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01.03.2012 | Original Article | Ausgabe 3/2012

Cancer Chemotherapy and Pharmacology 3/2012

A randomized phase II study of two doses of vorinostat in combination with 5-FU/LV in patients with refractory colorectal cancer

Cancer Chemotherapy and Pharmacology > Ausgabe 3/2012
M. G. Fakih, A. Groman, J. McMahon, G. Wilding, J. R. Muindi
Wichtige Hinweise
This work has been presented in part at the ESMO meeting in Milan in 2010.



Vorinostat is synergistic with 5-FU in vitro and in vivo models. A combination of these two agents was associated with clinical activity in 5-FU refractory colorectal cancer patients in a phase I clinical trial, therefore warranting the conduct of this prospective phase II study.

Patients and methods

Patients with refractory metastatic colorectal cancer were randomized in a two-stage design to receive vorinostat at 800 or 1,400 mg/day once a day × 3, every 2 weeks. 5-FU, preceded by leucovorin, was administered as a bolus followed by a 46-h infusion on days 2 and 3 of vorinostat. A pre-specified 2-month progression-free survival (PFS) rate of 27/43 patients per arm was needed to deem an arm interesting for further investigation.


The high-dose vorinostat arm did not reach the needed efficacy endpoint at completion of the first stage, with only 8 out of 15 patients being alive and progression free at 2 months. The low-dose vorinostat arm proceeded to accrue 43 patients with a 2-month PFS rate of 53% (23 out 43), including one partial response. The median PFS and overall survival on the low-dose arm were 2.4 and 6.5 months, respectively. Both treatment arms were well tolerated. No differences were noted in the pharmacokinetics of vorinostat at the 800- or 1,400-mg dose-levels, suggesting bioavailability saturation.


While the addition of vorinostat to 5-FU resulted in 1 partial response and in some disease stabilizations, the limited activity does not warrant the unselected use of this combination in chemotherapy-refractory colorectal cancer.

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