Experimental Drug Guadecitabine Proven Safe for Colorectal Cancer Treatment

Guadecitabine and chemotherapy can potentially overcome treatment resistance.

Guadecitabine and the chemotherapy irinotecan can potentially overcome irinotecan resistance in patients with metastatic colorectal cancer, according to a study presented at the American Association for Cancer Research Annual Meeting 2016.

The study included 22 participants with metastatic colorectal cancer. These patients were previously treated with irinotecan whose disease was still progressing.

Patients were randomized to receive a different dose of guadecitabine combined with irinotecan for 4 months.

Over the course of the study, 15 patients had at least 1 imaging scan in order to retest the location and extent of their cancers.

Researchers found that at least 1 patient experienced a partial response to treatment defined as an at least 30% reduction in tumor size.

Researchers also found that guadecitabine reduced methylation in the cancer cells.

"We did see that giving a higher dose of the drug seemed to produce a better methylation response among patients," said Valerie Lee, MD, in a press release. "However, it seemed that patients were responding at all levels of the drug.”

In terms of side effects, 16 patients experienced neutropenia, 5 patients with neutropenia had fevers, 3 patients became anemic, and 2 patients developed thrombocytopenia.

Other less severe side effects included diarrhea, fatigue, and dehydration. There was 1 death during the trial, possibly resulting from febrile neutropenia caused by the treatment, according to the study.

The current study is based on a previous study that showed a combination of guadecitabine and irinotecan was able to limit the growth of colorectal cancer cells.

This drug combination is currently being tested in an ongoing phase 2 clinical trial.

Researchers state that they will be looking for biomarkers in patients that could determine which patients will benefit from the combination treatment.