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Endocr Relat Cancer. 2016 May;23(5):411-8. doi: 10.1530/ERC-16-0008. Epub 2016 Apr 14.

A phase II study of axitinib in advanced neuroendocrine tumors.

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Department of Gastrointestinal OncologyH. Lee Moffitt Cancer Center and Research Institute, Tampa, Florida, USA
Department of Gastrointestinal OncologyH. Lee Moffitt Cancer Center and Research Institute, Tampa, Florida, USA.
Department of Medicine and The UCSF Helen Diller Family Comprehensive Cancer CenterUniversity of California, San Francisco, California, USA.


Neuroendocrine tumors (NETs) are highly vascular neoplasms overexpressing vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) as well as VEGF receptors (VEGFR). Axitinib is a potent, selective inhibitor of VEGFR-1, -2 and -3, currently approved for the treatment of advanced renal cell carcinoma. We performed an open-label, two-stage design, phase II trial of axitinib 5mg twice daily in patients with progressive unresectable/metastatic low-to-intermediate grade carcinoid tumors. The primary end points were progression-free survival (PFS) and 12-month PFS rate. The secondary end points included time to treatment failure (TTF), overall survival (OS), overall radiographic response rate (ORR), biochemical response rate and safety. A total of 30 patients were enrolled and assessable for toxicity; 22 patients were assessable for response. After a median follow-up of 29months, we observed a median PFS of 26.7months (95% CI, 11.4-35.1), with a 12-month PFS rate of 74.5% (±10.2). The median OS was 45.3 months (95% CI, 24.4-45.3), and the median TTF was 9.6months (95% CI, 5.5-12). The best radiographic response was partial response (PR) in 1/30 (3%) and stable disease (SD) in 21/30 patients (70%); 8/30 patients (27%) were unevaluable due to early withdrawal due to toxicity. Hypertension was the most common toxicity that developed in 27 patients (90%). Grade 3/4 hypertension was recorded in 19 patients (63%), leading to treatment discontinuation in six patients (20%). Although axitinib appears to have an inhibitory effect on tumor growth in patients with advanced, progressive carcinoid tumors, the high rate of grade 3/4 hypertension may represent a potential impediment to its use in unselected patients.


VEGF; VEGFR; antiangiogenesis; carcinoid tumor; tyrosine kinase inhibitor

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