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A Pilot Study of EZN-2968, an Antisense Oligonucleotide Inhibitor of HIF-1alpha, in Adults With Advance Solid Tumors

Phase 1
18 Years
Open (Enrolling)
Neoplasms, Liver Metastases

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Trial Information

A Pilot Study of EZN-2968, an Antisense Oligonucleotide Inhibitor of HIF-1alpha, in Adults With Advance Solid Tumors


- Hypoxia-inducible factor-1 (HIF-1) facilitates the adaptation of normal and tumor
tissue to oxygen deprivation. HIF-1 is frequently overexpressed in cancer cells, where
it is involved in the upregulation of many gene products essential for invasion,
migration, angiogenesis, and survival, including vascular endothelial growth factor
(VEGF). Blocking HIF-1 activity inhibits the expression of VEGF, resulting in the
inhibition of tumor growth in vitro and in vivo.

- EZN-2968 is an antisense oligonucleotide that specifically targets HIF-1 alpha, one of
the subunits of HIF-1. Safety and preliminary suggestion of activity have been
demonstrated in two Phase I trials; one patient with hepatocellular carcinoma, one with
renal cell cancer, and one with angiosarcoma of the face treated with EZN-2968 had
objective evidence of shrinkage of large masses. In vivo data show evidence of
intracellular uptake of EZN-2968 into tumor cells, and in the Phase I trial,
preliminary data show that eleven patients had prolonged stable disease (> 90 days
duration on study), three of which had objective evidence of tumor shrinkage, thus
demonstrating proof of principle for this approach.

Primary Objective:

- Determine the modulation of HIF-1alpha mRNA in tumor biopsies pre- and post-administration
of EZN-2968.

Secondary Objectives:

- Assess the safety of EZN-2968 in patients with advanced solid tumors.

- Determine the modulation of HIF-1 alpha protein levels in tumor biopsies pre- and
post-administration of EZN-2968.

- Evaluate anti-tumor response as determined by RECIST.

- Evaluate the expression of HIF-1 alpha target genes by real-time PCR in tumor biopsies.

- Assess tumor angiogenesis using DCE-MRI.


- Adult patients with histologically or cytologically confirmed solid malignancies will
be included in the study.

- Patients must have disease that is not amenable to potentially curative resection.

- Patients must have failed at least one line of prior therapy for metastatic disease or
have a disease for which no standard curative therapy exists.

- Lesion must be amenable to biopsy.


- EZN-2968 will be administered as a 2-hour IV infusion at a dose of 18 mg/kg once a week
for 3 consecutive weeks followed by a 3-week period without drug. Each cycle will be 6
weeks, i.e., 3 weeks of therapy followed by 3 weeks without drug.

- Tumor biopsies and other correlative imaging and pharmacodynamic studies will be
performed at baseline and after the third dose. Tumor restaging will be performed every
2 cycles.

Inclusion Criteria

- Eligibility Criteria

Inclusion Criteria

- Patients must have histologically or cytologically confirmed diagnosis of solid
tumor. The diagnosis should be confirmed by the Laboratory of Pathology, NIH.

- Patients must have disease that is not amenable to potentially curative resection.

- Disease must be amenable to biopsy, and patients must be willing to undergo tumor

- Patients must have failed at least one line of prior therapy for metastatic disease
or have a disease for which no standard curative therapy exists. Prior
anti-angiogenic therapy is allowed.

- Age >=18 years. Because no dosing or adverse event data are currently available on
the use of EZN-2968 in patients < 18 years of age, children are excluded from this
study but will be eligible for future pediatric trials, if applicable.

- Life expectancy of greater than 3 months.

- ECOG performance status 0-2 (Karnofsky >=60%).

- Patients must have normal organ and marrow function as defined below:

absolute neutrophil count >=1,500/mcL

platelets >=100,000/mcL

total bilirubin <= 1.5 X ULN

AST/ALT <= 2.5 X institutional ULN

creatinine less than or equal to 1.5 x upper limit of normal


creatinine clearance (measured) greater than or equal to 60 mL/minute for patients with
creatinine levels > 1.5 times upper limit of normal

INR <= 1.4

PTT <= 40 seconds unless due to lupus anticoagulant

- Urine protein should be screened by urine analysis for urine protein:creatinine (UPC)
ratio. For UPC ratio > 1, 24-hour urine protein should be obtained and the level
should be < 500 mg for patient enrollment.

- The effects of EZN-2968 on the developing human fetus are unknown. For this reason,
women of childbearing potential and men must agree to use adequate contraception
(abstinence; female use of hormonal methods, or barrier methods of birth control;
male use of a condom) prior to study entry, for the duration of study participation,
and for 6 months after completion of study. Because there is a risk for adverse
events in nursing infants secondary to treatment of the mother with EZN- 2968,
breastfeeding should be discontinued while the patient is on this trial and for

30 days after completion of treatment on this trial. Should a woman become pregnant
or suspect she is pregnant while participating in this study, she should inform her
treating physician immediately.

- Ability to understand and the willingness to sign a written informed consent

- Willingness to undergo tumor biopsies for research purposes.

Exclusion Criteria

- Patients who have had chemotherapy or radiotherapy within 4 weeks (6 weeks for
nitrosoureas or mitomycin C) prior to entering the study or those who have not
recovered from adverse events to eligibility levels (by performance status and
laboratory criteria outlined above) due to agents administered more than 4 weeks
earlier. Patients may have received investigational agent(s) as part of a Phase 0
study (also referred to as an early Phase I study or pre-Phase I study where a
sub-therapeutic dose of drug is administered) at the PI's discretion, up to 2 weeks
prior to study entry.

- Patients may not be receiving any other investigational agents.

- Patients with active brain metastases will be excluded from this clinical trial
because of their poor prognosis and because they often develop progressive neurologic
dysfunction that would confound the evaluation of neurologic and other adverse
events. Patients whose brain metastatic disease status remains stable for >= 3 months
after treatment of the brain metastases without steroids or antiseizure medications
may be enrolled at the discretion of the principal investigator.

- Patients requiring therapeutic anticoagulation.

- Hypertension not controlled by medical therapy (hypertension defined as systolic
blood pressure > 150 mmHg or diastolic pressure > 90 mmHg despite optimal medical

- History of allergic reactions attributed to compounds of similar chemical or biologic
composition to EZN-2968.

- Uncontrolled intercurrent illness including, but not limited to, ongoing or active
infection, symptomatic congestive heart failure, unstable angina pectoris, cardiac
arrhythmia, or psychiatric illness/social situations that would limit compliance with
study requirements. A history of hepatitis is allowed if, following consultation with
Liver Diseases Branch, it is felt to be clinically stable.

- Pregnant women are excluded from this study because EZN-2968 has the potential for
teratogenic or abortifacient effects. Because there is an unknown but potential risk
for adverse events in nursing infants secondary to treatment of the mother with
EZN-2968, breastfeeding should be discontinued if the mother is treated with

- HIV-positive patients on combination antiretroviral therapy are ineligible because of
the potential for pharmacokinetic interactions with EZN-2968.

- Patients with surgical non-healing wounds. Patients with other non-healing wounds
will be evaluated and included at the PI's discretion if considered minor.

Type of Study:


Study Design:

Allocation: Non-Randomized, Endpoint Classification: Pharmacodynamics Study, Intervention Model: Single Group Assignment, Masking: Open Label, Primary Purpose: Treatment

Outcome Measure:

Determine the modulation of HIF-1 alpha mRNA in tumor biopsies pre- and post- administration of EZN-2968.

Outcome Time Frame:

1-2 years

Safety Issue:


Principal Investigator

Shivaani Kummar, M.D.

Investigator Role:

Principal Investigator

Investigator Affiliation:

National Cancer Institute (NCI)


United States: Federal Government

Study ID:




Start Date:

April 2010

Completion Date:

Related Keywords:

  • Neoplasms
  • Liver Metastases
  • Anti-Angiogenesis
  • Targeted Therapy
  • HIF
  • Antisense
  • VEGF
  • Cancer
  • Solid Tumor
  • Liver Metastasis
  • Neoplasms
  • Neoplasm Metastasis
  • Liver Neoplasms



National Institutes of Health Clinical Center, 9000 Rockville PikeBethesda, Maryland  20892