Mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR) pathway is activated in malignant melanoma and in situ lesions as opposed to benign nevi. Inhibition of PI3K-Akt-mTOR signaling is implicated in sensitization of melanoma cells to alkylating agents (temozolomide [TMZ]) and inhibition of tumor angiogenesis.
We conducted a single-arm phase II multi-institution cooperative group study to assess the antitumor activity and safety profile of the combination of TMZ and the rapamycin derivative everolimus in patients with metastatic unresectable malignant melanoma. Patients received 10 mg/d of RAD001 for 5 of 7 days (ie, 50 mg/wk) and 200 mg/m2/d of TMZ for 5 days each cycle.
Of the first 39 eligible patients, 17 were PFS-9 successes, for a predetermined threshold of 18/39 patients for a positive trial. Overall, 21 of 48 patients were progression free at 9 weeks, for an event-free survival rate of 44% (95% confidence interval, 29%-59%). The median progression-free survival was 2.4 months and the median overall survival was 8.6 months. Four patients achieved a partial response; the median duration of response was 15.1 months. No complete remissions were observed. Treatment was in general well tolerated with only 1 patient discontinuing therapy due to toxicity (hyperlipidemia).
The combination of TMZ and RAD001 was well tolerated but failed to meet/exceed our study threshold for promising clinical activity in patients with metastatic melanoma.