Various signalling pathways can confer the malignant phenotype to a cell. Ras signalling proteins have been found to play an important role in controlling cellular growth. Raf-1 is a protein kinase that exerts its effects downstream of Ras in the mitogen-activated protein kinase pathway and is thus likely to be crucial in the development of the malignant phenotype. BAY 43-9006 is an orally administered selective inhibitor of Raf-1 and the first compound of its class to enter clinical trials. This article describes the early clinical data of BAY 43-9006 in patients with advanced, refractory solid tumours. To date, over 60 patients have been treated as part of four Phase I clinical trials. Dose levels have ranged from 50mg once weekly to 200mg twice-daily in continuous administration. The drug has been generally well tolerated with no dose limiting toxicity yet encountered. The more common toxicities have involved the gastrointestinal tract (diarrhea, nausea, abdominal cramping) and the skin (pruritu s, rash, cheilitis). Pharmacokinetic evaluations have found BAY 43-9006 to have considerable interpatient variability. However, there seems to be an increase in Cmax and AUC values with increasing dose. There is no clear effect of food on bioavailability. Splitting the dose to twice-daily administration has shown increases in Cmax and AUC values but is also accompanied by considerable interpatient variability.
Keywords: bay 43-9006, review, phase I study, solid tumours, pharmacokinetics, toxicity, efficacy, raf kinase
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