Background: H19 is a paternally imprinted, oncofetal gene expressed in various embryonic tissues and in 85% of the ovarian tumors. H19-DTA (BC-819) is a DNA plasmid that drives the expression of the diphtheria toxin gene under the regulation of the H19 promoter sequence and therefore is a potential treatment for various tumors that overexpress the H19 gene, among them—ovarian cancer. Objective: To assess the safety and efficacy of intra-peritoneal (IP) instillations of H19-DTA (BC-819) plasmid in treating ovarian/peritoneal cancer patients with advanced recurrent disease. Methods: A phase 1–2A multi-centric trial included 14 eligible patients who were either platinum-refractory or platinum-resistant with positive H19 expression. Patients were treated IP with escalating weekly doses of BC-819 for a maximum of 6–9 weeks. Dose-limiting toxicities (DLT) were assessed after the first course of treatment for each patient and each subsequent cohort was enrolled once each subject had completed the first course of treatment and its 4-week follow-up period. The occurrence of adverse events (AEs) and response to treatment were assessed after the induction course and then periodically. Results: During the study, no DLTs were observed. Only 5 grade 1 and 2 AEs, which occurred in 4 patients were considered as possibly related to BC-819. The best tumor response seen was stable disease. Median survivals of 3.2, 5.3 and 6.5 months were observed for the 60, 120 and 240 mg cohorts, respectively. Conclusions: BC-819 can be considered safe and well tolerated in intraperitoneal doses up to 240 mg. Hybridization of intraperitoneal chemotherapy with the biological treatment of BC-819 should be further evaluated in phase 2 and 3 studies.
- BC-819 (H19-DTA)
- Recurrent ovarian/peritoneal cancer