• Background

    Receptor tyrosine kinases such as epidermal growth factor receptors (EGFRs) and their downstream signaling pathways such as the Ras-Raf-mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) pathway play important roles in glioblastoma (GBM). This study investigated the safety, pharmacokinetics, and efficacy of sorafenib (Ras/Raf/MAPK inhibitor) in combination with erlotinib (EGFR inhibitor) for treatment of recurrent GBMs.


    Patients with recurrent GBM were eligible. A novel sequential accrual trial design was used, where patients were sequentially accrued into separate treatment arms in phase I and phase II investigations to optimize recruitment efficiency. In phase I, a standard 3 + 3 format was used to identify dose-limiting toxicities (DLTs), determine maximum tolerated dose (MTD), and investigate pharmacokinetics. Phase II followed a 2-stage design with the primary endpoint being 6-month progression-free survival (PFS6).


    Sixteen patients were recruited for phase I, and the MTD was determined to be sorafenib 200 mg twice daily and erlotinib 100 mg once daily. DLTs include Grade 3 hypertension, Grade 3 elevated liver transaminases, and Grade 4 elevated lipase. While erlotinib did not affect sorafenib levels, sorafenib reduced erlotinib levels. In phase II, 3 of 19 stage 1 participants were progression free at 6 months. This did not meet the predetermined efficacy endpoint, and the trial was terminated.


    This study identified the MTD and DLTs for sorafenib and erlotinib combination therapy for recurrent GBMs; however, efficacy data did not meet the primary endpoint. This study also demonstrates the feasibility of a novel sequential accrual clinical trial design that optimizes patient recruitment for multiarm studies, which is particularly effective for multicenter clinical trials.

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)


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