Publications by authors named "Austin J Combest"

7 Publications

  • Page 1 of 1

Phase Ib/II Trial of NC-6004 (Nanoparticle Cisplatin) Plus Gemcitabine in Patients with Advanced Solid Tumors.

Clin Cancer Res 2018 01 13;24(1):43-51. Epub 2017 Oct 13.

UCSD Moores Cancer Center, La Jolla, California.

NC-6004, a novel cisplatin nanoparticle developed using micellar technology exhibits sustained release of cisplatin and selective distribution to tumors. Preclinical data demonstrated a favorable tolerability profile and preserved or improved antitumor activity compared with cisplatin across animal models. We evaluated the safety and tolerability of NC-6004 and gemcitabine using a Bayesian continual reassessment model (N-CRM) to determine the optimal dose. Patients with advanced solid tumors received NC-6004 at 60 to 180 mg/m on day 1 and gemcitabine at 1,250 mg/m on days 1 and 8 every 3 weeks. Dose escalation of NC-6004 began with a single patient run-in until a dose-limiting toxicity occurred at 180 mg/m Cohorts of four patients were enrolled at doses predicted by the N-CRM. The maximum tolerated dose (MTD) was defined as having the greatest probability of target toxicity <25%. Quality of life was assessed using EORTC-QLQ-C30. Among 22 patients, the most common grade III/IV hematologic adverse events were leukopenia (68%) and thrombocytopenia (59%). Of 20 pretreated patients evaluable for response, half were previously exposed to a platinum agent. The MTD was 135 mg/m Nine patients were treated at the MTD with median treatment duration of 15 weeks (range, 3-50). Tumor shrinkage occurred in 11 (55%), partial responses in 3 (15%), and stable disease in 14 (70%). Most patients reported stable or improved EORTC QLQ-C30 scores. Greater cisplatin equivalent doses were achieved with no clinically significant neuro-, oto-, or nephrotoxicity. These data demonstrate tolerability and promising activity of NC-6004 in combination with gemcitabine. .
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January 2018

Genetically engineered cancer models, but not xenografts, faithfully predict anticancer drug exposure in melanoma tumors.

Oncologist 2012 19;17(10):1303-16. Epub 2012 Sep 19.

University of North Carolina Eshelman School of Pharmacy, Division of Pharmacotherapy and Experimental Therapeutics, 1013 Genetic Medicine Building, CB 7361, Chapel Hill, North Carolina 27599-7361, USA.

Background: Rodent studies are a vital step in the development of novel anticancer therapeutics and are used in pharmacokinetic (PK), toxicology, and efficacy studies. Traditionally, anticancer drug development has relied on xenograft implantation of human cancer cell lines in immunocompromised mice for efficacy screening of a candidate compound. The usefulness of xenograft models for efficacy testing, however, has been questioned, whereas genetically engineered mouse models (GEMMs) and orthotopic syngeneic transplants (OSTs) may offer some advantages for efficacy assessment. A critical factor influencing the predictability of rodent tumor models is drug PKs, but a comprehensive comparison of plasma and tumor PK parameters among xenograft models, OSTs, GEMMs, and human patients has not been performed.

Methods: In this work, we evaluated the plasma and tumor dispositions of an antimelanoma agent, carboplatin, in patients with cutaneous melanoma compared with four different murine melanoma models (one GEMM, one human cell line xenograft, and two OSTs).

Results: Using microdialysis to sample carboplatin tumor disposition, we found that OSTs and xenografts were poor predictors of drug exposure in human tumors, whereas the GEMM model exhibited PK parameters similar to those seen in human tumors.

Conclusions: The tumor PKs of carboplatin in a GEMM of melanoma more closely resembles the tumor disposition in patients with melanoma than transplanted tumor models. GEMMs show promise in becoming an improved prediction model for intratumoral PKs and response in patients with solid tumors.
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June 2013

Combined PI3K/mTOR and MEK inhibition provides broad antitumor activity in faithful murine cancer models.

Clin Cancer Res 2012 Oct 7;18(19):5290-303. Epub 2012 Aug 7.

Department of Genetics, University of North Carolina School of Medicine, Chapel Hill, NC, USA.

Purpose: Anticancer drug development is inefficient, but genetically engineered murine models (GEMM) and orthotopic, syngeneic transplants (OST) of cancer may offer advantages to in vitro and xenograft systems.

Experimental Design: We assessed the activity of 16 treatment regimens in a RAS-driven, Ink4a/Arf-deficient melanoma GEMM. In addition, we tested a subset of treatment regimens in three breast cancer models representing distinct breast cancer subtypes: claudin-low (T11 OST), basal-like (C3-TAg GEMM), and luminal B (MMTV-Neu GEMM).

Results: Like human RAS-mutant melanoma, the melanoma GEMM was refractory to chemotherapy and single-agent small molecule therapies. Combined treatment with AZD6244 [mitogen-activated protein-extracellular signal-regulated kinase kinase (MEK) inhibitor] and BEZ235 [dual phosphoinositide-3 kinase (PI3K)/mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR) inhibitor] was the only treatment regimen to exhibit significant antitumor activity, showed by marked tumor regression and improved survival. Given the surprising activity of the "AZD/BEZ" combination in the melanoma GEMM, we next tested this regimen in the "claudin-low" breast cancer model that shares gene expression features with melanoma. The AZD/BEZ regimen also exhibited significant activity in this model, leading us to testing in even more diverse GEMMs of basal-like and luminal breast cancer. The AZD/BEZ combination was highly active in these distinct breast cancer models, showing equal or greater efficacy compared with any other regimen tested in studies of over 700 tumor-bearing mice. This regimen even exhibited activity in lapatinib-resistant HER2(+) tumors.

Conclusion: These results show the use of credentialed murine models for large-scale efficacy testing of diverse anticancer regimens and predict that combinations of PI3K/mTOR and MEK inhibitors will show antitumor activity in a wide range of human malignancies.
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October 2012

Multiple roles of cyclin-dependent kinase 4/6 inhibitors in cancer therapy.

J Natl Cancer Inst 2012 Mar 1;104(6):476-87. Epub 2012 Feb 1.

Department of Genetics, The University of North Carolina School of Medicine, Chapel Hill, NC, USA.

Background: Cyclin-dependent kinases (CDKs) regulate cell proliferation and coordinate the cell cycle checkpoint response to DNA damage. Although inhibitors with varying selectivity to specific CDK family members have been developed, selective CDK4/6 inhibitors have emerged as the most attractive antineoplastic agents because of the importance of CDK4/6 activity in regulating cell proliferation and the toxic effects associated with inhibition of other CDKs (eg, CDK1 and CDK2).

Methods: FVB/N wild-type mice (n = 13) were used to evaluate carboplatin-induced myelosuppression in bone marrow by complete blood cell counts after treatment with the CDK4/6 inhibitor PD0332991. Genetically engineered murine models of retinoblastoma (Rb)-competent (MMTV-c-neu) and Rb-incompetent (C3-TAg) breast cancer (n = 16 MMTV-c-neu mice in the carboplatin plus vehicle control group, n = 17 MMTV-c-neu mice in the carboplatin plus PD0332991 group, n = 17 C3-TAg mice in the carboplatin plus vehicle control group, and n = 14 C3-TAg mice in the carboplatin plus PD0332991 group) were used to investigate the antitumor activity of PD0332991 alone or in combination with chemotherapy. All statistical tests were two-sided.

Results: Coadministration of PD0332991 with carboplatin compared with carboplatin alone in FVB/N wild-type mice increased hematocrit (51.2% vs 33.5%, difference = 17.7%, 95% confidence interval [CI] = -26.7% to -8.6%, P < .001), platelet counts (1321 vs 758.5 thousand cells per μL, difference = 562.5 thousand cells per μL, 95% CI = -902.8 to -222.6, P = .002), myeloid cells (granulocytes and monocytes; 3.1 vs 1.6 thousand cells per μL, difference = 1.5 thousand cells per μL, 95% CI = -2.23 to -0.67, P < .001), and lymphocytes (7.9 vs 5.4 thousand cells per μL, difference = 2.5 thousand cells per μL, 95% CI = -4.75 to -0.18, P = .02). Daily administration of PD0332991 exhibited antitumor activity in MMTV-c-neu mice as a single agent. However, the combination of carboplatin plus PD0332991 decreased antitumor activity compared with carboplatin alone in Rb-competent mice (mean percent change in tumor volume at day 21 = -52.6% vs 3.7% for carboplatin and carboplatin plus PD0332991, respectively, difference = 56.3%, 95% CI = -109.0% to -3.6%, P = .04). In contrast, Rb-deficient tumors in C3-Tag mice were resistant to PD0332991, and coadministration of PD0332991 plus carboplatin had no effect on in vivo tumor growth (mean percent change in tumor volume at day 21 = 118.8% and 109.1% for carboplatin and carboplatin plus PD0332991, respectively, difference = 9.7%, 95% CI = -183.5% to 202.9%, P = .92). Finally, in tumor-bearing mice, coadministration of PD0332991 with carboplatin provided statistically significant protection of platelets (P = .04).

Conclusion: We believe that the present data support a possible role for CDK4/6 inhibitors in a majority of patients with advanced cancer: to either inhibit tumor growth in CDK4/6-dependent tumors or ameliorate the dose-limiting toxicities of chemotherapy in CDK4/6-indepdendent tumors. Our data also suggest CDK4/6 inhibitors should not be combined with DNA-damaging therapies, such as carboplatin, to treat tumors that require CDK4/6 activity for proliferation.
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March 2012

The effect of aprepitant and race on the pharmacokinetics of cyclophosphamide in breast cancer patients.

Cancer Chemother Pharmacol 2012 May 15;69(5):1189-96. Epub 2012 Jan 15.

UNC Eshelman School of Pharmacy, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, NC 27599-7569, USA.

Purpose: The prodrug cyclophosphamide is metabolized by cytochrome P450(CYP)2B6 to the active metabolite, 4-hydroxycyclophosphamide (4-OH), and by CYP3A4/5 to toxic chloracetaldehyde and 2-dechloroethylcyclophosphamide (DCE). Since aprepitant is a moderate inhibitor of CYP3A4, the study was designed to determine whether its concurrent use alters the pharmacokinetics (PK) of cyclophosphamide. In addition, we sought to determine the effect of race and pharmacogenomics on cyclophosphamide PK.

Methods: Eighteen patients with localized breast cancer were randomized in this double-blinded cross-over study to receive aprepitant or placebo in addition to cyclophosphamide 600 mg/m(2) and doxorubicin 60 mg/m(2). Blood samples were collected for both PK analysis of cyclophosphamide and metabolites and pharmacogenomic analysis. Single nucleotide polymorphisms genotyped were CYP3A4*1B, CYP3A5*3, and CYP2B6*6.

Results: The geometric mean area under concentration-time curve (AUC(0-t) μg/mL h) for cyclophosphamide was 282 following aprepitant and 230 following placebo (ratio 1.23; 90% CI 1.13, 1.33). 4-OH AUC(0-t) (μg/mL h) was 6.80 following aprepitant and 6.96 following placebo (ratio 0.98; 90% CI 0.88, 1.08). DCE AUC(0-t) (μg/mL h) was 6.76 following aprepitant and 9.37 following placebo (ratio 0.72; 90% CI 0.64, 0.81). Genotype analysis was confounded by race. Race was a significant predictor of DCE lnAUC(0-t) (P = 0.0169) as African Americans had approximately a 2-fold higher DCE AUC than Caucasians.

Conclusions: Aprepitant altered the exposure of cyclophosphamide and DCE but not the active 4-OH metabolite, making it unlikely that aprepitant would change the clinical efficacy of cyclophosphamide. African Americans were also found to have altered PK compared with Caucasian patients.
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May 2012

Pharmacologic and phenotypic study of docetaxel in patients with ovarian or primary peritoneal cancer.

Cancer Chemother Pharmacol 2011 Nov 25;68(5):1255-62. Epub 2011 Mar 25.

Division of Pharmacotherapy and Experimental Therapeutics, UNC Eshelman School of Pharmacy, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, 1013 Genetic Medicine Building, CB 7361, Chapel Hill, NC 27599, USA.

Purpose: The objectives of this study were to determine whether the midazolam clearance predicted docetaxel pharmacokinetics, CA-125 change, and response and to assess the impact of cytochrome P450 (CYP) 3A5 and ATP-binding cassette, subfamily B, member 1 (ABCB1) genotypes on docetaxel pharmacokinetics and pharmacodynamics in ovarian or primary peritoneal cancer patients.

Methods: Thirty-four patients with advanced ovarian and primary peritoneal cancer were administered docetaxel at 75 mg/m(2) as a 1-h infusion in combination with carboplatin IV over 30 min at a target AUC of 5 mg/ml min. Cycles were repeated every 21 days for 6 cycles. Midazolam was administered at 2 mg as a 30-min IV infusion the day prior to cycle one of docetaxel administration. Pharmacokinetic studies of docetaxel and CYP3A5 and ABCB1 genotype studies were performed.

Results: There was an inverse relationship between midazolam clearance (CL) and CA-125 level after cycle 6 where a higher midazolam CL was associated with a CA-125 <10 U/ml (P = 0.007) and CA-125 <15 U/ml (P = 0.048). The CA-125 categories were associated with response achieved (complete response/partial response) (CR/PR), stable disease (SD), and progressive disease (PD) at the end of therapy (P = 0.0173). Docetaxel CL was not related to midazolam CL or genotype. Docetaxel exposure and genotypes were not related to toxicity or response (P > 0.05).

Conclusions: The midazolam CL predicted CA-125 levels and response that was independent of other factors including docetaxel pharmacokinetics. Future studies need to evaluate the mechanism for the relationship between midazolam CL and response in patients with ovarian cancer.
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November 2011