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Howard W Bruckner - Top 30 Publications

Bevacizumab Added to Moderate-dose Chemotherapy for Refractory Uterine Cancer.

Bevacizumab (bev), when added to a moderate dose combination of previously failed cytotoxins, as a third- and fourth-line therapy for refractory gastric, cholangiocarcinoma, and ovarian cancers, produced high-quality responses. The regimen was based on preclinical models designed in order to simultaneously partner both bev and each of the cytotoxins with 4-5 synergistic drugs.

Targeted Therapy for Resistant Cholangiocarcinoma with Bevacizumab or Cetuximab Added to Failed Cytotoxic Drug Cores.

Addition of bevacizumab/targeted therapy to cores consisting of four to five previously failed cytotoxic drugs employed at low/moderate dosages has produced third- and fourth-line regression of refractory gastric and ovarian cancer. Targeted therapy added to cores of previously failed drugs has similarly produced responses of refractory pancreatic cancer.

Pathotropic nanoparticles for cancer gene therapy Rexin-G IV: three-year clinical experience.

Metastatic cancer is a life-threatening illness with a predictably fatal outcome, thereby representing a major unmet medical need. In 2003, Rexin-G became the world's first targeted injectable vector approved for clinical trials in the treatment of intractable metastatic disease. Uniquely suited, by design, to function within the context of the human circulatory system, Rexin-G is a pathotropic (disease-seeking) gene delivery system bearing a designer killer gene; in essence, a targeted nanoparticle that seeks out and selectively accumulates in metastatic sites upon intravenous infusion. The targeted delivery of the cytocidal gene to primary tumors and metastatic foci, in effective local concentrations, compels both cancer cells and tumor-associated neovasculature to self-destruct, without causing untoward collateral damage to non-target organs. In this study: i) we report the results of three distinctive clinical studies which demonstrate the initial proofs of concept, safety, and efficacy of Rexin-G when used as a single agent for advanced or metastatic cancer, ii) we introduce the quantitative foundations of an innovative personalized treatment regimen, designated the 'Calculus of Parity', based on a patient's calculated tumor burden, iii) we propose a refinement of surrogate end-points commonly used for defining success in cancer therapy, and iv) we map out a strategic plan for the accelerated approval of Rexin-G based on the oncologic Threshold of Credibility paradigm being developed by the Food and Drug Administration.

Bevacizumab as treatment for chemotherapy-resistant pancreatic cancer.

A 74-year-old male, with refractory stage IV pancreatic cancer, was successfully treated with bevacizumab 5 mg/kg and combination chemotherapy consisting of gemcitabine, fluorouracil leucovorin, irinotecan and cisplatin (GFLIP) every two weeks. The patient had rapidly failed initial treatment with GFLIP given in an identical dose and schedule. Large new liver lesions developed during active treatment. On adding bevacizumab to GFLIP, serial measures on CT confirmed an objective (RECIST) response. The tumor marker CA19-9 fell rapidly from 24,000 U/ml to less than 400 U/ml. This was accomplished with clinically inconsequential side-effects. This is the first demonstrated benefit of bevacizumab used in combination with previously failed chemotherapy for pancreatic cancer.

Biweekly low-dose sequential gemcitabine, 5-fluorouracil, leucovorin, and cisplatin (GFP): a highly active novel therapy for metastatic adenocarcinoma of the exocrine pancreas.

Phase II studies have suggested an improved response rate and acceptable toxicity profile associated with gemcitabine combinations compared to gemcitabine alone for treatment of metastatic adenocarcinoma of the pancreas. The GFP regimen (gemcitabine, 5-fluorouracil, leucovorin, and cisplatin) is based on laboratory evidence of disease-specific chemotherapy interaction. This retrospective analysis examined the outcome of 49 consecutive patients with histologically confirmed metastatic pancreatic adenocarcinoma treated between July 1998 and September 2000. Day 1 treatment consisted of gemcitabine 500 mg/m2 over 30 minutes and then leucovorin 300 mg bolus, 5-fluorouracil (5-FU) 400 mg/m2 bolus, followed by infusional 5-FU 600 mg/m2 over 8 hours. Day 2 consisted of leucovorin 300 mg bolus, 5-FU 400 mg/m2 bolus, followed by cisplatin 50-75 mg/m2 over 30 minutes and then infusional 5-FU 600 mg/m2 over 8 hours. Treatment was administered every 2 weeks. Median patient age was 61.5 years, 74% were men, and 20 patients had refractory disease (11 patients had disease progression upon gemcitabine-based therapy). Grade 3-4 toxic effects (% patients) consisted of neutropenia (30%), thrombocytopenia (14%), anemia (8%), and neutropenic fever (2%). Grade 3-4 nonhematological toxicities (% patients) consisted of neuropathy (14%), ototoxicity (8%), nephrotoxicity (6%), nausea/vomiting (14%), and mucositis (10%). The majority of dose reductions were made for neuropathy or cytopenias. Filgrastim and erythropoietin were given as needed to promote dose intensity. Eight patients attained a partial response (PR) by RECIST criteria. Fourteen had stable disease (SD). Two patients attaining PR and two attaining SD had progressive disease with prior gemcitabine-based therapy. The median time to disease progression (TTP) from GFP start was 9 weeks. For all 49 patients, the median overall survival (OS) from GFP start was 10.6 months, 12-month survival was 46%, and 24-month survival was 30%. Notably, upon disease progression, 31 patients continued to receive the GFP regimen with irinotecan 80 mg/m2 inserted on day 1 following gemcitabine, the G-FLIP regimen (gemcitabine, 5-fluorouracil, leucovorin, irinotecan, and cisplatin). Measured from G-FLIP initiation, the TTP for the 31 patients treated sequentially was 10 weeks, and for the 14 patients attaining SD or PR the TTP was 25 weeks. The median overall survival measured from GFP initiation was 11.8 months. The response rate, non-cross resistance, TTP, OS, and tolerability warrant prospective development of this novel combination. This experience also demonstrates that adding a single new drug such as irinotecan to the same first-line chemotherapy combination upon disease progression may be an important alternative for the treatment of relapsed/resistant cancer.

ATP chemosensitivity testing in ovarian and breast cancer: early clinical trials.

After disappointing results achieved with older chemosensitivity tests such as the human tumor clonogenic assay (HTCA) during the 1980s, the last decade has seen a renaissance of the concept of individualized chemotherapy in oncology, markedly stimulated by the development of newer nonclonogenic assays. These methods appear to be able to overcome major technical limitations associated with older assays, now allowing for successful testing of most of the tumor specimens submitted. Currently, the ATP-based tumor chemosensitivity assay (ATP-TCA) can be regarded as the most sophisticated assay to investigate both solid samples and effusions derived from patients with various organ tumors. During the last 5 years, the ATP-TCA has been used successfully to screen for novel drug combinations for further clinical use in both ovarian and breast cancer such as mitoxantrone plus paclitaxel (NT) and treosulfan plus gemcitabine (TG), respectively. Clinical trials that have been set up in heavily pretreated patients with recurrent ovarian or breast cancer have convincingly confirmed the high activity of these combinations previously demonstrated in preclinical investigations using the ATP-TCA. In a recent phase II trial performed in 59 patients with relapsed ovarian carcinoma, ATP-TCA-directed therapy was able to triple the response rate and to double the survival time, compared with published empirical chemotherapy regimes. Preliminary results with ATP-TCA-directed therapy in breast cancer also evidenced promising response rates. These results have been confirmed by additional prospective clinical trials using other types of modern nonclonogenic assays. A phase III trial that is now actively recruiting patients with platinum-refractory ovarian cancer to verify the promising phase II studies will prove the further value of the ATP-TCA as a predictor applicable in routine clinical oncology.

A comprehensive update on the use of chemotherapy for metastatic pancreatic adenocarcinoma.

Phase II trials of combination chemotherapies have shown encouraging palliative benefit, objective response rates, and survival outcomes. Until ongoing phase III trials confirm these benefits, the current standard treatment for metastatic pancreatic adenocarcinoma remains single agent gemcitabine. The fixed rate infusion schedule of 10 mg/m2/min is gaining wide acceptance and is a promising investigational priority. A very reasonable alternative to single agent gemcitabine, and our bias, is enrollment into clinical trials evaluating novel gemcitabine-based combinations. Further investigation is needed to determine optimal incorporation of so-called targeted therapy with combination chemotherapy.