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"A piperidinyl isoindole originally introduced as a non-barbiturate hypnotic, but withdrawn from the market due to teratogenic effects. It has been reintroduced and used for a number of immunological and inflammatory disorders. Thalidomide displays immunosuppresive and anti-angiogenic activity. It inhibits release of TUMOR NECROSIS FACTOR-ALPHA from monocytes, and modulates other cytokine action." (MeSH 2013)

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Web Resources: Thalidomide
Latest Research Publications

Web Resources: Thalidomide (6 links)

Latest Research Publications

Zuo W, Zhu X, Yang J, et al.
Bortezomib combined with lenalidomide as the first-line treatment for the rare synchronous occurrence of multiple myeloma and pulmonary adenocarcinoma: A case report.
Medicine (Baltimore). 2017; 96(1):e5787 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
BACKGROUND: Simultaneous multiple myeloma (MM) and pulmonary adenocarcinoma is a rare occurrence, and thus, treatment is a challenge. This study reports on 1 such case of MM with concurrent lung cancer, where an accurate diagnosis was made and the patient underwent treatment for both cancers.
CASE SUMMARY: A 68-year-old man presented with 2 months of progressive lower back pain. Visualization with magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) revealed multiple collapsed vertebrae from T12 to S3, as well as an altered signal intensity at the T3 vertebra. The patient was diagnosed with MM upon examination. A chest computed tomography (CT) scan revealed a round mass in the left lower lobe of the lungs, and a CT-guided needle biopsy uncovered a moderately differentiated adenocarcinoma. There were no additional notable findings in the left lung using positron emission tomography computed tomography (PET-CT). Therefore, a diagnosis of MM with pulmonary adenocarcinoma was made. Surgery was performed to excise the lung cancer. Bortezomib was used as first-line induction therapy against both tumors and lenalidomide was used for maintenance. The patient went into complete remission. Using this combined chemotherapy, the patient has survived for over 3 years since a diagnosis was made despite relapsing twice after the first year.
CONCLUSION: This report clearly delineates the diagnosis and treatment of a rare case of synchronous MM and pulmonary adenocarcinoma, as well as depicts a potentially positive outcome for the patient. It also overviews some diagnostic and therapeutic implications for clinicians.

El-Aarag B, Kasai T, Masuda J, et al.
Anticancer effects of novel thalidomide analogs in A549 cells through inhibition of vascular endothelial growth factor and matrix metalloproteinase-2.
Biomed Pharmacother. 2017; 85:549-555 [PubMed] Related Publications
Lung cancer is one of the major causes of cancer-related mortality worldwide, and non-small-cell lung cancer is the most common form of lung cancer. Several studies had shown that thalidomide has potential for prevention and therapy of cancer. Therefore, the current study aimed to investigate the antitumor effects of two novel thalidomide analogs in human lung cancer A549 cells. The antiproliferative, antimigratory, and apoptotic effects in A549 cells induced by thalidomide analogs were examined. In addition, their effects on the expression of mRNAs encoding vascular endothelial growth factor165 (VEGF165) and matrix metalloproteinase-2 (MMP-2) were evaluated. Their influence on the tumor volume in nude mice was also determined. Results revealed that thalidomide analogs exhibited antiproliferative, antimigratory, and apoptotic activities with more pronounced effect than thalidomide drug. Furthermore, analogs 1 and 2 suppressed the expression levels of VEGF165 by 42% and 53.2% and those of MMP-2 by 45% and 52%, respectively. Thalidomide analogs 1 and 2 also reduced the tumor volume by 30.11% and 53.52%, respectively. Therefore, this study provides evidence that thalidomide analogs may serve as a new therapeutic option for treating lung cancer.

Li L, Huang XE
Thalidomide Combined with Chemotherapy in Treating Patients with Advanced lung Cancer.
Asian Pac J Cancer Prev. 2016; 17(5):2583-5 [PubMed] Related Publications
OBJECTIVES: To evaluate efficacy and toxicity in patients with advanced lung cancer, including non-small cell and small cell variants (NSCLC and SCLC), treated with thalidomide plus chemotherapy.
METHODS: Fourteen patients with advanced lung cancer were scheduled to receive chemotherapy combined with thalidomide. All patients in this study received thalidomide (100 mg orally per night before sleeping, produced by Changzhou Pharmaceutical Factory Co.Ltd) after the start of chemotherapy for at least 14 days. Chemotherapy was administered according to the condition of patients. After at least 14 days of treatment, efficacy and toxicity were evaluated.
RESULTS: There were 6 female and 8 male patients with advanced lung cancer recruited into this study, including 2 with SCLC and 12 with NSCLC. The median age was 56.7 (44-65) years. Progressive disease was observed in 12 patients (12/14), and stable disease in 2 (2/14). Grade 1 to 2 myelosuppression was observed in 4/14 patients, and Grade 1 to 2 elevation of hepatic enzymes was recorded in 5/14 patients. Adverse effects on the gastrointestinal tract were documented in 2/14 patients, all beingGrade 1. No Grade 3-4 toxicity was recorded. No treatment related deaths occurred.
CONCLUSIONS: Our results demonstrate that thalidomide combined with chemotherapy is mildly effective and safe for treating patients with advanced lung cancer. However, further evaluation of this combination is warranted.

Woo K, Stewart SG, Kong GS, et al.
Identification of a thalidomide derivative that selectively targets tumorigenic liver progenitor cells and comparing its effects with lenalidomide and sorafenib.
Eur J Med Chem. 2016; 120:275-83 [PubMed] Related Publications
BACKGROUND & AIMS: The availability of non-tumorigenic and tumorigenic liver progenitor cell (LPC) lines affords a method to screen putative anti-liver cancer agents to identify those that are selectively effective. To prove this principle we tested thalidomide and a range of its derivatives and compared them to lenalidomide and sorafenib, to assess their growth-inhibitory effects.
METHODS: Cell growth, the mitotic and apoptotic index of cell cultures were measured using the Cellavista instrument (SynenTec) using commercially available reagents.
RESULTS: Neither lenalidomide nor thalidomide (100 μM) affected tumorigenic LPCs but killed their non-tumorigenic counterparts. Sorafenib arrested growth in both cell types. All but two derivatives of thalidomide were ineffective; of the two effective derivatives, one (thalidomide C1) specifically affected the tumorigenic cell line (10 μM). Mitotic and apoptotic analyses revealed that thalidomide C1 induced apoptotic cell death and not mitotic arrest.
CONCLUSIONS: This study shows that screens incorporating non-tumorigenic and tumorigenic liver cell lines are a sound approach to identify agents that are effective and selective. A high throughput instrument such as the Cellavista affords robust and reproducible objective measurements with a large number of replicates that are reliable. These experiments show that neither lenalidomide nor thalidomide are potentially useful for anti-liver cancer therapy as they kill non-tumorigenic liver cells and not their tumorigenic counterparts. Sorafenib in contrast, is highly effective, but not selective. One tested thalidomide derivative has potential as an anti-tumor drug since it induced growth arrest; and importantly, it selectively induced apoptotic cell death only in tumorigenic liver progenitor cells.

Said R, Kakadiaris E, Piha-Paul S, et al.
Phase I clinical trial of lenalidomide in combination with bevacizumab in patients with advanced cancer.
Cancer Chemother Pharmacol. 2016; 77(5):1097-102 [PubMed] Related Publications
PURPOSE: Lenalidomide and bevacizumab have antitumor activity in various tumor types. We conducted a phase I study of this combination in patients with advanced cancer.
PATIENTS AND METHODS: A "3 + 3" study design was used. Lenalidomide 10 or 20 mg (orally, days 1-21) and bevacizumab 5, 7.5, or 10 mg/kg, (intravenously, every 2 weeks) were given at four escalating dose levels, followed by an expansion phase at the highest maximum tolerated dose (MTD) (1 cycle = 4 weeks). Dose-limiting toxicity (DLT), MTD, adverse events, and clinical outcomes were assessed.
RESULTS: Thirty-one patients were enrolled (median age, 60 years; men, 52 %). The most common tumor types were colorectal carcinoma (n = 11) and melanoma (n = 5). Overall, 105 cycles (median, 2) were administered. No DLTs were observed. The maximum tested dose (level 4) was used in the expansion phase. The most common toxicities were fatigue (n = 7, 23 %) and skin rash (n = 4, 13 %). One patient developed a transient ischemic attack (3.2 %); prophylactic anticoagulation became mandatory in the subsequent 17 treated patients. Of 31 patients, 27 were evaluable for response. Stable disease (SD) was noted in 10 (37 %) patients, including five patients with SD for ≥6 months (tumor types: clear cell sarcoma, germ cell tumor, colorectal carcinoma, and melanoma). The median progression-free survival and overall survival were 2.8 and 5.5 months, respectively.
CONCLUSIONS: The combination of lenalidomide with bevacizumab in patients with advanced solid tumors was safe. Prolonged stable disease was noted in selected tumor types, warranting further clinical evaluation.

Trněný M, Lamy T, Walewski J, et al.
Lenalidomide versus investigator's choice in relapsed or refractory mantle cell lymphoma (MCL-002; SPRINT): a phase 2, randomised, multicentre trial.
Lancet Oncol. 2016; 17(3):319-31 [PubMed] Related Publications
BACKGROUND: Lenalidomide, an immunomodulatory drug with antineoplastic and antiproliferative effects, showed activity in many single-group studies in relapsed or refractory mantle cell lymphoma. The aim of this randomised study was to examine the efficacy and safety of lenalidomide versus best investigator's choice of single-agent therapy in relapsed or refractory mantle cell lymphoma.
METHODS: The MCL-002 (SPRINT) study was a randomised, phase 2 study of patients with mantle cell lymphoma aged 18 years or older at 67 clinics and academic centres in 12 countries who relapsed one to three times, had Eastern Cooperative Oncology Group performance status of 0-2, at least one measurable lesion to be eligible, and who were ineligible for intensive chemotherpy or stem-cell transplantation. Using a centralised interactive voice response system, we randomly assigned (2:1) patients in a permuted block size of six to receive lenalidomide (25 mg orally on days 1-21 every 28 days) until progressive disease or intolerability, or single-agent investigator's choice of either rituximab, gemcitabine, fludarabine, chlorambucil, or cytarabine. Randomisation was stratified by time from diagnosis, time from last anti-lymphoma therapy, and previous stem-cell transplantation. Individual treatment assignment between lenalidomide and investigator's choice was open label, but investigators had to register their choice of comparator drug before randomly assigning a patient. Patients who progressed on investigator's choice could cross over to lenalidomide treatment. We present the prespecified primary analysis results in the intention-to-treat population for the primary endpoint of progression-free survival, defined as the time from randomisation to progressive disease or death, whichever occurred first. Patient enrolment is complete, although treatment and collection of additional time-to-event data are ongoing. This study is registered with ClinicalTrials.gov, number NCT00875667.
FINDINGS: Between April 30, 2009, and March 7, 2013, we enrolled 254 patients in the intention-to-treat population (170 [67%] were randomly assigned to receive lenalidomide, 84 [33%] to receive investigator's choice monotherapy). Patients had a median age of 68·5 years and received a median of two previous regimens. With a median follow-up of 15·9 months (IQR 7·6-31·7), lenalidomide significantly improved progression-free survival compared with investigator's choice (median 8·7 months [95% CI 5·5-12·1] vs 5·2 months [95% CI 3·7-6·9]) with a hazard ratio of 0·61 (95% CI 0·44-0·84; p=0·004). In the 167 patients in the lenalidomide group and 83 patients in the investigator's choice group who received at least one dose of treatment the most common grade 3-4 adverse events included neutropenia (73 [44%] of 167 vs 28 [34%] of 83) without increased risk of infection, thrombocytopenia (30 [18%] vs 23 [28%]), leucopenia (13 [8%] vs nine [11%]), and anaemia (14 [8%] vs six [7%]).
INTERPRETATION: Patients with relapsed or refractory mantle cell lymphoma ineligible for intensive chemotherapy or stem-cell transplantation have longer progression-free survival, with a manageable safety profile when treated with lenalidomide compared with monotherapy investigator's choice options.
FUNDING: Celgene Corporation.

Xu G, Wang B, Yang M, Qian W
A rare case of nasopharyngeal carcinoma in a patient with multiple myeloma after treatment by lenalidomide.
Int J Clin Exp Pathol. 2015; 8(11):15025-9 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Multiple myeloma (MM) is a plasma-cell malignancy leading to a significant life-expectancy shortening. Lenalidomide is an oral immunomodulatory drug (IMiD) approved in the United States for patients with MM. Although the introduction of lenalidomide combined with dexamethasone (Len/Dex) has improved the outcome of patients with relapsed/refractory multiple myeloma (RRMM), it is a common knowledge that lenalidomide has been linked to the development of secondary primary malignancies in the MM patients, especially in those who use lenalidomide as a maintenance therapy. In the published literature, these are also many cases reported by clinicians in different secondary primary malignancies after the diagnosis of MM treated with lenalidomide. In this present article, we provided our patient who was identified nasopharyngeal carcinoma (NPC) 46 months after the diagnosis of MM and 21 months after lenalidomide treatment. To the best of our knowledge, this is the first case report related to the occurrence of NPC in a patient with MM after treatment by lenalidomide. Although it is not very sure that the incidence of NPC was associated with the use of lenalidomide, we clinicians should pay adequate attention to this phenomenon in the clinical processing. And much more cooperative studies of large numbers of MM patients are needed to evaluate a possible association between lenalidomide and NPC.

Usnarska-Zubkiewicz L, Dębski J, Butrym A, et al.
Efficacy and safety of lenalidomide treatment in multiple myeloma (MM) patients--Report of the Polish Myeloma Group.
Leuk Res. 2016; 40:90-9 [PubMed] Related Publications
UNLABELLED: The aim of the multi-centre retrospective study was to evaluate the efficacy and safety of lenalidomide (LEN) therapy in patients with resistant or relapsed multiple myeloma (MM) as well as in patients with stable disease (LEN used due to neurological complications). The primary endpoint of this study was an overall response rate (ORR). The secondary endpoints were as follows: time to progression (TTP), overall survival (OS) and the safety of drug use. Data were collected in 19 centres of the Polish Multiple Myeloma Study Group. The study group consisted of 306 subjects: 153 females and 153 males. In 115 patients (38.8%, group A), a resistant myeloma was diagnosed; in 135 (44.1%, group B) a relapse, and in 56 (18.3%, group C) a stable disease were stated. In 92.8% of patients, LEN+DEX combination was used; in remaining group, LEN monotherapy or a combination therapy LEN+bortezomib or LEN+bendamustine and other were used. In the entire study group, ORR was 75.5% (including 12.4% patients achieving complete remission [CR] or stringent CR [sCR]). Median time to progression (TTP) was 20 months. Median overall survival (OS) was 33.3 months. The regression model for "treatment response" was on the borderline of statistical significance (p=0.07), however the number of LEN treatment cycles ≥ 6 (R(2)=17.2%), baseline LDH level (R(2)=1.1%) and no ASCT use (R(2)=1.7%) where the factors most affecting treatment response achievement. The regression model for dependant variable--"overall survival"--was statistically significant (p=0.0000004). Factors with the most impact on OS were as follows: number of LEN cycles treatment ≥ 6 (R(2)=16.7%), treatment response achievement (R(2)=6.9%), β-2-microglobulin (β-2-M) level (R(2)=4.8%), renal function (R(2)=3.0%) and lack of 3/4 grade adverse events (R(2)=1.4%).
SUMMARY: LEN is an effective and safe therapeutic option, even in intensively treated resistant and relapsed MM patients, as well as in patients with stable disease and previous treatment-induced neurological complications. In particular, the number of LEN treatment cycles ≥ 6 was the factor which affected treatment response achievement the most, together with an important impact on OS.

Huang XE, Yan XC, Wang L, et al.
Thalidomide Combined with Chemotherapy in Treating Patients with Advanced Colorectal Cancer.
Asian Pac J Cancer Prev. 2015; 16(17):7867-9 [PubMed] Related Publications
OBJECTIVE: To assess the safety and effectiveness of thalidomide (produced by CHANGZHOU PHARMACEUTICAL FACTORY CO.LTD) combined with chemotherapy in treating patients with advanced colorectal cancer.
METHOD: A consecutive cohort of pretreated patients with advanced colorectal cancer were treated with thalidomide combined with chemotherapy. And chemotherapy for patients with advanced colorectal cancer were administered according to the condition of patients. Thalidomide was orally administered at a dosage of 50mg/day to 150 mg/day before sleeping for at least 14 days. After at least 14 days of treatment, safety and side effects were evaluated.
RESULTS: There were 12 female and 3 male patients with advanced cancer recruited into this study, including 9 patients with colon, 6 patients with rectal cancer. The median age of patients was 57(41- 82) years. Partial response was observed in 2 patients (2/15), and stable disease in 3 patients(3/15). Incidences of Grade 1 to 2 myelosuppression was observed in 1/15 patients, and Grade 1 to 2 elevation of hepatic enzyme was recorded in 1/15 patients. Adverse effects on the gastrointestinal tract were documented in 1/15 patients, and were Grade 1. No Grade 3-4 toxicities were diagnosed. No treatment related death was found.
CONCLUSIONS: Thalidomide combined with chemotherapy was safe and mildly effective in treating patients with advanced colorectal cancer. However, further study should be conducted to clarify the effectiveness of this combination.

Wang-Yuan Z, Jiang-Zheng Z, Lu YD, et al.
Clinical efficacy of metronomic chemotherapy after cool-tip radiofrequency ablation in the treatment of hepatocellular carcinoma.
Int J Hyperthermia. 2016; 32(2):193-8 [PubMed] Related Publications
PURPOSE: Anti-angiogenic agents have shown promise for treating advanced hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC), and the primary mechanism of low-dose metronomic chemotherapy using traditional cytotoxic drugs is anti-angiogenic. This study evaluated the efficacy of metronomic capecitabine and thalidomide after cool-tip radiofrequency ablation (RFA), relative to RFA alone, for treating patients with HCC.
METHODS AND MATERIALS: Patients with HCC were randomly apportioned to a test group (n = 22) receiving metronomic chemotherapy with capecitabine and thalidomide after RFA, or a control group (n = 28) receiving RFA only. Serum circulating endothelial cells (CECs) and vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) were measured in all patients before and 1 month after RFA treatment. Enhanced computed tomography or ultrasound imaging was performed to evaluate efficacy during 12 months of follow-up. The treatment groups were further stratified as HCC within or outside the Milan criteria for transplantation.
RESULTS: One month post-treatment, the tumour response rate (TRR), including complete response and partial response rate, of the test and control groups was statistically similar. At 12 months, the TRR of the test group (68.2%) was significantly higher than that of the control group (35.7%). In the test group, the TRR of patients whose tumour burdens were outside the Milan criteria was significantly higher than that of the control group. One month post-treatment, CECs and VEGF levels of the test group were significantly lower than baseline, while those of the control group were significantly higher. At the end of the 12-month follow-up, there was a progression-free survival (PFS) benefit of 2 months in the test group.
CONCLUSION: Metronomic capecitabine and thalidomide after RFA significantly reduced recurrence of HCC and extended PFS, especially for HCC outside the Milan criteria, perhaps via reduction of serum CECs and VEGF levels and inhibition of tumour angiogenesis.

Sherbet GV
Therapeutic Potential of Thalidomide and Its Analogues in the Treatment of Cancer.
Anticancer Res. 2015; 35(11):5767-72 [PubMed] Related Publications
Thalidomide was synthesised and launched several decades ago as a drug against respiratory infections and was administered to pregnant women for relief of morning sickness. The drug was withdrawn when its teratogenic effects came to light. Thalidomide and its analogues suppressed cell proliferation and angiogenesis and controlled invasion and metastasis of tumours in pre-clinical studies. With the recognition of its immunomodulatory and anti-inflammatory, properties, thalidomide may have found a place in the treatment of many forms of cancer and autoimmune conditions. Herein the signalling pathways modulated by thalidomides via the mediation of vascular endothelial growth factor, phosphoinositide-kinase/protein kinase B and nuclear factor kappa B, and mammalian target of rapamycin, which integrates these signalling systems, are discussed. The mode of action of thalidomides and their strategic utility in therapy are evaluated in the context of potential clinical benefits. Notwithstanding the perceived benefits, the side-effects of thalidomides need to be taken into account; they do exert teratogenic effects in animal models, although being effective at lower doses, the drugs seem to show comparatively manageable and reduced toxicity. Combination therapy of thalidomides and modulators of signaling that they influence may further reduce the severity of the side-effects by delivering inhibitory effects at reduced drug dosages. Pre-clinical evaluations of this kind seem warranted.

Huang YT, Cheng CC, Chiu TH, Lai PC
Therapeutic potential of thalidomide for gemcitabine-resistant bladder cancer.
Int J Oncol. 2015; 47(5):1711-24 [PubMed] Related Publications
Controversial effects of thalidomide for solid malignancies have been reported. In the present study, we evaluate the effects of thalidomide for transitional cell carcinoma (TCC), the most common type of bladder cancer. Thalidomide precipitates were observed when its DMSO solution was added to the culture medium. No precipitation was found when thalidomide was dissolved in 45% γ-cyclodextrin, and this concentration of γ-cyclodextrin elicited slight cytotoxicity on TCC BFTC905 and primary human urothelial cells. Thalidomide-γ-cyclodextrin complex exerted a concentration-dependent cytotoxicity in TCC cells, but was relatively less cytotoxic (with IC50 of 200 µM) in BFTC905 cells than the other 3 TCC cell lines, possibly due to upregulation of Bcl-xL and HIF-1α mediated carbonic anhydrase IX, and promotion of quiescence. Gemcitabine-resistant BFTC905 cells were chosen for additional experiments. Thalidomide induced apoptosis through downregulation of survivin and securin. The secretion of VEGF and TNF-α was ameliorated by thalidomide, but they did not affect cell proliferation. Immune-modulating lenalidomide and pomalidomide did not elicit cytotoxicity. In addition, cereblon did not play a role in the thalidomide effect. Oxidative DNA damage was triggered by thalidomide, and anti-oxidants reversed the effect. Thalidomide also inhibited TNF-α induced invasion through inhibition of NF-κB, and downregulation of effectors, ICAM-1 and MMP-9. Thalidomide inhibited the growth of BFTC905 xenograft tumors in SCID mice via induction of DNA damage and suppression of angiogenesis. Higher average body weight, indicating less chachexia, was observed in thalidomide treated group. Sedative effect was observed within one-week of treatment. These pre-clinical results suggest therapeutic potential of thalidomide for gemcitabine-resistant bladder cancer.

Milanovic D, Sticht C, Röhrich M, et al.
Inhibition of 13-cis retinoic acid-induced gene expression of reactive-resistance genes by thalidomide in glioblastoma tumours in vivo.
Oncotarget. 2015; 6(30):28938-48 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
The cell differentiation potential of 13-cis retinoic acid (RA) has not succeeded in the clinical treatment of glioblastoma (GBM) so far. However, RA may also induce the expression of resistance genes such as HOXB7 which can be suppressed by Thalidomide (THAL). Therefore, we tested if combined treatment with RA+THAL may inhibit growth of glioblastoma in vivo. Treatment with RA+THAL but not RA or THAL alone significantly inhibited tumour growth. The synergistic effect of RA and THAL was corroborated by the effect on proliferation of glioblastoma cell lines in vitro. HOXB7 was not upregulated but microarray analysis validated by real-time PCR identified four potential resistance genes (IL-8, HILDPA, IGFBPA, and ANGPTL4) whose upregulation by RA was suppressed by THAL. Furthermore, genes coding for small nucleolar RNAs (snoRNA) were identified as a target for RA for the first time, and their upregulation was maintained after combined treatment. Pathway analysis showed upregulation of the Ribosome pathway and downregulation of pathways associated with proliferation and inflammation. In conclusion, combined treatment with RA + THAL delayed growth of GBM xenografts and suppressed putative resistance genes associated with hypoxia and angiogenesis. This encourages further pre-clinical and clinical studies of this drug combination in GBM.

Lee J, Smith D, Rabin N, et al.
17P deleted multiple myeloma presenting with intracranial disease: durable remission after tailored management.
Hematol Oncol. 2016; 34(3):165-70 [PubMed] Related Publications
In multiple myeloma (MM), del(17p) is associated with a poor outcome if present in greater than half the tumour cells. Similarly, intracranial involvement, often seen in the context of advanced disease, also heralds short survival. We present a rare case of MM presenting with intracranial disease and carrying del(17p) in 100% of tumour cells. This patient was successfully treated with combination chemotherapy employing central nervous system directed agents and bortezomib, followed by autologous stem cell transplant and consolidation with radiotherapy, bortezomib and thalidomide. We also present the outcomes of our single-centre experience of MM patients presenting with del(17p) disease. Copyright © 2015 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

Zalazar F, De Luca P, Gardner K, et al.
Low doses of CPS49 and flavopiridol combination as potential treatment for advanced prostate cancer.
Curr Pharm Biotechnol. 2015; 16(6):553-63 [PubMed] Related Publications
Prostate cancer (PCa) still ranks as the second most frequently diagnosed cancer and metastatic castration resistant prostate cancer (CRPC) is a foremost cause of men cancer death around the world. The aim of this work was to investigate the selectivity and efficacy of new drug combinations for CRPC. We combined three compounds: paclitaxel (PTX: taxane that inhibits microtubule polymerization); 2-(2,4-Difluoro-phenyl)-4,5,6,7-tetrafluoro-1H-isoindole- 1,3(2H)-dione (CPS49; redox-reactive thalidomide analog with anti-angiogenic properties) and flavopiridol (flavo: semisynthetic flavonoid that inhibits cyclin dependent kinases). We assessed CPS49-flavo or -PTX combinations cytotoxicity in a panel of PCa cell lines and PC3 xenografts. We found that CPS49 enhanced flavo or PTX cytotoxicity in human PCa cell lines while showed resistance in a non-tumor cell line. Furthermore, xenografts generated by inoculation of human prostate carcinoma PC3 cells in nu/nu mice showed that CPS49/flavo administration reduced tumor growth both after 2 weeks of co-treatment and after 1 week of pretreatment with a low dose of flavo followed by 2 weeks of co-treatment. PTX and CPS49 combination did not significantly reduce tumor growth in PC3 xenografts. Histological analysis of xenograft PC3 tumor samples from CPS49/flavo combination showed extensive areas of necrosis induced by the treatment. RT-qPCR array containing 23 genes from PC3 cells or PC3 xenografts exposed to CPS49/flavo combination showed that this treatment shut down the expression of several genes involved in adhesion, migration or invasion. In summary, the antitumor activity of CPS49 or flavopiridol was improved by the combination of these compounds and using half dose of that previously reported. Hence, CPS49-flavo combination is a promising new alternative for PCa therapy.

Cejalvo MJ, de la Rubia J
Front-line lenalidomide therapy in patients with newly diagnosed multiple myeloma.
Future Oncol. 2015; 11(11):1643-58 [PubMed] Related Publications
The availability of novel drugs with different and innovative mechanisms of action such as proteasome inhibitors such as bortezomib and immunomdulatory agents as thalidomide and lenalidomide have changed the landscape of the treatment of patients with newly diagnosed multiple myeloma, allowing the development of several new therapeutic regimens both for transplant-eligible and -ineligible patients. Among these new agents, lenalidomide has become one of the most commonly used in these patients. In this article, we review the current state-of-the-art of different induction and maintenance lenalidomide-containing regimens administered in transplant-eligible and -ineligible patients with newly diagnosed multiple myeloma. We also discuss the safety profile and potential long-term side effects of this drug and analyze its utility in certain subgroups of patients like those with high-risk disease or different degrees of renal impairment.

Ullenhag GJ, Rossmann E, Liljefors M
A phase I dose-escalation study of lenalidomide in combination with gemcitabine in patients with advanced pancreatic cancer.
PLoS One. 2015; 10(4):e0121197 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
PURPOSE: Lenalidomide have both immunomodulatory and anti-angiogenic properties which could confer anti-cancer effects. The aim of this study was to assess the feasibility of combining lenalidomide with the standard treatment gemcitabine in pancreatic cancer patients with advanced disease.
PATIENTS AND METHODS: Eligible patients had locally advanced or metastatic adenocarcinoma of the pancreas. Patients received lenalidomide days 1-21 orally and gemcitabine 1000 mg/m2 intravenously (days 1, 8 and 15), each 28 day cycle. Three cohorts of lenalidomide were examined (Cohort I = 15 mg, Cohort II = 20 mg and Cohort III = 25 mg daily). The maximum tolerated dose (MTD) of lenalidomide given in combination with gemcitabine was defined as the highest dose level at which no more than one out of four (25%) subjects experiences a dose-limiting toxicity (DLT). Patients should also be able to receive daily low molecular weight heparin (LMWH) (e.g. dalteparin 5000 IU s.c. daily) as a prophylactic anticoagulant for venous thromboembolic events (VTEs). Twelve patients (n = 4, n = 3 and n = 5 in cohort I, II and III, respectively) were enrolled in this study.
RESULTS: Median duration of treatment was 11 weeks (range 1-66), and median number of treatment cycles were three (range 1-14). The only DLT was a cardiac failure grade 3 in cohort III. Frequent treatment-related adverse events (AEs) (all grades) included neutropenia, leucopenia and fatigue (83% each, but there was no febrile neutropenia); thrombocytopenia (75%); dermatological toxicity (75%); diarrhea and nausea (42% each); and neuropathy (42%).
DISCUSSION: This phase I study demonstrates the feasibility of the combination of lenalidomide and gemcitabine as first-line treatment in patients with advanced pancreatic cancer. The tolerability profile demonstrated in the dose escalation schedule of lenalidomide suggests the dosing of lenalidomide to be 25 mg daily on days 1-21 with standard dosing of gemcitabine and merits further evaluation in a phase II trial.
TRIAL REGISTRATION: ClinicalTrials.gov NCT01547260.

Liang PC, Ch'ang HJ, Hsu C, et al.
Perfusion parameters of dynamic contrast-enhanced magnetic resonance imaging predict outcomes of hepatocellular carcinoma receiving radiotherapy with or without thalidomide.
Hepatol Int. 2015; 9(2):258-68 [PubMed] Related Publications
BACKGROUND: To correlate between signal parameters using dynamic contrast-enhanced magnetic resonance imaging (DCEMRI) and outcomes of hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) receiving radiotherapy with or without concomitant thalidomide.
METHODS: DCEMRI was performed in advanced HCC patients undergoing radiotherapy with or without concomitant thalidomide. Initial first-pass enhancement slopes (slope) and peak enhancement ratios (peak) were measured over an operator-defined region of interest over tumor and non-tumor liver parenchyma. The perfusion parameters were correlated with clinical outcomes. The study was registered with ClinicalTrials.gov. (identifier NCT00155272).
RESULTS: Forty-three patients were evaluable. There were 18 partial responses (PRs), 5 minimal responses (MRs), 17 stable diseases (SDs), and 3 progressive diseases (PDs). Baseline perfusion parameters as well as slope at 14 days of radiotherapy were higher in patients with PR or MR compared to SD or PD (0.81 ± 0.29 vs. 0.49 ± 0.34, p < 0.01; 0.39 ± 0.15 vs. 0.28 ± 0.16, p = 0.02; 0.97 ± 0.38 vs. 0.46 ± 0.26, p < 0.01; respectively). Multivariate analysis revealed perfusion parameters over liver parenchyma, but not over tumor, and independently predicted progression-free and overall survival (182 ± 33 vs. 105 ± 26 days, p = 0.01; 397 ± 111 vs. 233 ± 19 days, p = 0.001 respectively). For 22 patients receiving concomitant thalidomide, the perfusion parameters were not significantly different from those receiving radiotherapy alone.
CONCLUSIONS: Signal parameters of DCEMRI over tumor and liver parenchyma correlated with tumor response and survival, respectively, in HCC patients receiving radiotherapy.

Jacques V, Czarnik AW, Judge TM, et al.
Differentiation of antiinflammatory and antitumorigenic properties of stabilized enantiomers of thalidomide analogs.
Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2015; 112(12):E1471-9 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Therapeutics developed and sold as racemates can exhibit a limited therapeutic index because of side effects resulting from the undesired enantiomer (distomer) and/or its metabolites, which at times, forces researchers to abandon valuable scaffolds. Therefore, most chiral drugs are developed as single enantiomers. Unfortunately, the development of some chirally pure drug molecules is hampered by rapid in vivo racemization. The class of compounds known as immunomodulatory drugs derived from thalidomide is developed and sold as racemates because of racemization at the chiral center of the 3-aminoglutarimide moiety. Herein, we show that replacement of the exchangeable hydrogen at the chiral center with deuterium allows the stabilization and testing of individual enantiomers for two thalidomide analogs, including CC-122, a compound currently in human clinical trials for hematological cancers and solid tumors. Using "deuterium-enabled chiral switching" (DECS), in vitro antiinflammatory differences of up to 20-fold are observed between the deuterium-stabilized enantiomers. In vivo, the exposure is dramatically increased for each enantiomer while they retain similar pharmacokinetics. Furthermore, the single deuterated enantiomers related to CC-122 exhibit profoundly different in vivo responses in an NCI-H929 myeloma xenograft model. The (-)-deuterated enantiomer is antitumorigenic, whereas the (+)-deuterated enantiomer has little to no effect on tumor growth. The ability to stabilize and differentiate enantiomers by DECS opens up a vast window of opportunity to characterize the class effects of thalidomide analogs and improve on the therapeutic promise of other racemic compounds, including the development of safer therapeutics and the discovery of new mechanisms and clinical applications for existing therapeutics.

Petrylak DP, Vogelzang NJ, Budnik N, et al.
Docetaxel and prednisone with or without lenalidomide in chemotherapy-naive patients with metastatic castration-resistant prostate cancer (MAINSAIL): a randomised, double-blind, placebo-controlled phase 3 trial.
Lancet Oncol. 2015; 16(4):417-25 [PubMed] Related Publications
BACKGROUND: Patients with metastatic castration-resistant prostate cancer have few treatment options. We investigated the safety and efficacy of lenalidomide, an immunomodulatory agent with anti-angiogenic properties, in combination with docetaxel and prednisone in chemotherapy-naive patients with metastatic castration-resistant prostate cancer.
METHODS: In this randomised, double-blind, placebo-controlled, phase 3 study, we randomly assigned chemotherapy-naive patients with progressive metastatic castration-resistant prostate cancer in a 1:1 ratio to receive docetaxel (75 mg/m(2)) on day 1 and prednisone (5 mg twice daily) on days 1-21 and either lenalidomide (25 mg) or placebo once daily on days 1-14 of each 21 day treatment cycle. Permuted block randomisation was done with an interactive voice response system and stratified by Eastern Cooperative Oncology Group performance status, geographic region, and type of disease progression. Clinicians, patients, and investigators were masked to treatment allocation. The primary endpoint was overall survival. Efficacy analysis was by intention to treat. Patients who received at least one dose of study drug were included in the safety analyses. This study is registered with ClinicalTrials.gov, number NCT00988208.
FINDINGS: 1059 patients were enrolled and randomly assigned between Nov 11, 2009, and Nov 23, 2011 (533 to the lenalidomide group and 526 to the control group), and 1046 patients received study treatment (525 in the lenalidomide group and 521 in the placebo group). At data cutoff (Jan 13, 2012) after a median follow-up of 8 months (IQR 5-12), 221 patients had died: 129 in the lenalidomide group and 92 in the placebo group. Median overall survival was 17·7 months (95% CI 14·8-18·8) in the lenalidomide group and not reached in the placebo group (hazard ratio [HR] 1·53, 95% CI 1·17-2·00, p=0·0017). The trial was subsequently closed early due to futility. The number of deaths that occurred during treatment or less than 28 days since the last dose were similar in both groups (18 [3%] of 525 patients in the lenalidomide group vs 13 [2%] of 521 patients). 109 (21%) patients in the lenalidomide group and 78 (15%) in the placebo group died more than 28 days from last dose, mainly due to disease progression. At least one grade 3 or higher adverse event was reported in 381 (73%) of 525 patients receiving lenalidomide and 303 (58%) of 521 patients receiving placebo. Grade 3-4 neutropenia (114 [22%] for lenalidomide vs 85 [16%] for placebo), febrile neutropenia (62 [12%] vs 23 [4%]), diarrhoea (37 [7%] vs 12 [2%]), pneumonia (24 [5%] vs five [1%]), dyspnoea (22 [4%] vs nine [2%]), asthenia (27 [5%] vs 17 [3%]), and pulmonary embolism (32 [6%] vs seven [1%]) occurred more frequently in the lenalidomide group than in the placebo group.
INTERPRETATION: Overall survival with the combination of lenalidomide, docetaxel, and prednisone was significantly worse than with docetaxel and prednisone for chemotherapy-naive men with metastatic, castration-resistant prostate cancer. Further research with this treatment combination is not warranted.
FUNDING: Celgene Corporation.

Bilen MA, Fu S, Falchook GS, et al.
Phase I trial of valproic acid and lenalidomide in patients with advanced cancer.
Cancer Chemother Pharmacol. 2015; 75(4):869-74 [PubMed] Related Publications
PURPOSE: The objectives of this study were to evaluate the tolerability and efficacy of valproic acid (VPA) and lenalidomide.
METHODS: In this 3+3 design study, VPA was administered daily on a 7-day-on, 7-day-off schedule, and lenalidomide was administered daily for 28 days. Because of the response noted during the dose-escalation phase, 12 additional patients with adenoid cystic carcinoma (ACC) received the maximum tolerated dose (MTD) in a dose-expansion phase.
RESULTS: Twenty-six patients with advanced cancer (14 men/12 women), median age of 56 years (range 38-70 years), and a median number of two prior therapies (range 0-12) were enrolled. The most common toxicities were fatigue, rash, neutropenia, thrombocytopenia, and change in mental status. Dose-limiting toxic (DLT) effects were grade III confusion (n = 3), somnolence (n = 1), and gait disturbance (n = 1). The MTD was reached at VPA 30 mg/kg and lenalidomide 25 mg. Although only two of the 12 patients from the dose-expansion phase had DLT during the first cycle at the MTD, during subsequent cycles the majority of patients required dose reduction of VPA to 5-20 mg/kg because of fatigue and drowsiness. No significant tumor reductions were noticed in patients with ACC, but seven of these patients had stable disease over four cycles. Of non-ACC patients, one patient with melanoma and one patient with parathyroid carcinoma had stable disease for six cycles and eight cycles, respectively.
CONCLUSIONS: Lenalidomide combined with VPA was well tolerated. We recommend starting VPA at 5 mg/kg and titrating upward to 20 mg/kg. No significant tumor reductions were noticed in patients with ACC.

Wang J, McGuire TR, Britton HC, et al.
Lenalidomide and cyclophosphamide immunoregulation in patients with metastatic, castration-resistant prostate cancer.
Clin Exp Metastasis. 2015; 32(2):111-24 [PubMed] Related Publications
Lenalidomide (LEN) and metronomic cyclophosphamide (CTX) regulate angiogenesis and immunosuppressive cells linked to the progression of metastatic castration-resistant prostate cancer (mCRPC). A phase-I/II, dose-escalation trial of LEN plus oral CTX was conducted in patients with previously treated mCRPC. In the phase-I study, CTX was given at 50 mg (day 1-28) and LEN at 10-25 mg (day 1-21) on a 28-day cycle using a "3+3" study design. In phase II, patients received LEN at 25 mg (day 1-21) with CTX at 50 mg PO QD (day 1-28) on a 28-day cycle. Nineteen patients in phase I were evaluable for toxicity. The maximum tolerated dose (MTD) was not observed at any of the dose levels (DLs) tested. Six patients received treatment in phase II before the trial was closed. A ≥ 50% reduction in PSA was observed in 31.7% evaluable patients. Radiographically, one patient had a partial response. Stable disease was documented in 68% of evaluable patients after two therapy cycles. Circulating tumor cells (CTCs) decreased in 22.7% and remained stable in 31.8% of patients. Baseline numbers of peripheral MDSCs (MDSC; Lin-DR(-)CD11b(+)) were significantly increased in patients versus normal donors, and were decreased by chemotherapy. At baseline, MDSCs correlated directly with CTCs, and inversely with T- and B cell frequency supporting their immunosuppressive activity. The combination of LEN and metronomic CTX can be safely administered, reversing cellular immunosuppression in this group of elderly patients with mCRPC. Further research is required to identify responsive subgroup(s) and validate the biomarkers.

Yang CS, Kim C, Antaya RJ
Review of thalidomide use in the pediatric population.
J Am Acad Dermatol. 2015; 72(4):703-11 [PubMed] Related Publications
Thalidomide is resurging in the management of adult rheumatologic skin conditions, especially lupus erythematosus. Although use in pediatric patients is reported since the 1990s, there are no systematic reviews describing treatment in children. Thalidomide has immunomodulatory and anti-tumor necrosis factor-α effects as well as antiangiogenic properties, making it useful for a broad spectrum of inflammatory disorders. Thalidomide is second-line treatment for aphthous stomatitis and chronic graft-versus-host disease in children and has been prescribed for many other conditions including actinic prurigo and epidermolysis bullosa pruriginosa. Systemic lupus erythematosus may be less responsive to thalidomide in children than adults. Peripheral neuropathy is observed in both idiosyncratic and dose-dependent relationships; children older than 12 years may be more susceptible to developing this adverse effect than younger patients. There are rare reports of thrombotic complications in children treated for nonmalignant indications. We review the mechanism of action and propose that thalidomide is an alternative treatment for patients who fail or have contraindications to anti-tumor necrosis factor-α biologics.

Wu J, Ng J, Christos PJ, et al.
Chronic thalidomide and chemoembolization for hepatocellular carcinoma.
Oncologist. 2014; 19(12):1229-30 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
BACKGROUND: Transcatheter arterial chemoembolization (TACE) has been used to curtail tumor vasculature and delay tumor progression in hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC). We conducted a phase I trial to evaluate the efficacy and toxicity of thalidomide when combined with TACE in patients with advanced HCC.
METHODS: Between June 2000 and November 2003, 56 patients with unresectable HCC and amenable to TACE were enrolled. The starting dose of thalidomide was 200 mg/day and was escalated every 2 weeks as tolerated to a maximum dose of 1,000 mg/day. Dose reductions and discontinuation were determined by toxicity. TACE was performed 4 weeks after initiation of thalidomide therapy and repeated as necessary.
RESULTS: Overall, 47 and 55 patients were evaluable for response and toxicity, respectively; the median dose of thalidomide given was 200 mg/day. Three patients (6.38%) patients achieved complete responses, whereas 10 (21.3%) had partial responses, for an overall response rate of 27.7%, and 27 (57.5%) had stable disease. Median progression-free survival was 7 months (95% confidence interval [CI]: 5-10 months), and median OS was 21 months (95% CI: 16-28 months) (Fig. 1). Fatigue and lethargy (49.1%), constipation (47.3%), and nausea (43.6%) were common. Grade 3-4 toxicities consisted mostly of increased aspartate aminotransferase (43.6%) and elevated alanine aminotransferase (38.2%) (Table 1).
CONCLUSION: Thalidomide and TACE were commonly associated with nonhematologic side effects, with fatigue and constipation being prominent. With a lack of clear therapeutic benefit, this combination is unlikely to be pursued for HCC.

Penas-Prado M, Hess KR, Fisch MJ, et al.
Randomized phase II adjuvant factorial study of dose-dense temozolomide alone and in combination with isotretinoin, celecoxib, and/or thalidomide for glioblastoma.
Neuro Oncol. 2015; 17(2):266-73 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
BACKGROUND: Chemoradiation, followed by adjuvant temozolomide, is the standard treatment for newly diagnosed glioblastoma. Adding other active agents may enhance treatment efficacy.
METHODS: The primary objective of this factorial phase II study was to determine if one of 3 potential chemotherapy agents added to dose-dense temozolomide (ddTMZ) improves progression-free survival (PFS) for patients with newly diagnosed glioblastoma. A prior phase I trial established the safety of combining ddTMZ with isotretinoin, celecoxib, and/or thalidomide. Adults with good performance status and no evidence of progression post chemoradiation were randomized into 8 arms: ddTMZ alone (7 days on/7 days off) or doublet, triplet, and quadruplet combinations with isotretinoin, celecoxib, and thalidomide.
RESULTS: The study enrolled 155 participants with a median age of 53 years (range, 18-84 y). None of the agents demonstrated improved PFS when compared with arms not containing that specific agent. There was no difference in PFS for triplet compared with doublet regimens, although a trend for improved overall survival (OS) was seen (20.1 vs 17.0 months, P = .15). Compared with ddTMZ, the ddTMZ + isotretinoin doublet had worse PFS (10.5 vs 6.5 months, P = .043) and OS (21.2 vs 11.7 months, P = .037). Trends were also seen for worse outcomes with isotretinoin-containing regimens, but there was no impact with celecoxib or thalidomide combinations. Treatment was well tolerated with expected high rates of lymphopenia.
CONCLUSIONS: The results do not establish a benefit for these combinations but indicate that adding isotretinoin to ddTMZ may be detrimental. This study demonstrated the feasibility and utility of the factorial design in efficiently testing drug combinations in newly diagnosed glioblastoma.

Selle F, Sevin E, Ray-Coquard I, et al.
A phase II study of lenalidomide in platinum-sensitive recurrent ovarian carcinoma.
Ann Oncol. 2014; 25(11):2191-6 [PubMed] Related Publications
BACKGROUND: Lenalidomide has dual antiangiogenic and immunomodulatory properties and confirmed antitumor activity in hematologic malignancies. A phase II study investigating the safety and efficacy of continuous lenalidomide in recurrent ovarian cancer patients was initiated.
PATIENTS AND METHODS: Patients with histologically confirmed epithelial ovarian, fallopian tube or primary peritoneal carcinoma, with asymptomatic recurrence 6 months after prior therapy were treated with continuous oral lenalidomide (20 mg/day). The primary end point was to evaluate efficacy according to the rate of disease control at 4 months. Secondary objectives were progression-free survival (PFS) and safety.
RESULTS: Most of the 45 patients enrolled and treated had serous histology (78%) and a single line of prior chemotherapy (73%). Median platinum-free interval (PFI) was 11.3 months (range 6.9-56.8). Clinical benefit at 4 months was 38% [95% confidence interval (CI) 23% to 53%]. A 59% disease control rate was reported in patients with a PFI >12 months versus 24% with PFI of 6-12 months (P = 0.023). Four patients had RECIST partial responses and 21 had stable disease. CA125 responses were reported in eight patients, including one complete response. Median PFS was 3.4 months (95% CI 2.4-4.4). Most frequent toxicity was hematologic, notably grade 3-4 neutropenia in 29% of patients, along with fatigue (69%), gastrointestinal toxicity (constipation 53%, abdominal pain 49%, diarrhea 38%, nausea/vomiting 36%) and thrombosis (11%). Eight patients withdrew due to related toxicity.
CONCLUSIONS: Lenalidomide shows interesting efficacy in late recurrent ovarian cancer patients. Toxicity was mainly hematologic, gastrointestinal and venous thrombosis. Future studies will evaluate combination of lenalidomide with chemotherapy agents.

Ou DL, Chang CJ, Jeng YM, et al.
Potential synergistic anti-tumor activity between lenalidomide and sorafenib in hepatocellular carcinoma.
J Gastroenterol Hepatol. 2014; 29(12):2021-31 [PubMed] Related Publications
BACKGROUND AND AIM: The immune modulatory drug lenalidomide has shown promising anti-tumor activity in a clinical trial of patients with advanced hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC). The present study explored whether lenalidomide can enhance the anti-tumor activity of sorafenib, the standard molecular targeted therapy for HCC.
METHODS: The anti-tumor efficacy of single-agent or combination treatment was measured by change in tumor volume and animal survival using an orthotopic liver cancer model. Distribution of T-cell subpopulations in tumor-infiltrating lymphocytes (TILs) and splenocytes derived from tumor-implanted mice was measured by flow cytometry. Depletion of relevant T-cell subpopulations or cytokines was done by co-administration of relevant antibodies with study drug treatment. Tumor cell apoptosis and tumor angiogenesis were measured by transferase deoxytidyl uridine end labeling assay and immunohistochemical study, respectively.
RESULTS: Combination of sorafenib and lenalidomide produced significant synergistic anti-tumor efficacy in terms of tumor growth delay and animal survival. This synergistic effect was associated with a significant increase in interferon-γ expressing CD8(+) lymphocytes in TILs and a significantly higher number of granzyme- or perforin-expressing CD8(+) T cells, compared with vehicle- or single-agent treatment groups. Combination treatment significantly increased apoptotic tumor cells and vascular normalization in tumor tissue. The synergistic anti-tumor effect was abolished after CD8 depletion.
CONCLUSIONS: Lenalidomide can enhance the anti-tumor effects of sorafenib in HCC through its immune modulatory effects, and CD8(+) TILs play an important role in the anti-tumor synergism.

Jian W, Levitt JM, Lerner SP, Sonpavde G
The preclinical activity of lenalidomide in indolent urothelial carcinoma.
Anticancer Res. 2014; 34(7):3383-9 [PubMed] Related Publications
BACKGROUND: Lenalidomide is an IMiD® immunomodulatory drug, which may warrant evaluation in urothelial carcinoma (UC).
MATERIALS AND METHODS: The in vitro and in vivo activity of lenalidomide was evaluated in human and murine UC cell lines. Tumors were evaluated by immunohistochemistry for (CD31), cleaved caspase-3 (CC3) and CD3+/CD20+ lymphocyte infiltration. Cereblon, a molecular target of lenalidomide was analyzed by immunohistochemistry.
RESULTS: Significant pro-apoptotic activity, and reduction of cell viability was seen at low micromolar concentrations of lenalidomide against indolent human RT4 UC cells in vitro. Cereblon expression was quantitatively lower in sensitive RT4 cells compared to resistant 5637 cells. In RT4 xenografts, lenalidomide significantly reduced tumor size and CD31 expression, and increased expression of CC3 (p<0.05). Cereblon expression increased in lenalidomide-treated RT4 xenografts (p<0.05).
CONCLUSION: Lenalidomide demonstrated preclinical activity against superficially-invasive low-grade UC cells attributable to direct tumor cell apoptosis and anti-angiogenic activity. Clinical trials are warranted in patients with indolent UC.

Pallotti MC, Nannini M, Agostinelli C, et al.
Long-term durable response to lenalidomide in a patient with hepatic epithelioid hemangioendothelioma.
World J Gastroenterol. 2014; 20(22):7049-54 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Epithelioid hemangioendothelioma (EH) is a rare tumor arising from the vascular endothelial cells of soft tissue or visceral organs. The most common visceral site is the liver, where it is often involved in a multifocal manner known as hepatic EH (HEH). Surgical resection with curative intent represents the gold standard therapy. When surgery is not feasible, or in cases of metastatic disease, no standard medical treatment is currently indicated. In small series, drugs with anti-angiogenic activity (such as bevacizumab, sorafenib, thalidomide, and lenalidomide) have been proposed with promising results. We describe a 73-year-old man with multifocal non-resectable HEH treated with lenalidomide. Disease status was evaluated by abdominal ultrasound and magnetic resonance every four months. The patient was treated for a total of 39 mo with prolonged disease stabilization and, at the time of writing, is still under treatment with a good tolerance profile. During a short period of treatment discontinuation, the disease showed slight progression that immediately resolved after the reintroduction of lenalidomide. Lenalidomide may represent a valid treatment option for HEH due to its anti-angiogenic and antineoplastic activities. This preliminary result merits further study in a large series.

Rini B, Redman B, Garcia JA, et al.
A phase I/II study of lenalidomide in combination with sunitinib in patients with advanced or metastatic renal cell carcinoma.
Ann Oncol. 2014; 25(9):1794-9 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
BACKGROUND: This phase I/II study was conducted to determine the maximum tolerated dose (MTD), safety, and efficacy of lenalidomide plus sunitinib in metastatic renal cell carcinoma (RCC) patients.
PATIENTS AND METHODS: Patients with histologically confirmed, metastatic RCC were treated with 10 mg/day lenalidomide plus 37.5 mg/day sunitinib, orally in 21-day cycles. Doses were escalated to determine the MTD in phase I, with additional patients planned at this dose in phase II. Primary end points were MTD and response rate.
RESULTS: Sixteen patients received a median of 2, 3, and 5 cycles in cohort 1 [lenalidomide 10 mg (days 1-21) and sunitinib 37.5 mg (days 1-21)], cohort 2 [lenalidomide 10 mg (days 1-21) and sunitinib 37.5 mg (days 1-14)], and cohort 3 [lenalidomide 15 mg (days 1-21) and sunitinib 37.5 mg (days 1-14)], respectively. Median treatment durations were 41, 63, and 97 days for lenalidomide; and 41, 57, and 97.5 days for sunitinib. The MTD was found to be continuous dosing of lenalidomide 10 mg/day plus sunitinib 37.5 mg/day for 14 of 21 days. Dose-limiting toxicities included neutropenia, leukopenia, thrombocytopenia, asthenia, atrial fibrillation, and increased transaminases. The most frequent grade 3-4 treatment-emergent adverse events were hematologic, including neutropenia and leukopenia. One patient achieved partial response, and seven had stable disease of which three were confirmed at subsequent tumor assessments. B cells and several T-cell subsets were modulated versus baseline.
CONCLUSION: The dose schedules of lenalidomide and sunitinib evaluated in this study were not well tolerated; cumulative toxicity precluded enrollment at the MTD.

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