Phase 2 trial of the topoisomerase II inhibitor, amrubicin, as second-line therapy in patients with metastatic urothelial carcinoma

Matthew D. Galsky, Noah M. Hahn, Bryan Wong, Karen M. Lee, Pamela Argiriadi, Costantine Albany, Kiev Gimpel-Tetra, Nancy Lowe, Mohamed Shahin, Vaibhav Patel, Che Kai Tsao, William K. Oh

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


Purpose: The purpose of this investigator-initiated multicenter phase II study was to determine the activity of the third-generation synthetic anthracycline, amrubicin, administered as second-line therapy in patients with advanced urothelial carcinoma. Methods: Patients with progressive metastatic urothelial cancer despite first-line chemotherapy were eligible for enrollment. Amrubicin was initially administered at a dose of 40 mg/m2/day daily × 3 every 21 days, and the dose was subsequently reduced to 35 mg/m2/day daily × 3 every 21 days. Prophylactic granulocyte colony-stimulating factor was administered to all patients, and prophylactic antibiotics were administered to patients at high risk of febrile neutropenia. Treatment was administered for up to six cycles in the absence of intolerable toxicity or disease progression. The primary endpoint was the objective response rate. Results: A total of 22 patients were enrolled. Among the first three patients enrolled, all developed grade 4 neutropenia and one patient died of neutropenic sepsis. The starting dose of amrubicin was subsequently reduced, there were no further episodes of febrile neutropenia, and only one patient required a subsequent dose reduction. The most common adverse events were hematologic; grade ≤3 neutropenia occurred in 27 %, and other grade ≤3 adverse events were uncommon. Partial responses were achieved in three patients [13.6, 95 % confidence interval (CI) 0-28 %), while stable disease was the best response in 12 patients (54.5, 95 % CI 33.7-75.3 %). The trial was closed prematurely due to a development decision by the funder. Conclusions: Amrubicin as second-line therapy in advanced urothelial carcinoma is associated with modest single-agent activity. While there remains a role for the introduction of novel cytotoxic agents in the management of metastatic urothelial cancer, optimal development of such therapies will likely require patient selection biomarkers.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1259-1265
Number of pages7
JournalCancer Chemotherapy and Pharmacology
Issue number6
StatePublished - 1 Dec 2015


  • Amrubicin
  • Anthracyclines
  • Bladder cancer
  • Chemotherapy
  • Metastatic
  • Urothelial cancer


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