A phase I clinical and pharmacological evaluation of sodium phenylbutyrate on an 120-h infusion schedule

Michael A. Carducci, Jill Gilbert, M. Katherine Bowling, Mario A. Eisenberger, Victoria Sinibaldi, Louise B. Grochow, Ross C. Donehower, Michael A. Carducci, Dennis Noe, Yelena Zabelina, Tian Ling Chen, Louise B. Grochow

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

189 Scopus citations


Purpose: Sodium phenylbutyrate (PB) demonstrates potent differentiating capacity in multiple hematopoietic and solid tumor cell lines. We conducted a Phase I and pharmacokinetic study of PB by continuous infusion to characterize the maximum tolerated dose, toxicities, pharmacokinetics, and antitumor effects in patients with refractory solid tumors. Patients and Methods: Patients were treated with a 120-h PB infusion every 21 days. The dose was escalated from 150 to 515 mg/kg/day. Pharmacokinetics were performed during and after the first infusion period using a validated high-performance liquid chromatographic assay and single compartmental pharmacokinetic model for PB and its principal metabolite, phenylacetate. Results: A total of 24 patients were enrolled on study, with hormone refractory prostate cancer being the predominant tumor type. All patients were evaluable for toxicity and response. A total of 89 cycles were administered. The dose-limiting toxicity (DLT) was neuro-cortical, exemplified by excessive somnolence and confusion and accompanied by clinically significant hypokalemia, hyponatremia, and hyperuricemia. One patient at 515 mg/kg/day and another at 345 mg/kg/day experienced this DLT. Toxicity resolved ≤12 h of discontinuing the infusion. Other toxicities were mild, including fatigue and nausea. The maximum tolerated dose was 410 mg/kg/day for 5 days. Pharmacokinetics demonstrated that plasma clearance of PB increased in a continuous fashion beginning 24 h into the infusion. In individuals whose Vmax for drug elimination was less than their drug-dosing rate, the active metabolite phenylacetate accumulated progressively. Plasma PB concentrations (at 410 mg/kg/day) remained above the targeted therapeutic threshold of 500 μmol/liter required for in vitro activity. Conclusion: The DLT in this Phase I study for infusional PB given for 5 days every 21 days is neuro-cortical in nature. The recommended Phase II dose is 410 mg/kg/day for 120 h.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)3047-3055
Number of pages9
JournalClinical Cancer Research
Issue number10
StatePublished - 2001

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research


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