Chloroquine as an Anti-Autophagy Drug in Stage IV Small Cell Lung Cancer (SCLC) Patients (Chloroquine IV)


Maastricht Radiation Oncology

Status and phase

Phase 1


Small Cell Lung Cancer


Drug: Chloroquine, A-CQ 100

Study type


Funder types



Chloroquine IV

Details and patient eligibility


Chloroquine might very well be able to increase overall survival in small cell lung cancer by sensitizing cells resistant to chemotherapy and radiotherapy.

Full description

Tumor hypoxia is a well-known factor negatively influencing outcome in many solid tumors, including small cell lung cancer. Hypoxic cells are more radio-resistant, more chemo-resistant and more prone to develop distant metastases than normoxic cells. One of the mechanisms responsible for survival of these therapy-resistant hypoxic cells is (macro-)autophagy: a phenomenon in which cells provide themselves with energy (ATP) by digesting their own cell-organelles. Chloroquine is a potent blocker of autophagy and has been demonstrated in a lab setting to dramatically enhance tumor response to radiotherapy, chemotherapy and even anti-hormonal therapy. Thus, chloroquine might very well be able to increase overall survival in small cell lung cancer by sensitizing cells resistant to chemotherapy and radiotherapy.


5 patients




18 to 100 years old


No Healthy Volunteers

Inclusion criteria

  • Histologically or cytologically confirmed ''extensive disease'' (Stage T0-4 N0-3 M1) small cell lung cancer
  • At least one measurable disease site, defined as lesion of ≥ 1 cm unidimensionally on CT-scan.
  • WHO performance status 0-2
  • Absolute neutrophil count at least 1800/µl and platelets at least 100000/µl and hemoglobin at least 6.2 mmol/l.
  • Calculated creatinine clearance at least 60 ml/min
  • Adequate hepatic function: Total bilirubin ≤ 1.5 x upper limit of normal (ULN) for the institution; ALT, AST, and alkaline phosphatase ≤ 2.5 x ULN for the institution (in case of liver metastases ≤ 5 x ULN for the institution)
  • No previous platinum chemotherapy or topo-isomerase-inhibitors for SCLC.
  • Life expectancy more than 6 months
  • Willing and able to comply with the study prescriptions
  • 18 years or older
  • Not pregnant or breast feeding and willing to take adequate contraceptive measures during the study
  • Ability to give and having given written informed consent before patient registration
  • No mixed pathology, e.g. non-small cell plus small cell cancer
  • No recent (< 3 months) severe cardiac disease (NYHA class >1) (congestive heart failure, infarction)
  • No history of cardiac arrythmia (multifocal premature ventricular contractions, uncontrolled atrial fibrillation, bigeminy, trigeminy, ventricular tachycardia) which is symptomatic and requiring treatment (CTC AE 4.0), or asymptomatic sustained ventricular tachycardia. Asymptomatic atrial fibrillation controlled on medication is allowed.

No cardiac conduction disturbances or medication potentially causing them:

  • QTc interval prolongation with other medications that required discontinuation of the treatment
  • Congenital long QT-syndrome or unexplained sudden death of first degree relative under 40 years of age
  • QTc interval > 480 msec (note: when this is the case on screening ECG, the ECG may be repeated twice. If the average QT-interval of these 3 measurements remains below 480 msec, patient is eligible)
  • Patients on medication potentially prolongating the QT-interval are excluded if the QT-interval is > 460 msec (Appendix, table 2).
  • Medication that might cause QT-prolongation or Torsades de pointes tachycardia is not allowed (Appendix, Table 1). Drugs with a risk of prolongating the QT-interval that cannot be discontinued are allowed, however, under close monitoring by the treating physician (Appendix, table 2).
  • No uncontrolled infectious disease
  • No other active malignancy
  • No major surgery (excluding diagnostic procedures like e.g., mediastinoscopy) in previous 4 weeks
  • No treatment with investigational drugs in 4 weeks prior to or during this study
  • No chronic systemic immune therapy
  • No known G6PD deficiency

Exclusion criteria

The opposite of the above

Trial design

Primary purpose




Interventional model

Single Group Assignment


None (Open label)

5 participants in 1 patient group

Active Comparator group
Patients receive Chloroquine
Drug: Chloroquine, A-CQ 100

Trial contacts and locations



Data sourced from

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