DI Jodrell, A Bowman, M Stewart, N Dunlop, R French, A MacLellan, J Cummings, JF Smyth
Br J Cancer
3,5-Dichloro-2,4-dimethoxy-6-(trichloromethyl)pyridine (penclomedine, NSC 338720, CRC 88-04) is an alpha-picoline derivative with anti-tumour activity in preclinical models. Penclomedine administration by 1-h intravenous infusion on 5 consecutive days was repeated 3 weekly in the absence of dose-limiting toxicity (DLT) or disease progression. Five dose levels were investigated (22.5-340 mg m(-2) day[-1]). Eight men and eight women were entered, median age 59 years (range 39-73 years), with good performance status (ECOG 0/1) in 11 patients. A total of 13 out of 16 patients had received previous chemotherapy. Common toxicity criteria grade (CTCg) II vomiting was recorded at all dose levels. Neurotoxicity (cerebellar ataxia and dizziness) was the DLT, CTCg III toxicity occurring in three out of three patients treated at 340 mg m(-2) day(-1). CTCg III dizziness was noted in one out of three patients at 250 mg m(-2) day(-1). Neurotoxicity developed during the 1-h infusion and persisted for a variable period (maximum 5 h) after infusion. Prophylactic antiemetic drugs appeared to reduce associated vomiting but did not prevent ataxia. No antiproliferative toxicities were noted and no anti-tumour responses were documented. Penclomedine pharmacokinetic studies confirmed preclinical evidence of extensive apparent distribution (93 l m[-2]) and rapid clearance (41 l h[-1] m[-2]). Purkinje cell loss has been identified in preclinical models after intraperitoneal administration (O'Reilly et al, 1996a) and further clinical development of penclomedine will focus on oral administration.