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Ann Oncol. 2013 Jan;24(1):252-7. doi: 10.1093/annonc/mds275. Epub 2012 Aug 16.

Phase II study of the HSP90-inhibitor BIIB021 in gastrointestinal stromal tumors.

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  • 1Melanoma and Sarcoma Service, Department of Medicine, Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, New York, NY 10065, USA. dicksonm@mskcc.org



HSP90 inhibition leads to proteosomal degradation of activated KIT and has in vitro activity against gastrointestinal stromal tumors (GIST). BIIB021 is an oral non-ansamycin HSP90 inhibitor. We carried out a phase II study of BIIB021 in patients with GIST refractory to imatinib and sunitinib.


The primary end-point was metabolic partial response (mPR) as assessed by fluorodeoxyglucose positron emission tomography (FDG-PET). The secondary end-points were pharmacokinetic assessments of BIIB021 and pharmacodynamic assessments of HSP70. Twenty-three patients were treated on two schedules: 12 pts received 600 mg twice a week (BIW) and 11 patients received 400 mg three times a week (TIW). All had prior imatinib and sunitinib but stopped>14 days before starting BIIB021.


The median age was 59 years (33-88 years), 61% male, 44% Eastern Cooperative Oncology Group 1 (ECOG1). The best response was PR by FDG-PET for five patients (3/12 at 600 mg BIW and 2/9 at 400 TIW) for an overall response rate of 22%. The response duration was 25-138 days. Adverse events (AEs) were mild to moderate. The mean Cmax was 1.5 µmol and the mean AUC was 2.9 µmol h. Cmax>1.5 µmol was associated with a decrease in standardized uptake value (SUVmax). HSP70 increased substantially following treatment.


This study met its primary end-point. BIIB021 leads to objective responses in refractory GIST patients. Pharmacodynamic studies confirmed HSP90 inhibition. Further evaluation of BIIB021 in GIST is warranted.

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