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BACKGROUND: Bromodomain and extraterminal motif (BET) protein inhibition is a promising cancer treatment strategy, notably for targeting MYC- or BRD4-driven diseases. A first-in-human study investigated the safety, pharmacokinetics, maximum tolerated dose and recommended phase II dose of the BET inhibitor BAY 1238097 in patients with advanced malignancies. MATERIAL AND METHODS: In this phase I, open-label, non-randomised, multicentre study, patients with cytologically or histologically confirmed advanced refractory malignancies received oral BAY 1238097 twice weekly in 21-day cycles using an adaptive dose-escalation design at a starting dose of 10 mg/week. Model-based dose-response analysis was performed to guide dose escalation. Safety, pharmacokinetics, pharmacodynamics and tumour response were evaluated. RESULTS: Eight patients were enrolled at three dose levels (10 mg/week, n = 3; 40 mg/week, n = 3; 80 mg/week, n = 2). Both patients receiving 80 mg/week had dose-limiting toxicities (DLTs) (grade 3 vomiting, grade 3 headache and grade 2/3 back pain). The most common adverse events were nausea, vomiting, headache, back pain and fatigue. Pharmacokinetic analysis indicated a linear dose response with increasing dose. Two patients displayed prolonged stable disease; no responses were observed. Biomarker evaluation of MYC and HEXIM1 expression demonstrated an emerging pharmacokinetic/pharmacodynamic relationship, with a trend towards decreased MYC and increased HEXIM1 expression in response to treatment. CONCLUSION: The study was prematurely terminated because of the occurrence of DLTs at a dose below targeted drug exposure. Pharmacokinetic modelling indicated that an alternate dosing schedule whereby DLTs could be avoided while reaching efficacious exposure was not feasible. Registration number: NCT02369029.

Original publication




Journal article


Eur J Cancer

Publication Date





103 - 110


BAY 1238097, BET inhibitor, Clinical trial, Drug-related side effects and adverse reactions, Epigenetics, Myc, Neoplasms, Pharmacokinetics, Phase I