Phase 1 study of romidepsin plus erlotinib in advanced non-small cell lung cancer

David E. Gerber, David A. Boothman, Farjana J. Fattah, Ying Dong, Hong Zhu, Rachel A. Skelton, Laurin L. Priddy, Peggy Vo, Jonathan E. Dowell, Venetia Sarode, Richard Leff, Claudia Meek, Yang Xie, Joan H. Schiller

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

33 Scopus citations


Purpose: Preclinical studies demonstrated anti-tumor efficacy of the combination of the histone deacetylase (HDAC) inhibitor romidepsin plus erlotinib in non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) models that were insensitive to erlotinib monotherapy. We therefore studied this combination in a phase 1 clinical trial in previously treated advanced NSCLC. Methods: Romidepsin (8 or 10mg/m2) was administered intravenously on days 1, 8, and 15 every 28 days in combination with erlotinib (150mg orally daily), with romidepsin monotherapy lead-in during Cycle 1. Correlative studies included peripheral blood mononuclear cell HDAC activity and histone acetylation status, and EGFR pathway activation status in skin biopsies. Results: A total of 17 patients were enrolled. Median number of prior lines of therapy was 3 (range 1-5). No cases had a sensitizing EGFR mutation. The most common related adverse events were nausea, vomiting, and fatigue (each 82%), diarrhea (65%), anorexia (53%), and rash (41%). Dose-limiting nausea and vomiting occurred at the romidepsin 10mg/m2 level despite aggressive antiemetic prophylaxis and treatment. Among 10 evaluable patients, the best response was stable disease (n=7) and progressive disease (n=3). Median progression-free survival (PFS) was 3.3 months (range 1.4-16.5 months). Prolonged PFS (>6 months) was noted in a KRAS mutant adenocarcinoma and a squamous cell cancer previously progressed on erlotinib monotherapy. Romidepsin monotherapy inhibited HDAC activity, increased histone acetylation status, and inhibited EGFR phosphorylation. Conclusions: Romidepsin 8mg/m2 plus erlotinib appears well tolerated, has evidence of disease control, and exhibits effects on relevant molecular targets in an unselected advanced NSCLC population.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)534-541
Number of pages8
JournalLung Cancer
Issue number3
StatePublished - Dec 1 2015


  • Clinical trial
  • Epidermal growth factor receptor
  • Epigenetics
  • Erlotinib
  • Histone deacetylase inhibitor
  • Non-small cell lung cancer
  • Romidepsin

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine
  • Cancer Research


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