The journal Clinical Cancer Research has published the results of a phase I/phase II study of Abexinostat in Follicular Lymphoma and Mantle Cell Lymphoma. The MCL didn't work out well, but the numbers for Follicular Lymphoma look pretty good.
Abexinostat is a one of those targeted treatments that keep things from happening, specifically a Histone deacetylase inhibitor (or HDI). HDIs have actually been used for a while to help epileptic seizures. HDI's, like their name says, inhibited histone deacetylase. Histones are proteins that help control cell division. When a cell divides, it needs to make a copy of its DNA for the new cell, and histones help in that process. HDIs mess with the process by making sure that certain genes pile up and get in the way.
(There are other HDIs out there, too, like Vorinostat, which is also in trials for FL.)
The Clinical Cancer Research article describes a phase I/phase II study.
In phase I of the study, 25 patients with different types of lymphoma were given straight Abexinostat. The patinets were all "heavily pretreated," and so either had a treatment that had stopped working, or that hadn't worked at all. The patients were given different doses of Abexinostat to figure out which worked best.
In phase II, 30 patients with FL or MCL were given the dosage that was determined in phase I. of the 30 patients, 25 could be evaluated. The Follicular Lymphoma patients did better. The Overall Response Rate was 64.3%, and the median Progression Free Survival was 20.5 months. Side effects seemed manageable.
This was, of course a phase I/phase II study, with relatively few patients, so there is still a ways to go before we see how effective Abexinostat really is. But the early results give us something to look forward to.
And the study is more evidence that these kids of targeted treatments really are the future of cancer care.