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BACKGROUND: MKT077 is a rhodacyanine dye analogue which preferentially accumulates in tumour cell mitochondria. It is cytotoxic to a range of tumours. In this phase I study, MKT077 was administered as a five-day infusion once every three weeks. PATIENTS AND METHODS: Ten patients, median age 59 (38-70) years, with advanced solid cancers were treated at three dose levels: 30, 40 and 50 mg/m2/day for a total of 18 cycles. 31Phosphorus magnetic resonance spectroscopy (MRS) was used to evaluate the effect of MKT077 on skeletal muscle mitochondrial function. RESULTS: The predominant toxicity was recurrent reversible functional renal impairment (grade 2, two patients). One patient with renal cancer attained stable disease and the remainder progressive disease. There were no MRS changes in the first or second treatment cycles but one patient received 11 treatment cycles and developed changes consistent with a mitochondrial myopathy. Mean values for all pharmacokinetic parameters were at sub micromolar levels and did not exceed IC50 values (> or = 1 microM). CONCLUSIONS: Because of the renal toxicity, and animal studies showing MKT077 causes eventual irreversible renal toxicity, further recruitment was halted. The study shows, however, that it is feasible to target mitochondria with rhodacyanine analogues, if drugs with higher therapeutic indices could be developed.

Original publication




Journal article


Ann Oncol

Publication Date





923 - 927


Adult, Aged, Antineoplastic Agents, Dose-Response Relationship, Drug, Drug Monitoring, Drug Resistance, Neoplasm, Female, Follow-Up Studies, Humans, Infusions, Intravenous, Male, Middle Aged, Mitochondria, Neoplasm Staging, Neoplasms, Pyridines, Severity of Illness Index, Thiazoles, Treatment Outcome