In two reports published in the Sept. 15 issue of the Journal of Clinical Oncology, the researchers say endostatin shows that it can decrease blood flow to some tumors in patients and promote death in cancer and blood vessel cells.
"There was a lot of enthusiasm for this drug, and while we are disappointed that we didn't see dramatic clinical activity, it's not surprising. For first generation drugs, progress is often incremental, but research should go on," says the studies' lead author, James Abbruzzese, M.D., professor and chairman of the Department of Gastrointestinal Medical Oncology at M. D. Anderson.
"Endostatin may well find a future place in the treatment of cancer, but that might be in combination with other therapies, and in less aggressive disease," says the studies' first author, Roy Herbst, M.D., Ph.D., associate professor of medicine in the Department of Thoracic/Head and Neck Medical Oncology.
Known publicly as endostatin and to scientists as recombinant human endostatin (rh-Endo), the agent was heralded in 1998 by the media and some scientists for its ability in animal research to dry up a tumor's source of blood, starving it. Human tests of this angiogenesis inhibitor were launched in 1999 at M. D. Anderson Cancer Center, the University of Wisconsin and Dana Farber Cancer Center.
In their report on the Phase I clinical trial of rh-Endo, M. D. Anderson researchers concluded the agent was both safe and well tolerated, even at different doses, by the 25 patients who received it. Patients stayed on the drug for a median period of 69 days. In two patients, there was evidence of minor anti-tumor activity -- several tumors were observed to shrink -- but no long-term resp
Contact: Julie Penne or Laura Sussman
University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center