Purpose: Individuals with metastatic melanoma have a poor prognosis. Many human melanomas are auxotrophic for arginine, and arginine is not an essential amino acid in humans. We hypothesized that this auxotrophy may be therapeutically exploited. A novel amino acid-degrading enzyme (arginine deiminase) conjugated to polyethylene glycol (ADI-SS PEG 20,000 mw) was used to lower plasma arginine in individuals with metastatic melanoma. Patients and Methods: Two cohort dose-escalation studies were performed. A phase I study in the United States enrolled 15 patients, and a phase I to II study in Italy enrolled 24 patients. The Italian patients also received two subsequent cycles of treatment, each consisting of four once-weekly injections of 160 U/m 2. The goals of these studies were to determine pharmacokinetics (PK), pharmacodynamics (PD), safety, and the antitumor activity of ADI-SS PEG 20,000 mw. Results: PK and PD studies indicated that a dose of 160 U/m 2 lowered plasma arginine from a resting level of approximately 130 μmol/L to less than 2 μmol/L for at least 7 days; nitric oxide levels also were lowered. There were no grade 3 or 4 toxicities directly attributable to the drug. Six of 24 phase I to II patients responded to treatment (five partial responses and one complete response; 25% response rate) and also had prolonged survival. Conclusion: Elimination of all detectable plasma arginine in patients with metastatic melanoma was well tolerated and may be effective in the treatment of this cancer. Further testing of ADI-SS PEG 20,000 mw in a larger population of individuals with metastatic melanoma is warranted.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cancer Research