 3 design, we identified the MTD and RPTD for the combination. Fifty patients with metastatic CRC who had progressed on or were intolerant of a fluoropyrimidine, oxaliplatin, irinotecan, and bevacizumab were then enrolled in a single-arm phase II expansion cohort, and were treated at the RPTD. Prior EGFR antibody therapy was required for subjects with RAS wildtype tumors. The primary endpoint for the expansion cohort was progression-free survival (PFS) at two months. Secondary endpoints included objective response rate (ORR) and overall survival (OS).

Results: A total of 63 patients were enrolled and evaluable for toxicity (13 dose escalation; 50 expansion). The MTD and RPTD were: capecitabine 850 mg/m2, P.O. bid, days 1-14, and ziv-aflibercept 6 mg/kg I.V., day 1, of each 21-day cycle. In the expansion cohort, 72% of patients were progression-free at two months (95% confidence interval [CI], 60-84%). Median PFS and OS were 3.9 months (95% CI, 2.3-4.5) and 7.1 months (95% CI: 5.8-10.0), respectively. Among all patients evaluable for toxicity, the most common treatment related adverse events (all grade [%]; grade ≥ 3 [%]) included palmar-plantar erythrodysesthesia (41%; 6%), hypertension (33%; 22%), and mucositis (19%; 5%). RNA was isolated from archived tumor specimens and gene expression analyses revealed no association between angiogenic biomarkers and clinical outcomes.

Conclusion: The combination of capecitabine and ziv-aflibercept at the RPTD demonstrated acceptable safety and tolerability. PFS at 2 months in patients with chemotherapy refractory metastatic CRC was significantly greater than that in historical controls, indicating that this combination warrants further study.

Trial registration: This clinical trial was registered in the www.clinicaltrials.gov system as NCT01661972 on July 31, 2012.

Keywords: Advanced solid tumors; Capecitabine; Metastatic colorectal cancer; Ziv-aflibercept.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial, Phase I
  • Clinical Trial, Phase II

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Antineoplastic Combined Chemotherapy Protocols / therapeutic use*
  • Capecitabine / therapeutic use*
  • Cohort Studies
  • Colorectal Neoplasms / drug therapy*
  • Colorectal Neoplasms / mortality
  • Colorectal Neoplasms / pathology
  • Drug Resistance, Neoplasm
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Maximum Tolerated Dose
  • Middle Aged
  • Neoplasm Metastasis
  • Neoplasm Staging
  • Receptors, Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor / therapeutic use*
  • Recombinant Fusion Proteins / therapeutic use*
  • Survival Analysis
  • Treatment Outcome


  • Recombinant Fusion Proteins
  • aflibercept
  • Capecitabine
  • Receptors, Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor

Associated data

  • ClinicalTrials.gov/NCT01661972