Neuro-pharmacological Properties of Repurposed Posaconazole in Glioblastoma: A Phase 0 Clinical Trial

  • End date
    May 11, 2023
  • participants needed
  • sponsor
    Milton S. Hershey Medical Center
Updated on 4 October 2022
tumor cells
brain tumor


This research is being done to find out if the study drug (posaconazole) can enter brain tumors at a high enough amount to stop the tumor cells from dividing. Posaconazole is a drug which doctors already use for fungal infections and is thought to be able to effect tumor cells. As treatments for this type of brain tumor are limited, it is hoped that the results of this study will help to determine if the study drug should be studied further as a possible treatment.


Both ketoconazole and posaconazole are FDA-approved anti-fungal agents with a well-established side effect and safety profile. Ketoconazole and posaconazole have shown efficacy in reducing tumor cell proliferation in in-vitro studies. Furthermore, both have also shown efficacy, mediated at least in part through inhibition of HK2 activity, in animal models with dosing concentration and schedules that are documented as safe in humans. As a drug, posaconazole has a more predictable half-life than ketoconazole and has less off-target effects. Therefore, the proposed trial will focus on the role of posaconazole exclusively. As a first step, demonstration of adequate penetrance of study drug in brain and tumor tissue (pharmacokinetics) and biological effect (inhibition of glycolysis and subsequent tumor cell death) is necessary prior to large scale clinical studies. A total of 5 control participants will be included in this study as the investigator specifically wants to assess for pharmacodynamic differences too. The addition of a control group to this study rather to both the studies (ketoconazole study is a separate protocol) is because the investigator feels posaconazole may be a more promising drug for moving forward.

Plasma drug concentration measurements are an unreliable method to assess delivery of drugs across the blood-brain barrier. In contrast, intracerebral MDC monitoring allows for approximate measurements within extracellular fluid (ECF) sampling of the brain. MDC placement within the brain is not a novel technique and has been utilized routinely in the ICU setting to measure brain metabolism by sampling of ECF of traumatic brain injury patients [59-61].

MDC are now FDA-approved and are being placed routinely with intracranial pressure monitors. This method allows for continuous measurement of ECF within a tumor or normal tissue. The dialysis probe has a semipermeable membrane which is less than 1 mm in diameter into which two sections of microcatheter are fused. Previous studies have demonstrated the feasibility of keeping the catheters in place of critically injured patients for up to 2 weeks [62-64].

When placed at the time of surgical resection, the microcatheters are stereotactically implanted, placing the probe within the desired brain and/or tumor region. Externally, the catheter is connected to a syringe pump, which delivers a low flow rate (μl/min) of continuous perfusion fluid (Lactated Ringers or artificial CSF) and dialysate is collected in a microvial from the outlet tube. This sterile, single use catheter is minimally invasive and developed to achieve optimal diffusing characteristics similar to passive diffusion of a capillary blood vessel. Just as in the function of brain capillary vessel, water, inorganic ions and small organic molecules freely diffuse across the membrane of the probe, whereas proteins and protein bound compounds are impermeable. Additionally, lipophilic compounds are poorly recovered. Therefore, assessment of pharmacokinetics of drug using MDC provides valuable insight relevant to its anti-neoplastic properties.

Condition Glioblastoma, Glioblastoma Multiforme, Glioblastoma Multiforme of Brain, Glioblastoma Multiforme, Adult
Treatment Posaconazole Pill
Clinical Study IdentifierNCT04825275
SponsorMilton S. Hershey Medical Center
Last Modified on4 October 2022


Yes No Not Sure

Inclusion Criteria

Age ≥18 years
Evidence of primary or recurrent HGG that in the opinion of the treating team would require surgical resection
Karnofsky Performance Score (KPS) ≥ 60%
ECOG ≤ 2
Life expectancy greater than 12 weeks
Adequate liver function defined as ALT, AST, ALP within 1.5x institutional upper limit of normal (for study drug arm only)
Ability to swallow medication (for study drug arm only)
Women of child-bearing potential and men must agree to use adequate contraception (hormonal or barrier method of birth control; abstinence) for the duration of study participation (for study drug arm only)
Ability to understand and willingness to sign a written informed consent document
Be able to comply with treatment plan, study procedures and follow-up examinations

Exclusion Criteria

Patients may not be receiving any other investigational agents while on study
Patients who have known allergy to posaconazole or other azoles (for study drug arm only)
Patients who have previously had a severe side effect, such as agranulocytosis and neutropenia, in conjunction with previous azole class drugs for a parasitic infection (for study drug arm only)
Patients with a history of acute or chronic hepatitis (for study drug arm only)
Patients with liver enzymes (ALT, AST, ALP) >1.5x above normal range for the laboratory performing the test (for study drug arm only)
Patients who are taking metronidazole and cannot be safely moved to a different antibiotic greater than 7 days prior to starting posaconazole therapy (for study drug arm only)
Patients who are taking any anti-convulsant medication that interferes with the cytochrome P450 pathway (e.g. phenytoin, phenobarbital, carbamazepine, etc.) and who cannot be switched to alternative medications such as keppra (levetiracetam) (for study drug arm only)
Uncontrolled intercurrent illness such as chronic hepatitis, acute hepatitis, or psychiatric illness/social situation that would limit compliance with study requirements (for study drug arm only)
Patients with a history of Addison's disease or other forms of adrenal insufficiency (for study drug arm only)
Patient with little or no stomach acid production (achlorhydria) (for study drug arm only)
Pregnant and breast feeding women)
Patients with a history of any medical or psychiatric condition or laboratory abnormality that in the opinion of the investigator may increase the risks associated with the study participation or investigational product administration or may interfere with the interpretation of the results
Patients who are not available for follow-up assessments or unable to comply with study requirements
Patients who are currently taking medications that induce the metabolism of posaconazole, such as isoniazid, nevirapine, rifamycins (such as rifabutin, rifampin), or St. John's wort and cannot be safely discontinued off of them for the duration of the trial (for study drug arm only)
Patients who are currently taking medications for which the metabolism may be affected by posaconazole, which include but are not limited to: benzodiazepines (such as alprazolam, midazolam, triazolam), domperidone, eletriptan, eplerenone, ergot drugs (such asergotamine), nisoldipine, drugs used to treat erectile dysfunction-ED or pulmonary hypertension (such as sildenafil, tadalafil), some drugs used to treat seizures (such as carbamazepine, phenytoin), some statin drugs (such as atorvastatin, lovastatin, simvastatin) (for study drug arm only)
Patients who are non-English speakers
Patients who are not capable of understanding the consent form and would need a legally authorized representative
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