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Clinical trials designed to block autophagy in multiple cancers show promise
Date:5/22/2014

phagy inhibitors with other cancer therapies in very sick patients can be accomplished safely in most cases. We wanted to present the data for all of these trials at one time, because when presented side by side, a more comprehensive and synergistic understanding of the potential of blocking this pathway emerges."

The phase I and phase I/II trials aimed to measure the safety of adding HCQ to either chemotherapy, radiation therapy or targeted therapies, its effectiveness at inhibiting autophagy, and the potential clinical benefit of HCQ combination therapies.

In melanoma, researchers observed prolonged stable disease in 20 percent of the patients on temozolomide. While in another trial, researchers observed stable disease in 75 percent of patients with metastatic melanoma on temsirolimus. In the dog clinical trial, all 30 dogs with non-Hodgkin's lymphoma treated with HCQ and the standard chemotherapy doxorubicin had clinical benefit, and nine had complete remission.

Autophagy is a relatively new target in cancer, infectious disease and neurodegenerative disorders, and while advances in the fundamental understanding of autophagy are increasing at a breakneck speed, translation of these advances into clinical trials and clinical benefit has been lagging. More recently, HCQ has shown promise in treating pancreatic cancer patients in ongoing clinical trials; however, its tolerability and effectiveness to stop autophagy in humans with other cancers has not been shown before.

The following is a brief summary of each of the six clinical trials, which can be found here.

Trial #1: A phase I/II trial of HCQ in conjunction with radiation therapy and concurrent and adjuvant temozolomide in patients with newly diagnosed gliobla
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Contact: Steve Graff
stephen.graff@uphs.upenn.edu
215-349-5653
University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine
Source:Eurekalert

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