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Clin Cancer Res. 2002 Aug;8(8):2530-5.

A randomized phase II and pharmacokinetic study of the antisense oligonucleotides ISIS 3521 and ISIS 5132 in patients with hormone-refractory prostate cancer.

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  • 1British Columbia Cancer Agency, Vancouver, British Columbia, V5Z 4E6 Canada.



Protein kinase C (PKC)-alpha and Raf-1 are important elements of proliferative signal transduction pathways in both normal and malignant cells. Abrogation of either Raf-1 or PKC-alpha function can both inhibit cellular proliferation and induce apoptosis in several experimental cancer models including prostate cancer cell lines. ISIS 3521 and ISIS 5132 are antisense phosphorothioate oligonucleotides that inhibit PKC-alpha and Raf-1 expression, respectively, and induce a broad spectrum of antiproliferative and antitumor effects in several human tumor cell lines. In Phase I evaluation both ISIS 3521 and ISIS 5132 could be safely administered on 21-day i.v. infusion schedules and demonstrated preliminary evidence of antitumor activity. On the basis of these findings, a randomized Phase II study of ISIS 3521 and ISIS 5132 was performed in two comparable cohorts of patients who had chemotherapy-naïve, hormone-refractory prostate cancer (HRPC).


Patients with documented evidence of metastatic HRPC and a prostate-specific antigen (PSA) value > or =20 ng/ml were randomized to receive treatment with either ISIS 3521 or ISIS 5132 as a continuous i.v. infusion for 21 days repeated every 4 weeks. Patients were stratified according to the presence or absence of bidimensionally measurable disease at the time of randomization. The principal endpoints included PSA response, objective response in patients with bidimensionally measurable disease, and treatment failure defined as new or worsening symptoms; a fall in performance status of 2 levels; new or objective progression of disease; or a rise in PSA for 12 weeks without symptom improvement. Plasma samples were collected to assess individual steady-state concentrations and to relate this pharmacokinetic parameter to observed toxicities and responses.


Thirty-one patients were randomized in this study; 15 patients received 43 courses of ISIS 3521 and 16 patients received 48 courses of ISIS 5132. The most common toxicities observed were mild to moderate (grade 1 or 2) fatigue and lethargy in 21% and 56% of patients treated with ISIS 3521 and ISIS 5132, respectively. Although no objective or PSA responses were observed in any patient treated with ISIS 3521 or ISIS 5132, persistent stable disease was observed in 3 patients for 5 or more months, and in 5 patients the PSA values did not rise >25% for 120 days or longer.


The antisense oligonucleotides ISIS 3521 and ISIS 5132, at these doses and on this schedule, do not possess clinically significant single-agent antitumor activity in HRPC. Protracted stable disease in some patients may indicate a cytostatic effect. Additional work is required to define the optimal role of PKC-alpha or Raf-1 inhibition in the treatment of HRPC.

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