Halofuginone Hydrobromide in Treating Patients With HIV-Related Kaposi's Sarcoma

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National Cancer Institute (NCI)

Status and phase

Phase 2


AIDS-related Kaposi Sarcoma
Recurrent Kaposi Sarcoma


Drug: halofuginone hydrobromide
Other: pharmacological study
Other: placebo
Other: laboratory biomarker analysis

Study type


Funder types



U01CA070019 (U.S. NIH Grant/Contract)

Details and patient eligibility


This phase II trial studies how well halofuginone hydrobromide works in treating patients with human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)-related Kaposi's sarcoma. Halofuginone hydrobromide ointment may stop the growth of Kaposi's sarcoma by stopping blood flow to the tumor.

Full description

PRIMARY OBJECTIVES: I. To determine the tumor response rate of acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS)-related Kaposi's sarcoma to topical halofuginone (halofuginone hydrobromide) versus vehicle control. II. To evaluate the safety and tolerability of topical halofuginone and vehicle in patients with AIDS-related Kaposi's sarcoma. SECONDARY OBJECTIVES: I. To determine the ability of topical halofuginone to inhibit expression of matrix metallopeptidase 2 (MMP-2) and Collagen type I in AIDS-related Kaposi's sarcoma. II. To explore the relationship between baseline cluster of differentiation (CD) 4 and CD8 counts, HIV viral load and human herpesvirus 8 (HHV-8) viral load and response to halofuginone. III. To characterize the pharmacokinetics of halofuginone. OUTLINE: Twelve treatable Kaposi's sarcoma lesions are selected on each patient, and these 12 lesions are randomized equally to 1 of 2 treatment arms (6 lesions receive study treatment and 6 lesions receive placebo); each patient serves as his/her own control. ARM I: Patients apply topical halofuginone hydrobromide ointment to each of 6 lesions twice a day for 12 weeks. ARM II: Patients apply topical placebo ointment to each of 6 lesions twice a day for 12 weeks. Patients with stable or responding disease in either or both groups of treated lesions (halofuginone hydrobromide ointment or placebo ointment) may receive open-label treatment with topical halofuginone hydrobromide ointment to all 12 lesions for an additional 12 weeks as above in the absence of disease progression or unacceptable toxicity. Patients are followed for at least 1 month.


30 patients




16+ years old


No Healthy Volunteers

Inclusion criteria

  • Biopsy-proven Kaposi's sarcoma with at least 14 cutaneous lesions, 12 of which are measurable in two dimensions and can serve as marker lesions; each of the 14 lesions must measure a minimum of 0.5 cm in diameter, so that a 4 mm punch biopsy will be entirely composed of Kaposi's sarcoma
  • Serologic documentation of HIV infection by any of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved tests
  • Karnofsky performance status >= 60%
  • Hemoglobin >= 8 g/dl
  • Absolute neutrophil count >= 750 cells/mm^3
  • Platelet count >= 75,000/mm^3
  • Creatinine < 1.5 times the upper limit of normal or creatinine clearance >= 60 mL/min
  • Total bilirubin should be =< 1.5 x upper limit of normal (ULN); if, however, the elevated bilirubin is felt to be secondary to indinavir therapy, patients will be allowed to enroll on protocol if the total bilirubin is =< 3.5 mg/dl provided that the direct bilirubin is normal
  • Aspartate aminotransferase (AST) (serum glutamic oxaloacetic transaminase [SGOT]) and alanine aminotransferase (ALT) (serum glutamate pyruvate transaminase [SGPT]) =< 3 x the upper limit of normal
  • Life expectancy >= 3 months
  • Ability and willingness to give informed consent; patients who are younger than 18 years of age will require the consent of a parent or guardian.
  • All women of childbearing potential must have a negative serum b human chorionic gonadotropin (HCG) within 72 hours prior to study entry and must practice adequate birth control to prevent pregnancy while receiving treatment and for three months after treatment is discontinued
  • Patients must, in the opinion of the investigator, be capable of complying with the protocol
  • Patients receiving antiretroviral therapy must be on a stable regimen for at least 12 weeks prior to study entry without showing evidence of ongoing Kaposi's sarcoma (KS) regression (ie, less than 25% decrease in the size, number or nodularity of KS lesions in the opinion of the investigator); patients may receive any FDA approved antiretroviral therapy or agents available through a treatment IND; concurrent treatment with highly active antiretroviral therapy should be strongly encouraged, in accordance with DHHS guidelines (http://www.aids-ed.org/pdfs/adult_2-4-02.pdf) but will not be required for participation

Exclusion criteria

  • Concurrent, acute, active, untreated opportunistic infection other than oral thrush or genital herpes within 14 days of enrollment
  • Known active visceral Kaposi's sarcoma or symptomatic Kaposi's sarcoma-related edema that interferes with function or requires cytotoxic therapy
  • Concurrent neoplasia requiring cytotoxic therapy
  • Acute treatment for an infection (other than oral thrush or genital herpes) or other serious medical illness within 14 days of study entry
  • Anti-neoplastic treatment for Kaposi's sarcoma (including chemotherapy, radiation therapy, local therapy, biological therapy, or investigational therapy) within four weeks of study entry
  • Previous local therapy of any KS-indicator lesion within 60 days unless the lesion has clearly progressed since treatment
  • Corticosteroid treatment, other than replacement doses
  • Use of investigational agents other than antiretroviral drugs available under expanded access or compassionate use protocols
  • Pregnant or breast feeding females are excluded from participation in this study since the effects of halofuginone on an unborn or young child are unknown and may potentially be toxic

Trial design

Primary purpose




Interventional model

Parallel Assignment


Double Blind

30 participants in 2 patient groups, including a placebo group

Arm I (halofuginone hydrobromide)
Experimental group
Patients apply topical halofuginone hydrobromide ointment to each of 6 lesions twice a day for 12 weeks.
Other: laboratory biomarker analysis
Other: pharmacological study
Drug: halofuginone hydrobromide
Arm II (placebo)
Placebo Comparator group
Patients apply topical placebo ointment to each of 6 lesions twice a day for 12 weeks.
Other: laboratory biomarker analysis
Other: placebo
Other: pharmacological study

Trial contacts and locations



Data sourced from clinicaltrials.gov

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