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Semin Oncol. 2001 Dec;28(6):620-5.

Neovastat, a naturally occurring multifunctional antiangiogenic drug, in phase III clinical trials.

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Aeterna Laboratories Inc., 1405 boulevard du Parc-Technologique, Quebec City, Quebec G1P 4P5, Canada.


Recent studies have indicated that bone marrow angiogenesis is increased in multiple myeloma, suggesting that treatment with an antiangiogenic agent might be useful. Among the new antiangiogenic drugs in development, Neovastat (AE-941; Aeterna Laboratories, Quebec City, Canada) can be classified as a naturally occurring multifunctional antiangiogenic agent. It has a marked inhibitory effect on the formation of blood vessels in the chicken embryo vascularization assay (EVT) and endothelial cell proliferation. Furthermore, in vivo experiments showed that oral administration of Neovastat blocks the formation of blood vessels in Matrigel implants containing basic fibroblast growth factor (bFGF). The antiangiogenic activity of Neovastat was found to be associated with two mechanisms of action. In addition to the inhibition of the matrix metalloproteinase activities (MMP-2, MMP-9, and MMP-12), Neovastat inhibits vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) binding to endothelial cells, VEGF-dependent tyrosine phosphorylation, and VEGF-induced vascular permeability in mice. Neovastat was also found to have a significant antitumor activity. Oral administration of Neovastat in mice with subcutaneous grafted breast cancer (DA3) cells showed a significant reduction in tumor volume. Neovastat also decreased the number of lung metastases in the Lewis lung carcinoma model. Interestingly, the effect of Neovastat was additive to cisplatin in this model. Furthermore, no treatment-related mortality or loss of body weight was observed. Also, toxicology studies in rats and monkeys demonstrate no dose-limiting toxicity or target organ damage after 1 year of chronic exposure, thus suggesting that Neovastat could be safely administered in humans. Four clinical studies have been conducted to establish the dosing, safety, and early efficacy of Neovastat administered orally. In the oncology field, 482 patients have received Neovastat, of which 146 with solid tumors were exposed to the drug for more than 6 months. Two phase III clinical trials are currently underway. A phase III double-blind placebo-controlled study is being conducted to evaluate the efficacy of Neovastat in addition to induction chemotherapy/radiotherapy combined modality treatment in patients with unresectable non-small cell lung cancer stage IIIA and IIIB. A second phase III randomized, double-blind placebo-controlled study evaluates the efficacy of Neovastat as a monotherapy in metastatic renal cell carcinoma patients who have progressed following a first-line immunotherapy. Neovastat efficacy is also being evaluated in a registration phase II trial in patients with early relapse or refractory multiple myeloma.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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