Cookies on this website

We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. If you click 'Accept all cookies' we'll assume that you are happy to receive all cookies and you won't see this message again. If you click 'Reject all non-essential cookies' only necessary cookies providing core functionality such as security, network management, and accessibility will be enabled. Click 'Find out more' for information on how to change your cookie settings.

PURPOSE: Nelfinavir, a PI3K pathway inhibitor, is a radiosensitizer that increases tumor blood flow in preclinical models. We conducted an early-phase study to demonstrate the safety of nelfinavir combined with hypofractionated radiotherapy (RT) and to develop biomarkers of tumor perfusion and radiosensitization for this combinatorial approach. EXPERIMENTAL DESIGN: Ten patients with T3-4 N0-2 M1 rectal cancer received 7 days of oral nelfinavir (1,250 mg b.i.d.) and a further 7 days of nelfinavir during pelvic RT (25 Gy/5 fractions/7 days). Perfusion CT (p-CT) and DCE-MRI scans were performed pretreatment, after 7 days of nelfinavir and prior to the last fraction of RT. Biopsies taken pretreatment and 7 days after the last fraction of RT were analyzed for tumor cell density (TCD). RESULTS: There were 3 drug-related grade 3 adverse events: diarrhea, rash, and lymphopenia. On DCE-MRI, there was a mean 42% increase in medianKtrans, and a corresponding median 30% increase in mean blood flow on p-CT during RT in combination with nelfinavir. Median TCD decreased from 24.3% at baseline to 9.2% in biopsies taken 7 days after RT (P= 0.01). Overall, 5 of 9 evaluable patients exhibited good tumor regression on MRI assessed by tumor regression grade (mrTRG). CONCLUSIONS: This is the first study to evaluate nelfinavir in combination with RT without concurrent chemotherapy. It has shown that nelfinavir-RT is well tolerated and is associated with increased blood flow to rectal tumors. The efficacy of nelfinavir-RT versus RT alone merits clinical evaluation, including measurement of tumor blood flow.

Original publication




Journal article


Clin cancer res

Publication Date





1922 - 1931


Administration, Oral, Aged, Aged, 80 and over, Biomarkers, Combined Modality Therapy, Female, Humans, Magnetic Resonance Imaging, Male, Middle Aged, Nelfinavir, Neoplasm Metastasis, Neoplasm Staging, Radiation-Sensitizing Agents, Rectal Neoplasms, Tomography, X-Ray Computed, Treatment Outcome