A phase 1 study of everolimus plus docetaxel plus cisplatin as induction chemotherapy for patients with locally and/or regionally advanced head and neck cancer.
BACKGROUND: Activation of the phosphatidylinositol-3-kinase (PI3K)/Akt/mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR) pathway is common in head and neck cancers, and it has been demonstrated that inhibition of mTOR complex 1 sensitizes cell lines to platinum and taxane chemotherapy. The authors conducted a phase 1 study to evaluate the addition of oral everolimus to cisplatin and docetaxel as induction chemotherapy for head and neck cancer. METHODS: In this single-institution phase 1 study, 3 doses of daily everolimus were explored: 5 mg daily, 7.5 mg daily (administered as 5 mg daily alternating with 10 mg daily), and 10 mg daily of each 21-day cycle. Cisplatin and docetaxel doses were fixed (both were 75 mg/m(2) on day 1 of 21-day cycle) at each dose level with pegfilgrastim support. A standard 3 + 3 dose-escalation plan was used. After induction, patients were removed from protocol. RESULTS: Eighteen patients were enrolled (15 men, 3 women), and their median Karnofsky performance status was 90. The most common toxicities were hyperglycemia, low hemoglobin, fatigue, and thrombocytopenia. Dose-limiting toxicities (DLTs) were neutropenic fever (1 event at dose level 2, 2 events at dose level 3), and all patients recovered fully from these DLTs. The maximum tolerated dose was exceeded at dose level 3. The progression-free survival rate at 1 year was 87.5% (95% confidence interval, 56.8%-96.7%); and, at 2 years, it was 76.6% (95% confidence interval, 41.2%-92.3%). Activating PI3K catalytic subunit α (PIK3CA) gene mutations were identified in 2 human papillomavirus-associated oropharyngeal cancers. CONCLUSIONS: The phase 2 recommended dose was 7.5 mg daily for everolimus plus cisplatin and docetaxel (both at 75 mg/m(2) on day 1 of a 21-day cycle) given with pegfilgrastim support.