PURPOSE - Flavopiridol is the first cyclin-dependent kinase (cdk) inhibitor to enter clinical trials. Serum levels of flavopiridol obtained during phase I studies were sufficient to inhibit in vitro cancer cell growth. Because responses were observed in kidney cancer patients in the phase I trials, we performed a phase II trial of flavopiridol in this patient population.
PATIENTS AND METHODS - Thirty-five minimally pretreated patients were accrued using a standard two-step mechanism. Flavopiridol (50 mg/m(2)/d) was administered by continuous infusion for 72 hours every 2 weeks, and response was evaluated every 8 weeks. Peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs) were collected at baseline, at completion of drug infusion, and on day 7 of the first therapy cycle, and cell cycle parameters after phytohemagglutinin and interleukin-2 stimulation were assessed.
RESULTS - There were two objective responses (response rate = 6%, 95% confidence interval, 1% to 20%). The most common toxicities were asthenia, occurring in 83% of patients (grade 3 or 4 in 9%), and diarrhea, occurring in 77% of patients (grade 3 or 4 in 20%). Also, nine patients (26%) experienced grade 3 or 4 vascular thrombotic events, including one myocardial infarction, two transient neurologic ischemic attacks, four deep venous thrombosis, and two pulmonary emboli. Cell cycle studies did not reveal any effect of flavopiridol on stimulated PBMCs.
CONCLUSION - Flavopiridol, at the dose and schedule administered in this trial, is ineffective in metastatic renal cancer. In addition to the diarrhea observed in phase I studies, we also observed a higher incidence of asthenia and serious vascular thrombotic events than expected.