Article Abstract

Clinical laboratory and imaging evidence for effectiveness of agarose-agarose macrobeads containing stem-like cells derived from a mouse renal adenocarcinoma cell population (RMBs) in treatment-resistant, advanced metastatic colorectal cancer: Evaluation of a biological-systems approach to cancer therapy (U.S. FDA IND-BB 10091; NCT 02046174, NCT 01053013)

Authors: Barry H. Smith, Lawrence S. Gazda, Thomas J. Fahey, Angelica Nazarian, Melissa A. Laramore, Prithy Martis, Zoe P. Andrada, Joanne Thomas, Tapan Parikh, Sudipta Sureshbabu, Nathaniel Berman, Allyson J. Ocean, Richard D. Hall, David J. Wolf


Objective: The complexity, heterogeneity and capacity of malignant neoplastic cells and tumors for rapid change and evolution suggest that living-cell-based biological-systems approaches to cancer treatment are merited. Testing this hypothesis, the tumor marker, metabolic activity, and overall survival (OS) responses, to the use of one such system, implantable macrobeads [RENCA macrobeads (RMBs)], in phase I and IIa clinical trials in advanced, treatment-resistant metastatic colorectal cancer (mCRC) are described here.
Methods: Forty-eight mCRC patients (30 females; 18 males), who had failed all available, approved treatments, underwent RMB implantation (8 RMB/kg body weight) up to 4 times in phase I and phase IIa open-label trials. Physicals, labs [tumor and inflammation markers, lactate dehydrogenase (LDH)] and positron emission tomography-computed tomography (PET-CT) imaging to measure number/volume and metabolic activity of the tumors were performed pre- and 3-month-post-implantation to evaluate safety and initial efficacy (as defined by biological responses). PET-CT maximum standard uptake value (SUVmax) (baseline and d 90; SUVmax ≥2.5), LDH, and carcinoembryonic antigen (CEA) and/or cancer antigen 19-9 (CA 19-9) response (baseline, d 30 and/or d 60) were assessed and compared to OS.
Results: Responses after implantation were characterized by an at least 20% decrease in CEA and/or CA 19-9 in 75% of patients. Fluorodeoxyglucose (FDG)-positive lesions (phase I, 39; 2a, 82) were detected in 37/48 evaluable patients, with 35% stable volume and stable or decreased SUV (10) plus four with necrosis; 10, increased tumor volume, SUV. LDH levels remained stable and low in Responders (R) (d 0–60, 290.4–333.9), but increased steadily in Non-responders (NR) (d 0–60, 382.8–1,278.5) (d 60, P=0.050). Responders to RMBs, indicated by the changes in the above markers, correlated with OS (R mean OS=10.76 months; NR mean OS=4.9 months; P=0.0006).
Conclusions: The correlations of the tumor marker, tumor volume and SUV changes on PET-CT, and LDH levels themselves, and with OS, support the concept of a biological response to RMB implantation and the validity of the biological-systems approach to mCRC. A phase III clinical trial is planned.

Keywords: Clinical trial; systems-biology; RENCA macrobeads; metastatic colorectal cancer; colon cancer