Purpose: Aflibercept is a novel decoy receptor that efficiently neutralizes circulating VEGF. A pediatric phase I trial was conducted to define the dose-limiting toxicities (DLT), maximum tolerated dose (MTD), and pharmacokinetics (PK) of aflibercept. Experimental Design: Cohorts of three to six children with refractory solid tumors received aflibercept intravenously over 60 minutes every 14 days, at 2.0, 2.5, or 3.0 mg/kg/dose. PK sampling and analysis of peripheral blood biomarkers were conducted with the initial dose. Results: Twenty-one eligible patients were enrolled; 18 were fully evaluable for toxicity. One of six patients receiving 2.0 mg/kg/dose developed dose-limiting intratumoral hemorrhage and two of six receiving 3.0 mg/kg/dose developed either dose-limiting tumor pain or tissue necrosis. None of the six patients receiving 2.5 mg/kg/dose developed DLTs, defining this as the MTD. The most common non-DLTs were hypertension and fatigue. Three patients with hepatocellular carcinoma, hepatoblastoma and clear cell sarcoma had stable disease for >13 weeks. At the MTD, the ratio of free-to-bound aflibercept serum concentration was 2.10 on day 8 but only 0.44 by day 15. A rapid decrease in VEGF (P < 0.05) and increase in placental growth factor (PlGF; P < 0.05) from baseline was observed in response to aflibercept by day 2. Conclusions: The aflibercept MTD in children of 2.5 mg/kg/dose every 14 days is lower than the adult recommended dose of 4.0 mg/kg. This dose achieves, but does not sustain, free aflibercept concentrations in excess of bound. Tumor pain and hemorrhage may be evidence of antitumor activity but were dose-limiting.
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