Purpose: A persistent issue in cancer drug development is the discordance between robust antitumor drug activity observed in laboratory models and the limited benefit frequently observed when patients are treated with the same agents in clinical trials. Difficulties in accurately modeling the complexities of human tumors may underlie this problem. To address this issue, we developed Comparative In Vivo Oncology (CIVO), which enables in situ investigation of multiple microdosed drugs simultaneously in a patient's tumor. This study was designed to test CIVO's safety and feasibility in patients with soft tissue sarcoma (STS).
Patients and methods: We conducted a single arm, prospective, 13-patient pilot study. Patients scheduled for incisional biopsy or tumor resection were CIVO-injected 1 to 3 days prior to surgery. Saline or microdoses of anticancer agents were percutaneously injected into the tumor in a columnar fashion through each of eight needles. Following excision, drug responses were evaluated in the injected tissue.
Results: The primary objective was met, establishing CIVO's feasibility and safety. Device-related adverse events were limited to transient grade 1 nonserious events. In addition, biomarker evaluation of localized tumor response to CIVO microinjected drugs by IHC or with NanoString GeoMx Digital Spatial Profiler demonstrated consistency with known mechanisms of action of each drug, impact on the tumor microenvironment, and historic clinical activity.
Conclusions: These results are an advance toward use of CIVO as a translational research tool for early evaluation of investigational agents and drug combinations in a novel approach to phase 0 trials.See related commentary by Sleijfer and Lolkema, p. 3897.
Trial registration: ClinicalTrials.gov NCT03056599.
©2020 American Association for Cancer Research.