A molecular biology and phase II study of imetelstat (GRN163L) in children with recurrent or refractory central nervous system malignancies: a pediatric brain tumor consortium study

Ralph Salloum, Trent R. Hummel, Shiva Senthil Kumar, Kathleen Dorris, Shaoyu Li, Tong Lin, Vinay M. Daryani, Clinton F. Stewart, Lili Miles, Tina Young Poussaint, Charles Stevenson, Stewart Goldman, Girish Dhall, Roger Packer, Paul Fisher, Ian F. Pollack, Maryam Fouladi, James Boyett, Rachid Drissi*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

34 Scopus citations

Abstract

Telomerase activation is critical in many cancers including central nervous system (CNS) tumors. Imetelstat is an oligonucleotide that binds to the template region of the RNA component of telomerase, inhibiting its enzymatic activity. We conducted an investigator-sponsored molecular biology (MB) and phase II study to estimate inhibition of tumor telomerase activity and sustained responses by imetelstat in children with recurrent CNS malignancies. In the MB study, patients with recurrent medulloblastoma, high-grade glioma (HGG) or ependymoma undergoing resection received one dose of imetelstat as a 2-h intravenous infusion at 285 mg/m2, 12–24 h before surgery. Telomerase activity was evaluated in fresh tumor from surgery. Post-surgery and in the phase II study, patients received imetelstat IV (days 1 and 8 q21-days) at 285 mg/m2. Imetelstat pharmacokinetic and pharmacodynamic studies were performed. Of two evaluable patients on the MB trial, intratumoral telomerase activity was inhibited by 95 % compared to baseline archival tissue in one patient and was inevaluable in one patient. Forty-two patients (40 evaluable for toxicity) were enrolled: 9 medulloblastomas, 18 HGG, 4 ependymomas, 9 diffuse intrinsic pontine gliomas. Most common grade 3/4 toxicities included thrombocytopenia (32.5 %), lymphopenia (17.5 %), neutropenia (12.5 %), ALT (7.5 %) and AST (5 %) elevation. Two patients died of intratumoral hemorrhage secondary to thrombocytopenia leading to premature study closure. No objective responses were observed. Telomerase inhibition was observed in peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs) for at least 8 days. Imetelstat demonstrated intratumoral and PBMC target inhibition; the regimen proved too toxic in children with recurrent CNS tumors.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)443-451
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Neuro-Oncology
Volume129
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - Sep 1 2016

Keywords

  • Imetelstat
  • Pediatric brain tumors
  • Phase 2 trial
  • Telomerase
  • Telomerase inhibition

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Neurology
  • Clinical Neurology
  • Cancer Research

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