Protein kinase C beta (PKCbeta), a pivotal enzyme in B-cell signaling and survival, is overexpressed in most cases of mantle cell lymphoma (MCL). Activation of PI3K/AKT pathway is involved in pathogenesis of MCL. Enzastaurin, an oral serine/threonine kinase inhibitor, suppresses signaling through PKCbeta/PI3K/AKT pathways, induces apoptosis, reduces proliferation, and suppresses tumor-induced angiogenesis. Patients with relapsed/refractory MCL, and no more than four regimens of prior therapy, received 500 mg enzastaurin, orally, once daily. Sixty patients, median age 66 years (range 45-85), Eastern Cooperative Oncology Group performance status of zero to two (48% had baseline International Prognostic Index of 3-5), were enrolled. Most patients had prior CHOP-like chemotherapy and/or rituximab (median = 2 regimens). No drug-related deaths occurred. There was one case each of grade 3 anemia, diarrhea, dyspnea, vomiting, hypotension, and syncope. Fatigue was the most common toxicity. Although no objective tumor responses occurred, 22 patients (37%, 95% CI 25% to 49%) were free from progression (FFP) for > or =3 cycles (one cycle = 28 days); 6 of 22 were FFP for >6 months. Two patients remain on treatment and FFP at >23 months. Freedom from progression for >6 months in six patients and a favorable toxicity profile with minimal hematological toxicity indicate that enzastaurin warrants evaluation as maintenance therapy and combination chemotherapy in MCL.
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