Skip to main content
Open Access Publications from the University of California

UC San Diego

UC San Diego Previously Published Works bannerUC San Diego

Phase I study of azacitidine and oxaliplatin in patients with advanced cancers that have relapsed or are refractory to any platinum therapy



Demethylation process is necessary for the expression of various factors involved in chemotherapy cytotoxicity or resistance. Platinum-resistant cells may have reduced expression of the copper/platinum transporter CTR1. We hypothesized that azacitidine and oxaliplatin combination therapy may restore platinum sensitivity. We treated patients with cancer relapsed/refractory to any platinum compounds (3 + 3 study design) with azacitidine (20 to 50 mg/m(2)/day intravenously (IV) over 15 to 30 min, D1 to 5) and oxaliplatin (15 to 30 mg/m(2)/day, IV over 2 h, D2 to 5) (maximum, six cycles). Platinum content, LINE1 methylation (surrogate of global DNA methylation), and CTR1 expression changes (pre- vs. post-treatment) were assessed. Drug pharmacokinetics were analyzed.


Thirty-seven patients were treated. No dose-limiting toxicity (DLT) was noted at the maximum dose. The most common adverse events were anemia and fatigue. Two (5.4%) patients had stable disease and completed six cycles of therapy. Oxaliplatin (D2) and azacitidine (D1 and 5) mean systemic exposure based on plasma AUCall showed dose-dependent interaction whereby increasing the dose of oxaliplatin reduced the mean azacitidine exposure and vice versa; however, no significant differences in other non-compartmental modeled parameters were observed. Blood samples showed universal reduction in global DNA methylation. In tumor samples, hypomethylation was only observed in four out of seven patients. No correlation between blood and tumor demethylation was seen. The mean cytoplasmic CTR1 score decreased. The pre-dose tumor oxaliplatin levels ranged from <0.25 to 5.8 μg/g tumor. The platinum concentration increased 3- to 18-fold. No correlation was found between CTR1 score and oxaliplatin level, which was found to have a trend toward correlation with progression-free survival.


Oxaliplatin and azacitidine combination therapy was safe. CTR1 expression was not correlated with methylation status or tissue platinum concentration.

Many UC-authored scholarly publications are freely available on this site because of the UC's open access policies. Let us know how this access is important for you.

Main Content
For improved accessibility of PDF content, download the file to your device.
Current View