Introduction Proteasome inhibition is an established therapy for many malignancies. Carfilzomib, a novel proteasome inhibitor, was combined with irinotecan to provide a synergistic approach in relapsed, irinotecan-sensitive cancers. Materials and Methods Patients with relapsed irinotecan-sensitive cancers received carfilzomib (Day 1, 2, 8, 9, 15, and 16) at three dose levels (20/27 mg/m2, 20/36 mg/m2 and 20/45 mg/m2/day) in combination with irinotecan (Days 1, 8 and 15) at 125 mg/m2/day. Key eligibility criteria included measurable disease, a Zubrod PS of 0 or 1, and acceptable organ function. Patients with stable asymptomatic brain metastases were eligible. Dose escalation utilized a standard 3 + 3 design. Results Overall, 16 patients were enrolled to three dose levels, with four patients replaced. Three patients experienced dose limiting toxicity (DLT) and the maximum tolerated dose (MTD) was exceeded in Cohort 3. The RP2 dose was carfilzomib 20/36 mg/m2 (given on Days 1, 2, 8, 9, 15, and 16) and irinotecan 125 mg/m2 (Days 1, 8 and 15). Common Grade (Gr) 3 and 4 toxicities included fatigue (19%), thrombocytopenia (19%), and diarrhea (13%). Conclusions Irinotecan and carfilzomib were well tolerated, with common toxicities of fatigue, thrombocytopenia and neutropenic fever. Objective clinical response was 19% (one confirmed partial response (PR) in small cell lung cancer (SCLC) and two unconfirmed); stable disease (SD) was 6% for a disease control rate (DCR) of 25%. The recommended phase II dose was carfilzomib 20/36 mg/m2 and irinotecan125 mg/m2. The phase II evaluation is ongoing in relapsed small cell lung cancer.

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Published in Investigational New Drugs, v. 35, issue 5, p. 608-615.

© The Author(s) 2017

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The authors disclose research funding received from Onyx pharmaceuticals, subsidiary of Amgen.