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Cancer Res. 2017 Sep 1;77(17):4723-4733. doi: 10.1158/0008-5472.CAN-16-3130. Epub 2017 Jun 27.

Pharmacokinetics and Pharmacodynamics-Based Mathematical Modeling Identifies an Optimal Protocol for Metronomic Chemotherapy.

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SMARTc Unit, Inserm S_911 CRO2, Aix Marseille Université, Marseille, France.
Pharmacometrics Department, Novartis Pharmaceuticals, Basel, Switzerland.
UMR S_911 CRO2 Aix Marseille Université, Marseille, France.
Metronomics Global Health Initiative, Marseille, France.
Metronomics Global Health Initiative, Marseille, France.
CNRS, INSERM, Aix-Marseille Université, Institut Paoli-Calmettes, Centre de Recherche en Cancérologie de Marseille, Marseille, France.
UMR S_911 CRO2 Aix Marseille Université, Marseille, France.
Pediatric Hematology and Oncology Unit, La Timone University Hospital of Marseille, Marseille, France.
Centre d'Essais Précoces en Cancérologie de Marseille (CEPCM), La Timone University Hospital of Marseille, Marseille, France.


Metronomic chemotherapy is usually associated with better tolerance than conventional chemotherapy, and encouraging response rates have been reported in various settings. However, clinical development of metronomic chemotherapy has been hampered by a number of limitations, including the vagueness of its definition and the resulting empiricism in protocol design. In this study, we developed a pharmacokinetic/pharmacodynamic mathematical model that identifies in silico the most effective administration schedule for gemcitabine monotherapy. This model is based upon four biological assumptions regarding the mechanisms of action of metronomic chemotherapy, resulting in a set of 6 minimally parameterized differential equations. Simulations identified daily 0.5-1 mg/kg gemcitabine as an optimal protocol to maximize antitumor efficacy. Both metronomic protocols (0.5 and 1 mg/kg/day for 28 days) were evaluated in chemoresistant neuroblastoma-bearing mice and compared with the standard MTD protocol (100 mg/kg once a week for 4 weeks). Systemic exposure to gemcitabine was 14 times lower in the metronomic groups compared with the standard group. Despite this, metronomic gemcitabine significantly inhibited tumor angiogenesis and reduced tumor perfusion and inflammation in vivo, while standard gemcitabine did not. Furthermore, metronomic gemcitabine yielded a 40%-50% decrease in tumor mass at the end of treatment as compared with control mice (P = 0.002; ANOVA on ranks with Dunn test), while standard gemcitabine failed to significantly reduce tumor growth. Stable disease was maintained in the metronomic groups for up to 2 months after treatment completion (67%-72% reduction in tumor growth at study conclusion, P < 0.001; ANOVA on ranks with Dunn test). Collectively, our results confirmed the superiority of metronomic protocols in chemoresistant tumors in vivoCancer Res; 77(17); 4723-33. ©2017 AACR.

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