A randomized phase 2 study of a HSP27 targeting antisense, apatorsen with prednisone versus prednisone alone, in patients with metastatic castration resistant prostate cancer
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Purpose Heat shock protein 27 (Hsp27) is implicated in prostate cancer progression. Apatorsen is a second generation phosphorothioate antisense inhibitor of Hsp27 expression. We evaluated apatorsen in patients with metastatic castration resistant prostate cancer (mCRPC). Experimental design Eligible patients were randomized 1:1 to receive intravenous apatorsen (3 loading doses of 600 mg within 5-9 days followed by weekly doses of 1000 mg) with oral prednisone 5 mg twice daily or prednisone alone. The primary endpoint was disease progression at 12 weeks. Crossover from prednisone alone was allowed after radiographic progression. Results 74 patients received apatorsen + prednisone (n = 36) or prednisone alone (n = 38). Twenty-five patients crossed-over to receive apatorsen + prednisone. Apatorsen treated patients received a median of 19 infusions. 50% of apatorsen + prednisone patients (95% CI: 32.9%, 67.1%) compared with 42% of prednisone patients (95% CI: 26.3%, 59.2%) did not have disease progression at week 12 (P = 0.33). A PSA decline of ≥50% was observed in 47% of apatorsen + prednisone and 24% of prednisone patients (P = 0.04), with a median duration of response of 24.1 weeks (95% CI: 12.0, 52) and 14.0 weeks (95% CI: 4.0, 44.4), respectively. A PSA decline of ≥50% was observed in 5 patients (20%) that received cross-over apatorsen. Infusion reactions were the most commonly reported adverse event occurring in 77% of apatorsen-treated patients. Conclusions Apatorsen + prednisone did not change the proportion of CRPC patients without disease progression at 12 weeks compared to prednisone but was associated with significant PSA declines. Further evaluation of Hsp27 targeting in prostate cancer is warranted.