Axitinib dose titration: Analyses of exposure, blood pressure and clinical response from a randomized phase II study in metastatic renal cell carcinoma

Brian I. Rini, B. Melichar, M. N. Fishman, M. Oya, Y. K. Pithavala, Y. Chen, A. H. Bair, V. Grünwald

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67 Citations (Scopus)


Background: In a randomized, double-blind phase II trial in patients with metastatic renal cell carcinoma (mRCC), axitinib versus placebo titration yielded a significantly higher objective response rate. We evaluated pharmacokinetic and blood pressure (BP) data from this study to elucidate relationships among axitinib exposure, BP change, and efficacy. Patients and methods: Patients received axitinib 5 mg twice daily during a lead-in period. Patients who met dose-titration criteria were randomized 1:1 to stepwise dose increases with axitinib or placebo. Patients ineligible for randomization continued without dose increases. Serial 6-h and sparse pharmacokinetic sampling were carried out; BP was measured at clinic visits and at home in all patients, and by 24-h ambulatory BP monitoring (ABPM) in a subset of patients. Results: Area under the plasma concentration-time curve from 0 to 24 h throughout the course of treatment (AUCstudy) was higher in patients with complete or partial responses than those with stable or progressive disease in the axitinib-titration arm, but comparable between these groups in the placebo-titration and nonrandomized arms. In the overall population, AUCstudy and efficacy outcomes were not strongly correlated. Mean BP across the population was similar when measured in clinic, at home, or by 24-h ABPM. Weak correlations were observed between axitinib steady-state exposure and diastolic BP. When grouped by change in diastolic BP from baseline, patients in the ≥10 and ≥15 mmHg groups had longer progression-free survival. Conclusions: Optimal axitinib exposure may differ among patients with mRCC. Pharmacokinetic or BP measurements cannot be used exclusively to guide axitinib dosing. Individualization of treatment with vascular endothelial growth factor receptor tyrosine kinase inhibitors, including axitinib, is thus more complex than anticipated and cannot be limited to a single clinical factor.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1372-1377
Number of pages6
JournalAnnals of Oncology
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - 2015 Jul 1


  • Axitinib
  • Blood pressure
  • Dose titration
  • Pharmacokinetics
  • Renal cell carcinoma

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Hematology
  • Oncology


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