The purpose of this study is to study the effect of an anticancer drug, Arsenic Trioxide, in
patients with small cell lung cancer who have failed at least one standard chemotherapy
regimen as well as patients who are unable to tolerate the standard treatment for their
cancer. The investigators seek to establish the safety of and efficacy of Arsenic Trioxide
in this patient group. The study will include up to 36 participants with small cell lung
The investigators want to find out what effects, good or bad, that the study drug has on
your cancer. This study will also look at specific biomarkers in your blood and in the tumor
tissue which may help the investigators to determine if the levels of these biomarkers are
related to tumor response to treatment.
Arsenic Trioxide, also known by the brand name, Trisenox, is a chemotherapy drug approved by
the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for the treatment of a specific type of blood cancer
called Acute Promyelocytic Leukemia. It works in part by making cancer cells become more
mature thereby stopping them from growing in number and more likely to die off.
Minimum age: 18 Years.
Maximum age: N/A.
- Patients must have histologically or cytologically confirmed small cell lung cancer
- Patients must have measurable disease, defined as at least one lesion that can be
accurately measured in at least one dimension (longest diameter to be recorded for
non-nodal lesions and short axis for nodal lesions) as >20 mm with conventional
techniques or as > 10 mm with spiral CT scan.
- Patient must have failed or found to be intolerant of standard frontline
platinum-based regimens. There is no limit on the number of prior regimens provided
the patient meets all the other eligibility criteria.
- Adult patients 18 years or older. Because no dosing or adverse event data are
currently available on the use of arsenic trioxide in patients < 18 years of age,
children are excluded from this study but will be eligible for future pediatric
single-agent trials, if applicable.
- Life expectancy of greater than 3 months
- Eastern Cooperative Oncology Group (ECOG) performance status of 0,1 or 2
- Patients must have normal organ and marrow function as defined below:
- absolute neutrophil count > 1,500/mL
- platelets > 100,000/mL
- total bilirubin ≤ 1. 5 X institutional upper limits of normal
- aspartate aminotransferase (AST)/alanine aminotransferase (ALT) < 2. 5 X
institutional upper limit of normal
- creatinine ≤ 1. 5 X institutional upper limits of normal OR
- creatinine clearance > 40 mL/min/1. 73 m² for patients with
- creatinine levels above institutional normal.
- Negative serum pregnancy test within 48 hours before starting study treatment in
women with childbearing potential
- Ability to understand and the willingness to sign a written informed consent
- No history of QTc prolongation syndrome or any other cardiac conduction abnormality
evidenced by normal baseline EKG (QTc ≤ 450 in males and ≤ 470 in females)
- Both men and women and members of all races and ethnic groups are eligible for this
- Need for treatment with chemotherapy (within 4 weeks; 6 weeks for nitrosoureas or
mitomycin C); radiotherapy or biologic agents (within 2 weeks) prior to entering the
study or those who have not recovered from adverse events due to agents administered
more than 4 weeks earlier.
- Patients may not be receiving any other investigational agents.
- Patients with uncontrolled symptomatic brain metastases. Patients with no known brain
metastasis are not required to undergo screening prior to enrolment.
- History of allergic reactions attributed to compounds of similar chemical or biologic
composition to arsenic trioxide.
- Uncontrolled intercurrent illness including, but not limited to, ongoing or active
infection, symptomatic congestive heart failure, unstable angina pectoris, cardiac
arrhythmia, or psychiatric illness/social situations that would limit compliance with
- Pregnant women are excluded from this study because Trisenox is a category D agent
with the potential to cause fetal harm. Because there is an unknown but potential
risk for adverse events in nursing infants secondary to treatment of the mother with
Trisenox, breastfeeding should be discontinued if the mother is treated with
- HIV-positive patients on combination antiretroviral therapy are ineligible because of
the potential for pharmacokinetic interactions with Trisenox. In addition, these
patients are at increased risk of lethal infections when treated with
marrow-suppressive therapy. Appropriate studies will be undertaken in patients
receiving combination antiretroviral therapy when indicated.
- Patients who require ongoing treatment with any hematopoietic colony-stimulating
growth factors (e. g., granulocyte-colony stimulating factor [G-CSF],
granulocyte-macrophage colony-stimulating factor [GM-CSF]) ≤ 2 weeks prior to
starting study drug.
- Patients who are currently receiving treatment with medication that has the potential
to prolong the QT interval or inducing Torsades de Pointes and the treatment cannot
either be discontinued or switched to a different medication prior to starting study
- Patients who have undergone major surgery ≤ 2 weeks prior to starting study drug or
who have not recovered from side effects of such therapy
- History of another malignancy within 3 years, except curatively treated basal cell
carcinoma of the skin, ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS), early stage prostate cancer
without detectable prostate-specific antigen (PSA) or excised carcinoma in situ of
- Patient is unable or unwilling to abide by the study protocol