Epirubicin and Celecoxib in Treating Patients With Hepatocellular Carcinoma

This study has been completed.
National Cancer Institute (NCI)
Information provided by (Responsible Party):
Northwestern University
ClinicalTrials.gov Identifier:
First received: April 7, 2003
Last updated: June 7, 2012
Last verified: June 2012

RATIONALE: Celecoxib may stop the growth of tumor cells by stopping blood flow to the tumor. Drugs used in chemotherapy use different ways to stop tumor cells from dividing so they stop growing or die. Combining celecoxib with epirubicin may kill more tumor cells.

PURPOSE: This phase I/II trial is studying the side effects and best dose of epirubicin when given together with celecoxib and to see how well it works in treating patients with hepatocellular carcinoma (liver cancer).

Condition Intervention Phase
Liver Cancer
Drug: celecoxib
Drug: epirubicin hydrochloride
Phase 1
Phase 2

Study Type: Interventional
Study Design: Primary Purpose: Treatment
Official Title: Phase I/II Study of Epirubicin and Celecoxib for Hepatocellular Carcinoma

Resource links provided by NLM:

Further study details as provided by Northwestern University:

Primary Outcome Measures:
  • Maximum tolerated dose of epirubicin [ Designated as safety issue: Yes ]
  • Response rate [ Designated as safety issue: No ]
  • Survival at 6 months [ Designated as safety issue: No ]
  • Overall survival [ Designated as safety issue: No ]

Secondary Outcome Measures:
  • Toxicity profile [ Designated as safety issue: Yes ]
  • Serum vascular endothelial growth factor levels in correlation to response [ Designated as safety issue: No ]
  • Cyclooxygenase-2 expression in tumor tissue and nonmalignant liver tissue in correlation to response [ Designated as safety issue: No ]

Enrollment: 8
Study Start Date: October 2002
Study Completion Date: February 2007
Primary Completion Date: February 2007 (Final data collection date for primary outcome measure)
Detailed Description:


  • Determine the maximum tolerated dose of epirubicin when administered with celecoxib in patients with hepatocellular carcinoma.
  • Determine the response rate in patients treated with this regimen.
  • Determine the 6-month and overall survival of patients treated with this regimen.
  • Determine the toxicity profile of this regimen in these patients.
  • Determine the effects of this regimen on serum levels of vascular endothelial growth factor and correlate these effects with response in these patients.
  • Correlate the expression of cyclooxygenase-2 in tumor tissue and nonmalignant liver tissue with response in patients treated with this regimen.

OUTLINE: This is a dose-escalation study of epirubicin.

  • Phase I:Patients receive epirubicin IV over 20 minutes on day 1 and oral celecoxib twice daily on days 1-21. Courses repeat every 21 days in the absence of disease progression or unacceptable toxicity.

Cohorts of 3-5 patients receive escalating doses of epirubicin until the maximum tolerated dose (MTD) is determined. The MTD is defined as the dose preceding that at which at least 2 of 3 or 3 of 5 patients experience dose-limiting toxicity.

  • Phase II: Additional patients are accrued and treated as in phase I at the MTD of epirubicin.

Patients are followed every 3 months.

PROJECTED ACCRUAL: A total of 3-52 patients (3-15 for phase I and 12-37 for phase II) will be accrued for this study.


Ages Eligible for Study:   18 Years and older
Genders Eligible for Study:   Both
Accepts Healthy Volunteers:   No


  • Diagnosis of localized or metastatic hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) by 1 of the following:

    • Biopsy
    • Alpha-fetoprotein (AFP) measurement (greater than 400 ng/mL if hepatitis B surface antigen [HBsAg] is negative OR greater than 1,000 ng/mL if HBsAg is positive)
  • Not amenable to surgical resection or liver-directed therapy
  • Measurable or evaluable disease* NOTE: *Changes in AFP alone are not sufficient
  • Child-Pugh score A or B



  • 18 and over

Performance status

  • ECOG 0-2

Life expectancy

  • At least 12 weeks


  • Absolute neutrophil count at least 1,500/mm^3
  • Platelet count at least 75,000/mm^3


  • Bilirubin no greater than 3.0 mg/dL
  • AST no greater than 5 times upper limit of normal


  • Creatinine no greater than 2.0 mg/dL


  • LVEF greater than 45% by MUGA or echocardiogram


  • Not pregnant or nursing
  • Fertile patients must use effective contraception
  • No requirement for nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) except low-dose (81 mg) aspirin
  • No known hypersensitivity to aspirin or other NSAIDs
  • No contraindication to cyclooxygenase-2 (COX-2) inhibitor therapy


Biologic therapy

  • Not specified


  • Not specified

Endocrine therapy

  • Not specified


  • Not specified


  • Not specified


  • No prior therapy for HCC
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Please refer to this study by its ClinicalTrials.gov identifier: NCT00057980

United States, Illinois
Robert H. Lurie Comprehensive Cancer Center at Northwestern University
Chicago, Illinois, United States, 60611
Sponsors and Collaborators
Northwestern University
National Cancer Institute (NCI)
Study Chair: Mary Mulcahy, MD Robert H. Lurie Cancer Center
  More Information

Responsible Party: Northwestern University
ClinicalTrials.gov Identifier: NCT00057980     History of Changes
Other Study ID Numbers: NU 02I6  NU-02I6 
Study First Received: April 7, 2003
Last Updated: June 7, 2012
Health Authority: United States: Federal Government

Keywords provided by Northwestern University:
advanced adult primary liver cancer
localized unresectable adult primary liver cancer
adult primary hepatocellular carcinoma

Additional relevant MeSH terms:
Carcinoma, Hepatocellular
Liver Neoplasms
Digestive System Diseases
Digestive System Neoplasms
Liver Diseases
Neoplasms by Histologic Type
Neoplasms by Site
Neoplasms, Glandular and Epithelial
Analgesics, Non-Narcotic
Anti-Inflammatory Agents
Anti-Inflammatory Agents, Non-Steroidal
Antibiotics, Antineoplastic
Antineoplastic Agents
Antirheumatic Agents
Cyclooxygenase 2 Inhibitors
Cyclooxygenase Inhibitors
Enzyme Inhibitors
Molecular Mechanisms of Pharmacological Action
Peripheral Nervous System Agents
Physiological Effects of Drugs
Sensory System Agents
Topoisomerase II Inhibitors
Topoisomerase Inhibitors

ClinicalTrials.gov processed this record on May 26, 2016