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A phase I/II trial of the oral antiangiogenic agent TSU-68 in patients with advanced hepatocellular carcinoma



We studied the safety and effectiveness of TSU-68, an oral tyrosine kinase inhibitor of vascular endothelial growth factor receptor-2, platelet-derived growth factor receptor and fibroblast growth factor receptor, in patients with advanced hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC).


Patients with unresectable or metastatic HCC were eligible for enrollment. In phase I, the safety, tolerability and pharmacokinetics were assessed in patients stratified based on liver function, from no cirrhosis to Child–Pugh class B. The safety and effectiveness were assessed in phase II at the dose determined in phase I.


Twelve patients were enrolled in phase I. Dose-limiting toxicities were found with TSU-68 at the dose of 400 mg bid in Child–Pugh B patients, and 200 mg bid was established as the phase II dose. Phase II included 23 additional patients, and the safety and efficacy were evaluated in a total of 35 patients. One patient (2.9%) had a complete response. Two patients (5.7%) had a partial response, and 15 patients (42.8%) showed a stable disease. The median time to progression was 2.1 months, and the median overall survival was 13.1 months. Common adverse events were hypoalbuminemia, diarrhea, anorexia, abdominal pain, malaise, edema and AST/ALT elevation. The analysis of angiogenesis-related parameters suggests that serum-soluble vascular cell adhesion molecule-1 is a possible marker to show the response.


TSU-68 at a dose of 200 mg bid determined by stratification into liver function, showed promising preliminary efficacy with a high safety profile in patients with HCC who had been heavily pre-treated.

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We thank Tomonori Fujishima, Hideo Yoshida, Miwa Yamashita, Megumi Kawai and Atsuko Tamori for their contributions. We are also grateful to Yutaka Ariyoshi, Nagahiro Saijo and Yuh Sakata for their extramural review. This study was supported by Taiho Pharmaceutical.

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The author(s) have nothing to disclose.

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Correspondence to Fumihiko Kanai.

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Kanai, F., Yoshida, H., Tateishi, R. et al. A phase I/II trial of the oral antiangiogenic agent TSU-68 in patients with advanced hepatocellular carcinoma. Cancer Chemother Pharmacol 67, 315–324 (2011).

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  • Advanced HCC
  • Liver function
  • TSU-68
  • Pharmacokinetics
  • Tolerability
  • Angiogenesis