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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Phase I study of continuous-infusion L-S,R-buthionine sulfoximine with intravenous melphalan.

BACKGROUND: Increased intracellular glutathione has long been associated with tumor cell resistance to various cytotoxic agents. An inhibitor of glutathione biosynthesis, L-S,R-buthionine sulfoximine (BSO), has been shown to enhance the cytotoxicity of chemotherapeutic agents in vitro and in vivo. We performed a phase I study of BSO administered with the anticancer drug melphalan to determine the combination's safety/tolerability and to determine clinically whether BSO produced the desired biochemical end point of glutathione depletion (<10% of pretreatment value). METHODS: Twenty-one patients with advanced cancers received an initial 30-minute infusion of BSO totaling 3.0 g/m2 and immediately received a continuous infusion of BSO on one of the following schedules: 1) 0.75 g/m2 per hour for 24 hours (four patients); 2) the same dose rate for 48 hours (four patients); 3) the same dose rate for 72 hours (10 patients); or 4) 1.5 g/m2 per hour for 48 hours (three patients). During week 1, the patients received BSO alone; during weeks 2 or 3, they received BSO plus melphalan (15 mg/m2); thereafter, the patients received BSO plus melphalan every 4 weeks. Glutathione concentrations in peripheral blood lymphocytes were determined for all patients; in 10 patients on three of the administration schedules, these measurements were made in multiple sections from tumor biopsy specimens taken before, during, and after continuous-infusion BSO. RESULTS: Continuous-infusion BSO alone produced minimal toxic effects, although BSO plus melphalan produced occasional severe myelosuppression (grade 4) and frequent low-grade nausea/vomiting (grade 1-2). This treatment also produced consistent, profound glutathione depletion (<10% of pretreatment value). The degree of glutathione depletion in peripheral lymphocytes was considerably less than that observed in tumor sections. CONCLUSIONS: Continuous-infusion BSO is relatively nontoxic and results in depletion of tumor glutathione.[1]


  1. Phase I study of continuous-infusion L-S,R-buthionine sulfoximine with intravenous melphalan. Bailey, H.H., Ripple, G., Tutsch, K.D., Arzoomanian, R.Z., Alberti, D., Feierabend, C., Mahvi, D., Schink, J., Pomplun, M., Mulcahy, R.T., Wilding, G. J. Natl. Cancer Inst. (1997) [Pubmed]
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