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Phase II Study Of Asparagine-Glycine-Arginine–Human Tumor Necrosis Factor α, A Selective Vascular Targeting Agent, In Previously Treated Patients With Malignant Pleural Mesothelioma

Vanesa Gregorc, Paolo A. Zucali, Armando Santoro, Giovanni L. Ceresoli, Giovanni Citterio, Tommaso M. De Pas, Nicoletta Zilembo, Fabio De Vincenzo, Matteo Simonelli, Gilda Rossoni, Anna Spreafico, Maria Grazia Viganò, Floriana Fontana, Filippo G. De Braud, Emilio Bajetta, Federico Caligaris-Cappio, Paolo Bruzzi, Antonio Lambiase, Claudio Bordignon

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Purpose NGR-hTNF consists of human tumor necrosis factor α (hTNF-α) fused to the tumor-homing peptide asparagine-glycine-arginine (NGR) able to selectively bind an aminopeptidase N isoform overexpressed on tumor blood vessels. Hypervascularity is a prominent and poor-prognosis feature of malignant pleural mesothelioma (MPM). Currently, there are no standard options for patients with MPM who are failing a front-line pemetrexed-based regimen. We explored safety and efficacy of NGR-hTNF in this setting. Patients and Methods Eligible patients had radiologically documented tumor progression and performance status ≤ 2. Primary study aim was progression-free survival (PFS). NGR-hTNF 0.8 μg/m2 was given intravenously every 3 weeks. A subsequent cohort of patients received 0.8 μg/m2 on a weekly basis. Results In the triweekly cohort (n = 43), only one grade 3 drug-related toxicity was noted, and the most common grades 1 to 2 were short-lived chills (71%). The median PFS was 2.8 months (95% CI, 2.3 to 3.3 months). Nineteen patients (44%) had disease control (one had partial response, and 18 had stable diseases) and experienced a median progression-free time of 4.4 months. In the weekly cohort (n = 14), there was no higher toxicity, and median PFS was 3.0 months (95% CI, 1.9 to 4.1 months). Seven patients (50%) had disease control (all stable diseases) and had a median progression-free interval of 9.1 months. In the overall study population (N = 57), median PFS was 2.8 months. Median progression-free time was 4.7 months in twenty-six patients (46%) who achieved disease control. Median survival was 12.1 months. Conclusion The tolerability and disease control of NGR-hTNF 0.8 μg/m2 weekly warrant additional evaluation in patients with advanced MPM.