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CB1954 [5-(aziridin-1-yl)-2,4-dinitrobenzamide] is converted by the bacterial enzyme nitroimidazole reductase (NTR) into a potent cytotoxic bifunctional alkylating agent, which can be delivered to tumors in adenoviral vectors as virus-directed, enzyme prodrug therapy. This report summarizes a Phase I and pharmacokinetic study of the prodrug, CB1954. Thirty patients, ages 23-78 years (median 62 years), with predominantly gastrointestinal malignancies were treated. CB1954 was administered by i.v. injection every 3 weeks or i.p. followed by 3-weekly i.v. injections, toward a maximum of six cycles. The dose was escalated from 3 to 37.5 mg/m2. No significant toxicity was seen until 24 mg/m2 (recommended i.v. dose). Dose-limiting toxicities (DLT) were diarrhea and hepatic toxicity, seen at 37.5 mg/m2. DLT has not been observed at the current i.p. dose of 24 mg/m2. There was no alopecia, marrow suppression, or nephrotoxicity. Clearance data suggest hepatic metabolism, and <5% of CB1954 was renally excreted. There was a nonlinear relationship between i.v. dose and area under the curve (AUC). At the recommended i.v. dose of 24 mg/m2, the AUC was 5.8 microM/h. Intraperitoneal administration (24 mg/m2) achieved an AUC of 387 microM/h, giving a considerable regional advantage. In vitro, the AUC required to achieve the IC50 for CB1954, in NTR-expressing cancer cells, ranges from 10-50 microM/h. Thus, CB1954 is well tolerated at a dose of 24 mg/m2, and sufficient serum/peritoneal levels are achieved for an enzyme-prodrug approach to be feasible. We are now conducting a Phase I trial combining adenovirus-mediated NTR and i.v. CB1954 (24 mg/m2) in patients with primary and secondary liver tumors.


Journal article


Clin Cancer Res

Publication Date





2662 - 2668


Abdominal Pain, Adenoviridae, Adult, Aged, Anorexia, Antineoplastic Agents, Aziridines, Diarrhea, Dose-Response Relationship, Drug, Fatigue, Female, Gastrointestinal Neoplasms, Genetic Vectors, Humans, Injections, Intraperitoneal, Injections, Intravenous, Male, Middle Aged, Nausea, Nitroreductases, Prodrugs, Treatment Outcome, Vomiting