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Neuro Oncol. 2005 Apr;7(2):177-82.

Oral sodium phenylbutyrate in patients with recurrent malignant gliomas: a dose escalation and pharmacologic study.

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The New Approaches to Brain Tumor Therapy CNS Consortium, Winship Cancer Institute, Emory University, Atlanta, GA 30322, USA.


We determined the maximum tolerated dose (MTD), toxicity profile, pharmacokinetic parameters, and preliminary efficacy data of oral sodium phenylbutyrate (PB) in patients with recurrent malignant gliomas. Twenty-three patients with supratentorial recurrent malignant gliomas were enrolled on this dose escalation trial. Four dose levels of PB were studied: 9, 18, 27, and 36 g/day. Data were collected to assess toxicity, response, survival, and pharmacokinetics. All PB doses of 9, 18, and 27 g/day were well tolerated. At 36 g/day, two of four patients developed dose-limiting grade 3 fatigue and somnolence. At the MTD of 27 g/day, one of seven patients developed reversible grade 3 somnolence. Median survival from time of study entry was 5.4 months. One patient had a complete response for five years, and no partial responses were noted, which yielded an overall response rate of 5%. Plasma concentrations of 706, 818, 1225, and 1605 muM were achieved with doses of 9, 18, 27, and 36 g/day, respectively. The mean value for PB clearance in this patient population was 22 liters/h, which is significantly higher than the 16 liters/h reported in patients with other malignancies who were not receiving P450 enzyme-inducing anticonvulsant drugs (P = 0.038). This study defines the MTD and recommended phase 2 dose of PB at 27 g/day for heavily pretreated patients with recurrent gliomas. The pharmacology of PB appears to be affected by concomitant administration of P450-inducing anticonvulsants.

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