A phase 1-2 study of imexon plus dacarbazine in patients with unresectable metastatic melanoma

Jeffrey S. Weber, Wolfram E. Samlowski, Rene Gonzalez, Antoni Ribas, Joe Stephenson, Steven O'Day, Takami Sato, Robert Dorr, Kathryn Grenier, Evan Hersh

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Scopus citations


BACKGROUND: Imexon (Amplimexon) is an aziridine compound that increases reactive oxygen species, disrupts mitochondrial membranes, and induces apoptosis. Preclinical studies showed activity against melanoma cell lines and models in mice, and synergy with dacarbazine. The authors evaluated standard doses of dacarbazine combined with increasing doses of imexon to determine the maximal tolerated dose (MTD), toxicities, pharmacokinetics, and efficacy. METHODS: Sixty-eight chemotherapy-naive melanoma patients (1 inoperable stage III and 67 stage IV) were treated with dacarbazine (250 mg/m2) and imexon (570-1300 mg/m2), both daily for 5 days every 3 weeks. RESULTS: There were 18 patients in the phase 1, and 50 in the phase 2 component of the study. The MTD of imexon with dacarbazine was 1000 mg/m2. Dose-limiting toxicities were pulmonary edema and hepatorenal failure. At the MTD, therapy was well tolerated. The most common toxicities (any grade) were vomiting, diarrhea, anemia, thrombocytopenia, anorexia, fever, and constipation. Among 68 patients, there were 7 treatment-related serious adverse events. Partial response and stable disease rates were 5.9% and 25% for all subjects and 2% and 30% for the phase 2 patients, respectively. Median progression-free and overall survival of all patients were 2.0 and 11.7 months and 2 and 7.5 months for the phase 2 patients, respectively. Overall survival of the 31 patients with normal lactate dehydrogenase levels was >22.5 months. Pharmacokinetics of both drugs were similar to previous reports. CONCLUSIONS: Imexon plus dacarbazine was well tolerated. The survival data suggest further evaluation in a randomized phase 2 study.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)3683-3691
Number of pages9
Issue number15
StatePublished - Aug 1 2010


  • Chemotherapy
  • Dacarbazine
  • Imexon
  • Malignant melanoma

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research


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