Background: SU5416 (semaxanib) is a synthetic small molecule inhibitor of the tyrosine kinase domain of vascular endothelial growth factor receptor 2 (VEGFR2). This Phase II study was conducted to determine the safety and efficacy of SU5416 in patients with recurrent or metastatic head and neck cancers. Patients and methods: This was an open label, single arm, Phase 2 study for patients who had received no more than 2 cytotoxic regimens. Thirty-five patients received intravenous SU5416 (145 mg/m2) twice per week by intravenous catheter. Radiologic imaging for response assessment was planned at the conclusion of each 8 week cycle. Serum VEGF levels and power Doppler ultrasound tumor imaging were explored as potential surrogate markers for SU5416 activity. Results: Thirty-two patients had received prior radiotherapy, including 18 patients who received prior concurrent chemoradiotherapy. Twelve patients had received prior chemotherapy in the recurrent disease setting. Thirty-one patients were evaluable for response. There was one partial response and one minor response. The median number of 8-week cycles received was 1 (range 1-4). Median overall survival was 6.25 months. The most common ≥ grade 3 toxicity was headache (31%). There was one fatal carotid artery hemorrhage. Fatigue, nausea, and vomiting were common grade 1-2 adverse events. Power Doppler ultrasound demonstrated decreased tumor vascularity in 5 of 7 patients. Conclusions: Treatment with SU5416 in patients with head and neck cancers is feasible, but objective responses are rare. Studies evaluating more potent anti-angiogenic agents in this disease are of interest.
- Head and neck squamous cell cancer
- Phase II
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Pharmacology (medical)