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Open Access Study protocol

A phase 1–2, prospective, double blind, randomized study of the safety and efficacy of Sulfasalazine for the treatment of progressing malignant gliomas: study protocol of [ISRCTN45828668]

Pierre A Robe15*, Didier Martin1, Adelin Albert2, Manuel Deprez3, Alain Chariot4 and Vincent Bours5

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Neurosurgery, University of Liège, Domaine du Sart TIlman, B35, 4000 Liège, Belgium

2 Department of Medical Statistics, University of Liège, Domaine du Sart TIlman, B35, 4000 Liège, Belgium

3 Department of Pathology (Neuropathology), University of Liège, Domaine du Sart TIlman, B35, 4000 Liège, Belgium

4 Department of Medical Chemistry University of Liège, Domaine du Sart TIlman, B35, 4000 Liège, Belgium

5 Human Genetics. University of Liège, Domaine du Sart TIlman, B35, 4000 Liège, Belgium

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BMC Cancer 2006, 6:29  doi:10.1186/1471-2407-6-29

Published: 31 January 2006

Abstract

Background

The prognosis of patients suffering from WHO grade 3 and 4 astrocytic glioma remains poor despite surgery, radiation therapy and the use of current chemotherapy regimen. Indeed, the median survival of glioblastoma multiforme (WHO grade 4) patients is at best 14.6 month with only 26.5 percents of the patients still alive after 2 years and the median survival of anaplastic astrocytomas (WHO grade 3) is 19.2 month. Recent evidence suggests that the transcription factor NF-kappaB is constitutively expressed in malignant gliomas and that its inhibition by drugs like Sulfasalazine may block the growth of astrocytic tumors in vitro and in experimental models of malignant gliomas.

Design

ULg_GBM_04/1 is a prospective, randomized, double blind single-center phase 1–2 study. A total of twenty patients with progressive malignant glioma despite surgery, radiation therapy and a first line of chemotherapy will be recruited and assigned to four dosage regimen of Sulfasalazine. This medication will be taken orally t.i.d. at a daily dose of 1.5–3–4 or 6 g, continuously until complete remission, evidence of progression or drug intolerance. Primary endpoints are drug safety in the setting of malignant gliomas and tumor response as measured according to MacDonald's criteria. An interim analysis of drug safety will be conducted after the inclusion of ten patients. The complete evaluation of primary endpoints will be conducted two years after the enrolment of the last patient or after the death of the last patient should this occur prematurely.

Discussion

The aim of this study is to evaluate the safety and efficacy of Sulfasalazine as a treatment for recurring malignant gliomas. The safety and efficacy of this drug are analyzed as primary endpoints. Overall survival and progression-free survival are secondary endpoint.