A PHASE IIA STUDY REPOSITIONING DESIPRAMINE IN SMALL CELL LUNG CANCER AND OTHER HIGH-GRADE NEUROENDOCRINE TUMORS. Cancer treatment and research communications Riess, J. W., Jahchan, N. S., Das, M., Zach Koontz, M., Kunz, P. L., Wakelee, H. A., Schatzberg, A., Sage, J., Neal, J. W. 2020; 23: 100174

Abstract

A bioinformatics approach identified antitumor effects of tricyclic antidepressants (TCAs) in small cell lung cancer (SCLC) and other high-grade neuroendocrine carcinomas (grade 3 neuroendocrine carcinomas) (G3NEC) that was subsequently validated in preclinical models with a putative mechanism of action via inhibition of neuroendocrine signaling pathways. This study was undertaken to reposition the candidate TCA desipramine in a clinical trial in SCLC and G3NEC.In this prospective, phase IIa intrapatient dose escalation clinical trial, patients were required to have failed at least one prior chemotherapy for metastatic SCLC or G3NEC. Treatment with desipramine began at 75 mg nightly with escalation in increments of 75 mg weekly to a maximum of 450 mg daily.Six patients were enrolled, 3 with SCLC, and 3 with G3NEC (lung, rectal, and pancreas). Tolerability of desipramine was worse than predicted. Of the 6 patients enrolled: 1 patient achieved 300 mg daily, 2 patients reached 150 mg daily, 1 patient reached 75 mg daily, and 2 patients were unable to tolerate any stable dose. Reasons for discontinuation included drug-related grade 3 colon pseudo-obstruction, unrelated GI bleed, and grade 1-2 neurocognitive adverse events. Median clinical or radiographic progression free survival was 1.2 months (range 0.2-3.3) and median overall survival from study entry was 2.7 months (range 1.3-5.6).No clinical or radiographic benefit was observed using desipramine to treat SCLC and G3NEC, so this trial was terminated. Intolerable low and medium grade neurocognitive side effects led to intermittent treatment and early discontinuation in most patients; given this limitation, doses achieved may be inadequate compared to the preclinical studies.A bioinformatics approach previously identified a potential antitumor effect of tricyclic antidepressants (TCAs) in small cell lung cancer (SCLC) and other high-grade neuroendocrine carcinomas (grade 3 neuroendocrine carcinoma) (G3NEC), which was validated in preclinical models. In this prospective, phase IIa clinical trial, patients were required to have failed at least one prior chemotherapy for metastatic SCLC or G3NEC (Ki-67 = 20% or = 20 mitoses/10 HPF). Treatment with desipramine began at 75 mg nightly with escalation by 75 mg weekly to a maximum dose of 450 mg daily. Six patients were enrolled on this clinical trial, 3 with SCLC, and 3 with G3NEC (lung, rectal, and pancreatic). Tolerability of desipramine was worse than predicted. In the 6 patients enrolled: 1 patient achieved 300 mg daily, 2 patients reached 150 mg daily, 1 patient reached 75 mg daily, and 2 patients were unable to tolerate any stable dose. Reasons for discontinuation included drug-related grade 3 colon pseudo-obstruction, unrelated GI bleed, and grade 1-2 drug related dizziness, confusion, and somnolence. Though numbers are small, median clinical or radiographic progression free survival was 1.2 months (range 0.2-3.3) and median overall survival from study entry was 2.7 months (range 1.3-5.6). Although preclinical evidence was promising, no clinical or radiographic benefit was observed using desipramine to treat SCLC and G3NEC, so this trial was terminated.

View details for DOI 10.1016/j.ctarc.2020.100174

View details for PubMedID 32413603