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J Clin Oncol. 2012 Jul 1;30(19):2307-13. doi: 10.1200/JCO.2011.39.1540. Epub 2012 Apr 30.

Phase I pharmacologic and pharmacodynamic study of the gamma secretase (Notch) inhibitor MK-0752 in adult patients with advanced solid tumors.

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  • 1Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, Boston, MA, USA.



Aberrant Notch signaling has been implicated in the pathogenesis of many human cancers. MK-0752 is a potent, oral inhibitor of γ-secretase, an enzyme required for Notch pathway activation. Safety, maximum-tolerated dose, pharmacokinetics (PKs), pharmacodynamics, and preliminary antitumor efficacy were assessed in a phase I study of MK-0752.


MK-0752 was administered in three different schedules to patients with advanced solid tumors. Hair follicles were collected at higher dose levels to assess a gene signature of Notch inhibition.


Of 103 patients who received MK-0752, 21 patients received a continuous once-daily dosing at 450 and 600 mg; 17 were dosed on an intermittent schedule of 3 of 7 days at 450 and 600 mg; and 65 were dosed once per week at 600, 900, 1,200, 1,500, 1,800, 2,400, 3,200, and 4,200 mg. The most common drug-related toxicities were diarrhea, nausea, vomiting, and fatigue. PKs (area under the concentration-time curve and maximum measured plasma concentration) increased in a less than dose proportional manner, with a half-life of approximately 15 hours. Significant inhibition of Notch signaling was observed with the 1,800- to 4,200-mg weekly dose levels, confirming target engagement at those doses. One objective complete response and an additional 10 patients with stable disease longer than 4 months were observed among patients with high-grade gliomas.


MK-0752 toxicity was schedule dependent. Weekly dosing was generally well tolerated and resulted in strong modulation of a Notch gene signature. Clinical benefit was observed, and rational combination trials are currently ongoing to maximize clinical benefit with this novel agent.

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