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Circulating endothelial progenitor cells in castration resistant prostate cancer: A randomized, controlled, biomarker study

By Fuereder, T., Wacheck, V., Strommer, S., Horak, P., Gerschpacher, M., Lamm, W., Kivaranovic, D., Krainer and M.

PLoS ONE, Volume 9, Issue 4, 22 April 2014

Abstract

Background

Endothelial progenitor cells (CEPs) and circulating endothelial cells (CECs) are potential biomarkers of response to anti-angiogenic treatment regimens. In the current study, we investigated the effect of docetaxel and sunitinib on CEP/CEC kinetics and clinical response in castration resistant prostate cancer (CRPC) patients.

Patients and methods

Chemonaive patients with CRPC were enrolled in this study to receive either sunitinib (37.5 mg/d), in combination with docetaxel (75 mg/m2) or docetaxel alone. CEP and CEC kinetics were analyzed for every cycle. The primary objective was to compare CEP/CEC pharmacodynamics between both treatment arms. We also investigated if CEC/CEP spikes, induced by MTD docetaxel, are suppressed by sunitinib in patients treated with docetaxel/sunitinib relative to docetaxel monotherapy.

Results

A total of 27 patients were enrolled. We observed a significant increase of CEP/CEC (total/viable) counts over time within each cycle (coefficients 0.29233, 0.22092 and 0.26089, respectively; p<0.001). However, no differences between the treatment groups, in terms of CEP and CEC kinetics, were detected. In the docetaxel monotherapy arm 4 (30%) patients responded to therapy with a 50% PSA decline, while 9 (64%) patients showed a PSA decline in the combination group (n.s.). The median PFS in the docetaxel monotherapy group was 3.1 months (2.6-3.6 months, 95% CI) and 6.2 months (4.9-7.4 months, 95% CI; p = 0.062) in the combination arm. Sunitinib/docetaxel was reasonably well tolerated and toxicity manageable.

Conclusion

In summary, no significant differences in CEC and CEP kinetics between the treatment arms were observed, although a highly significant increase of CEPs/CECs within each cycle over time was detected. These results mirror the challenge we have to face when employing anti-angiogenic strategies in CRPC. Additional preclinical research is needed to elucidate the underlying molecular mechanisms. However, docetaxel/sunitinib therapy resulted in a better response in terms of PSA decline and a trend towards improved PFS.

Trial Registery

clinicaltrialsregister.eu EudraCT 2007-003705-27.

© 2014 Fuereder et al.

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