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Clin Cancer Res. 2011 Dec 1;17(23):7462-9. doi: 10.1158/1078-0432.CCR-11-0534. Epub 2011 Oct 5.

Multicenter, phase II study of axitinib, a selective second-generation inhibitor of vascular endothelial growth factor receptors 1, 2, and 3, in patients with metastatic melanoma.

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University of California, Irvine, Orange, 92868, USA.



This multicenter, open-label, phase II study evaluated the safety and clinical activity of axitinib, a potent and selective second-generation inhibitor of vascular endothelial growth factor receptors (VEGFR)-1, 2, and 3, in patients with metastatic melanoma.


Thirty-two patients with a maximum of one prior systemic therapy received axitinib at a starting dose of 5 mg twice daily. The primary endpoint was objective response rate.


Objective response rate was 18.8% [95% confidence interval (CI), 7.2-36.4], comprising one complete and five partial responses with a median response duration of 5.9 months (95% CI, 5.0-17.0). Stable disease at 16 weeks was noted in six patients (18.8%), with an overall clinical benefit rate of 37.5%. Six-month progression-free survival rate was 33.9%, 1-year overall survival rate was 28.1%, and median overall survival was 6.6 months (95% CI, 5.2-9.0). The most frequently (>15%) reported nonhematologic, treatment-related adverse events were fatigue, hypertension, hoarseness, and diarrhea. Treatment-related fatal bowel perforation, a known class effect, occurred in one patient. Axitinib selectively decreased plasma concentrations of soluble VEGFR (sVEGFR)-2 and sVEGFR-3 compared with soluble stem cell factor receptor (sKIT). No significant association was noted between plasma levels of axitinib and response. However, post hoc analyses indicated potential relationships between efficacy endpoints and diastolic blood pressure of 90 mm Hg or higher as well as baseline serum lactate dehydrogenase levels.


Axitinib was well tolerated, showed a selective VEGFR-inhibitory profile, and showed single-agent activity in metastatic melanoma. Further evaluations of axitinib, alone and combined with chemotherapy, are ongoing.

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