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J Clin Oncol. 2011 Apr 1;29(10):1271-9. doi: 10.1200/JCO.2010.31.0367. Epub 2011 Mar 7.

Phase I trial of a selective c-MET inhibitor ARQ 197 incorporating proof of mechanism pharmacodynamic studies.

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  • 1Royal Marsden National Health Service Foundation Trust, The Institute of Cancer Research, Sutton, Surrey, UK.



The hepatocyte growth factor/c-MET axis is implicated in tumor cell proliferation, survival, and angiogenesis. ARQ 197 is an oral, selective, non-adenosine triphosphate competitive c-MET inhibitor. A phase I trial of ARQ 197 was conducted to assess safety, tolerability, and target inhibition, including intratumoral c-MET signaling, apoptosis, and angiogenesis.


Patients with solid tumors amenable to pharmacokinetic and pharmacodynamic studies using serial biopsies, dynamic contrast-enhanced magnetic resonance imaging (DCE-MRI), and circulating endothelial cell (CEC) and circulating tumor cell (CTC) enumeration were enrolled.


Fifty-one patients received ARQ 197 at 100 to 400 mg twice per day. ARQ 197 was well tolerated, with the most common toxicities being grade 1 to 2 fatigue, nausea, and vomiting. Dose-limiting toxicities included grade 3 fatigue (200 mg twice per day; n = 1); grade 3 mucositis, palmar-plantar erythrodysesthesia, and hypokalemia (400 mg twice per day; n = 1); and grade 3 to 4 febrile neutropenia (400 mg twice per day, n = 2; 360 mg twice per day, n = 1). The recommended phase II dose was 360 mg twice per day. ARQ 197 systemic exposure was dose dependent and supported twice per day oral dosing. ARQ 197 decreased phosphorylated c-MET, total c-MET, and phosphorylated focal adhesion kinase and increased terminal deoxynucleotidyl transferase-mediated deoxyuridine triphosphate-biotin nick-end labeling (TUNEL) staining in tumor biopsies (n = 15). CECs decreased in 25 (58.1%) of 43 patients, but no significant changes in DCE-MRI parameters were observed after ARQ 197 treatment. Of 15 patients with detectable CTCs, eight (53.3%) had ≥ 30% decline in CTCs after treatment. Stable disease, as defined by Response Evaluation Criteria in Solid Tumors (RECIST), ≥ 4 months was observed in 14 patients, with minor regressions in gastric and Merkel cell cancers.


ARQ 197 safely inhibited intratumoral c-MET signaling. Further clinical evaluation focusing on combination approaches, including an erlotinib combination in non-small-cell lung cancer, is ongoing.


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