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Clin Cancer Res. 2002 Nov;8(11):3611-21.

Pharmacokinetics, toxicity, and efficacy of ends-modified raf antisense oligodeoxyribonucleotide encapsulated in a novel cationic liposome.

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Department of Radiation Medicine, Lombardi Cancer Center, Georgetown University Medical Center, Washington, DC 20057, USA.


Raf-1 protein serine threonine kinase plays an important role in cell survival and proliferation. Antisense inhibition of Raf-1 expression has been shown to enhance the cytotoxic effects of radiation and anticancer drugs. Here we have evaluated the toxicity, pharmacokinetics, and antitumor efficacy of a novel formulation of liposome-entrapped raf antisense oligodeoxyribonucleotide (LErafAON). The LErafAON preparation showed high liposome entrapment efficiency of rafAON (>85%) and stability at room temperature. In CD2F1 mice, administration of LErafAON produced no morbidity/mortality (5-35 mg/kg/dose, i.v., x12). Dose-related elevations in liver enzymes (alanine aminotransferase and aspartate aminotransferase) and histopathological changes in liver were noted in LErafAON and blank liposome groups. No morbidity/mortality and changes in clinical chemistry or histopathology were observed in New Zealand white rabbits (3.75 mg/kg/dose, i.v., x8; 6.5 mg/kg/dose, i.v., x6) or in cynomolgous monkeys (3.75 or 6.25 mg/kg/dose, i.v., x9). Transient decrease in total hemolytic complement activity (approximately 62-74%) and increases in C3a (approximately 3-fold) and Bb levels (approximately 5-12-fold) were observed in LErafAON and blank liposome groups of monkeys. A 30 mg/kg i.v. dose of LErafAON in human prostate tumor (PC-3)-bearing BALB/c athymic mice gave a terminal plasma half-life of 27 h, and intact rafAON could be detected in plasma and in normal and tumor tissues for up to at least 48 h. In monkeys, the terminal plasma half-life of 30.36 +/- 23.87 h was observed at an i.v. dose of 6.25 mg/kg. LErafAON (25 mg/kg/dose, i.v., x10) or ionizing radiation (3.8 Gy/day, x5) treatment of PC-3 tumor-bearing athymic mice led to tumor growth arrest, whereas a combination of LErafAON and ionizing radiation treatments resulted in tumor regression. LErafAON treatment caused inhibition of Raf-1 protein expression in normal and tumor tissues in these mice (>50%, versus controls). These data have formed a basis of the clinical Phase I studies of LErafAON for cancer treatment.

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