A Phase I Clinical and Pharmacology Study Using Amifostine as a Radioprotector in Dose-escalated Whole Liver Radiation Therapy.

Publication Type:

Journal Article


International journal of radiation oncology, biology, physics, Volume 83, Issue 5, p.1441-7 (2012)


PURPOSE: Diffuse intrahepatic tumors are difficult to control. Whole-liver radiotherapy has been limited by toxicity, most notably radiation-induced liver disease. Amifostine is a prodrug free-radical scavenger that selectively protects normal tissues and, in a preclinical model of intrahepatic cancer, systemic amifostine reduced normal liver radiation damage without compromising tumor effect. We hypothesized that amifostine would permit escalation of whole-liver radiation dose to potentially control microscopic disease. We also aimed to characterize the pharmacokinetics of amifostine and its active metabolite WR-1065 to optimize timing of radiotherapy.

METHODS AND MATERIALS: We conducted a radiation dose-escalation trial for patients with diffuse, intrahepatic cancer treated with whole-liver radiation and intravenous amifostine. Radiation dose was assigned using the time-to-event continual reassessment method. A companion pharmacokinetic study was performed.

RESULTS: Twenty-three patients were treated, with a maximum dose of 40 Gy. Using a logistical regression model, compared with our previously treated patients, amifostine increased liver tolerance by 3.3 ± 1.1 Gy (p = 0.007) (approximately 10%) with similar response rates. Peak concentrations of WR-1065 were 25 μM with an elimination half-life of 1.5 h; these levels are consistent with radioprotective effects of amifostine in patients.

CONCLUSION: These findings demonstrate for the first time that amifostine is a normal liver radioprotector. They further suggest that it may be useful to combine amifostine with fractionated or stereotactic body radiation therapy for patients with focal intrahepatic cancer.