Investigators Hope Glioma Trial of Eflornithine Will Clinch Approval

Brittany Lovely
Published: Friday, May 24, 2019
Emmanuel S. Antonarakis, MD

Victor A. Levin, MD
Eflornithine (α-Difluoromethylornithine) has been investigated for over 30 years as a potential neuro-oncology agent and shown activity against recurrent gliomas, but it has not gained approval as a therapy option for patients with cancer. Investigators are looking to change that with the phase III STELLAR trial (NCT02796261), which, with updated enrollment criteria, is recruiting patients with anaplastic astrocytoma (AA) that has recurred or progressed following radiation and temozolomide chemotherapy.1 The trial is comparing the efficacy and safety of combination eflornithine and lomustine with that of lomustine monotherapy.

“[Eflornithine] has a unique history, and the drug does have activity in a variety of tumors and theoretically could be used in combination in some of those tumor types,” said Victor A. Levin, MD, emeritus professor of neuro-oncology at The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston and a clinical professor in the Department of Neurosurgery at the University of California, San Francisco, School of Medicine. Levin has worked with eflornithine in the glioblastoma (GBM) setting since the 1980s.

Eflornithine inhibits ornithine decarboxylase in an irreversible fashion. It has marketing approval in the United States for topical use to prevent excessive hair growth (Vaniqa). Outside this country, eflornithine is used to treat African trypanosomiasis, a sleeping sickness.

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