A phase I clinical trial of safingol in combination with cisplatin in advanced solid tumors

Mark A. Dickson, Richard D. Carvajal, Alfred H. Merrill, Mithat Gonen, Lauren M. Cane, Gary K. Schwartz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

113 Scopus citations


Purpose: Sphingosine 1-phosphate (S1P) is an important mediator of cancer cell growth and proliferation. Production of S1P is catalyzed by sphingosine kinase 1 (SphK). Safingol, (L-threo-dihydrosphingosine) is a putative inhibitor of SphK. We conducted a phase I trial of safingol (S) alone and in combination with cisplatin (C). Experimental Design: A 3 + 3 dose escalation was used. For safety, S was given alone 1 week before the combination. S + C were then administered every 3 weeks. S was given over 60 to 120 minutes, depending on dose. Sixty minutes later, C was given over 60 minutes. The C dose of 75 mg/m2 was reduced in cohort 4 to 60 mg/m2 due to excessive fatigue. Results: Forty-three patients were treated, 41 were evaluable for toxicity, and 37 for response. The maximum tolerated dose (MTD) was S 840 mg/m2 over 120 minutes C 60 mg/m2, every 3 weeks. Doselimiting toxicity (DLT) attributed to cisplatin included fatigue and hyponatremia. DLT from S was hepatic enzyme elevation. S pharmacokinetic parameters were linear throughout the dose range with no significant interaction with C. Patients treated at or near the MTD achieved S levels of more than 20 μmol/L and maintained levels greater than and equal to 5 μmol/L for 4 hours. The best response was stable disease in 6 patients for on average 3.3 months (range 1.8-7.2 m). One patient with adrenal cortical cancer had significant regression of liver and lung metastases and another had prolonged stable disease. S was associated with a dose-dependent reduction in S1P in plasma. Conclusions: Safingol, the first putative SphK inhibitor to enter clinical trials, can be safely administered in combination with cisplatin. Reversible dose-dependent hepatic toxicity was seen, as expected from preclinical data. Target inhibition was achieved with downregulation of S1P. The recommended phase II dose is S 840 mg/m2 and C 60 mg/m2, every 3 weeks.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2484-2492
Number of pages9
JournalClinical Cancer Research
Issue number8
StatePublished - 15 Apr 2011
Externally publishedYes


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