Phase I clinical trial of oral 2-methoxyestradiol, an antiangiogenic and apoptotic agent, in patients with solid tumors

William L. Dahut, Nehal J. Lakhani, James L. Gulley, Philip M. Arlen, Elise C. Kohn, Herbert Kotz, Debbie McNally, Allyson Pair, Diana Nguyen, Sherry X. Yang, Seth M. Steinberg, Jürgen Venitz, Alex Sparreboom, William D. Figg*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

139 Scopus citations


Purpose: To determine the maximum-tolerated dose (MTD) and toxicity profile of the novel anticancer agent, 2-methoxyestradiol (2ME2) administered orally, in patients with solid tumors. Materials and methods: Twenty patients with refractory solid tumors were enrolled. 2ME2 was given orally starting at 400 mg bid with dose escalation until 3000 mg bid. Tumor biopsies were taken before and after starting the drug to assess for microvessel density by CD 31 and cell proliferation by Ki67 immunohistochemistry. Serial plasma samples collected up to 50 hours after first single oral dose for characterization of pharmacokinetics, were analyzed using liquid chromatography tandem mass-spectrometry. Results: Eleven men and nine women received 2ME2 at dose levels of 400 mg bid (n = 3), 800 mg bid (n = 3), 1600 mg bid (n = 6), 2200 mg bid (n = 5) and 3000 mg bid (n = 3). There were no dose limiting toxicities, therefore the MTD was not defined. There was one episode of grade 4 angioedema in the 1600 mg bid dose level 38 days into 2ME2 treatment. Other toxicities were mild to moderate. A patient with clear cell carcinoma of the ovary had a partial response at 1600 mg bid dose level lasting over three years. Conclusion: MTD for 2ME2 was not reached at dose of 3000 mg bid. The trial was closed due to extremely low plasma concentrations of 2ME2 relative to the doses administered. 2ME2 treatment had no effect on microvessel density (CD31 immunostaining) and cell proliferation (Ki-67 immunostaining). A new formulation of 2ME2 with improved bioavailability is currently being developed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)22-27
Number of pages6
JournalCancer Biology and Therapy
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2006
Externally publishedYes


  • 2-methoxyestradiol (2ME2)
  • Angiogenesis
  • Apoptosis
  • Clinical trial
  • Phase I
  • Solid tumor


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