Investigation of bendamustine HCL in a Phase 2 study in women with resistant ovarian cancer
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We investigated the safety and efficacy of 90 mg/m2 bendamustine HCL, administered intravenously on days 1 and 2 every 28 days in 10 women with platinum and taxane resistant epithelial ovarian cancer. There were no objective tumor responses observed; 2 patients had stable disease. Plasma samples collected at pre-treatment and end of cycle one were analyzed for changes in circulating total cytokeratin 18 and caspase cleaved cytokeratin 18 as exploratory early biomarkers of bendamustine-induced tumor cell death. All patients had measureable levels of both total and cleaved caspase 3 cytokeratin 18, but no relationship with response was possible due to the lack of clinical benefit in treated patients. Due to the high incidence of adverse events and absence of objective responses, only ten patients were treated as predefined by the Simon Two-Stage Design in the protocol. Overall, the regimen was not well tolerated and was associated with fatigue and a greater number of gastrointestinal side effects as compared to previously reported experiences in different patient populations. However, our study subjects did experience less bone marrow suppression. The lack of tolerability could reflect the degree of tumor burden within the peritoneal cavity as well as the high number of prior regimens (median of 5) received by the patients participating in this study.