JR Geyer, CF Stewart, M Kocak, A Broniscer, P Phillips, JG Douglas, SM Blaney, RJ Packer, S Gururangan, A Banerjee, MW Kieran, LE Kun, RJ Gilbertson, JM Boyett
Eur J Cancer
PURPOSE: To estimate the maximum-tolerated dose (MTD); study the pharmacology of escalating doses of gefitinib combined with radiation therapy in patients ⩽21 years with newly diagnosed intrinsic brainstem gliomas (BSG) and incompletely resected supratentorial malignant gliomas (STMG); and to investigate epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) amplification and expression in STMG. PATIENTS AND METHODS: Three strata were identified: stratum 1A--BSG; stratum IB--incompletely resected STMG not receiving enzyme-inducing anticonvulsant drugs (EIACD); and stratum II--incompletely resected STMG receiving EIACD. Dose escalation using a modified 3+3 cohort design was performed in strata IA and II. The initial gefitinib dosage was 100mg/m(2)/d commencing with radiation therapy and the dose-finding period extended until 2 weeks post-radiation. Pharmacokinetics (PK) and biology studies were performed in consenting patients. RESULTS: Of the 23 eligible patients, 20 were evaluable for dose-finding. MTDs for strata IA and II were not established as accrual was halted due to four patients experiencing symptomatic intratumoral haemorrhage (ITH); two during and two post dose-finding. ITH was observed in 0 of 11 patients treated at 100mg/m(2)/d, 1 of 10 at 250 mg/m(2)/d and 3 of 12 at 375 mg/m(2)/d. Subsequently a second patient at 250 mg/m(2)/d experienced ITH. PK analysis showed that the median gefitinib systemic exposure increased with dosage (p = 0.04). EGFR was over-expressed in 5 of 11 STMG and amplified in 4 (36%) samples. CONCLUSION: This trial provides clear evidence of EGFR amplification in a significant proportion of paediatric STMG and 250 mg/m(2)/d was selected for the phase II trial.