RATIONALE: Drugs used in chemotherapy use different ways to stop tumor cells from dividing
so they stop growing or die. Combining methotrexate with vinblastine may be effective
treatment for neurofibromatosis type 1 associated with progressive plexiform neurofibromas.
PURPOSE: Phase II trial to study the effectiveness of combination chemotherapy in treating
patients who have neurofibromatosis type 1 associated with progressive plexiform
- Determine the effect of chronic vinblastine and methotrexate on time to disease
progression in children or young adults with progressive plexiform neurofibroma
associated with neurofibromatosis type 1.
- Determine the objective response rate in patients treated with this regimen.
- Determine the toxic effects of this regimen in these patients.
- Determine the quality of life of patients treated with this regimen.
OUTLINE: Patients are stratified according to tumor status (severely debilitating and/or
life-threatening vs cosmetically disfiguring).
Patients receive methotrexate and vinblastine IV weekly for 26 weeks and then every 2 weeks
for 26 weeks in the absence of disease progression or unacceptable toxicity.
Quality of life is assessed at baseline and then every 3 months during study participation.
Patients are followed every 3 months until disease progression.
PROJECTED ACCRUAL: A total of 35 patients will be accrued for this study within
approximately 3 years.
1. Progressive, debilitating, severely disfiguring or life-threatening plexiform
neurofibroma (PN) which is not surgically resectable and for which there is no other
standard medical management. Histologic confirmation of tumor is not required in the
presence of consistent clinical and radiographic findings. However, if any clinical
observation or scan suggests possible malignant transformation, the tumor must be
biopsied prior to therapy. In addition to PN, all study subjects must have at least
one other diagnostic criteria for Neurofibromatosis type 1 (NF1) listed below:
- 6 or more café-au-lait spots > 0.5 cm in prepubertal subjects or > 1.5 cm in
- freckling in the axilla or groin
- optic glioma
- 2 or more lisch nodules
- a distinctive bony lesion (dysplasia of the sphenoid bone or dysplasia or
thinning of long bone cortex)
- a first degree relative with NF1
2. Adequate bone marrow, renal, hepatic function:
- Absolute Neutrophil Count (ANC)> 1000 and platelet count >100,000 prior to
initiation of therapy
- must have normal renal function: Blood Urea Nitrogen (BUN)/Creatinine <1.5x
normal for age), alkaline phosphatase (ALP), albumin, total protein and
- must have normal liver function: Bilirubin, alanine transaminase (ALT),
aspartate aminotransferase (AST) < 1.5x normal for age
3. Patients must have measurable PN by direct physical examination (documented by
clinical measurement of tumor and serial photography) or by imaging studies. Most
patients will have tumors that can be measured by magnetic resonance imaging (MRI),
however, some patients may have cosmetically disfiguring PN which would be best
measured clinically and with serial photography throughout treatment and follow-up. A
measurable lesion is one whose size can be quantified in at least 2 dimensions. There
must be evidence of recurrent or progressive disease as documented by an increase in
size or the presence of new lesions on MRI. Progression is defined as the appearance
of new tumors or a measurable increase in the sum of the product of the two longest
perpendicular diameters of the index lesion(s) over a time period < 12 months prior
to evaluation for this study. For purposes of this study, index PN lesions will be
those PNs evaluated as the most life-threatening, debilitating, cosmetically
disfiguring, and/or most easily measured.
4. Prior therapy: Patients with NF1 are eligible at the time of recurrence or
progression of inoperable PN. A surgical consultation should be obtained prior to
enrollment on the study to evaluate if tumor resection is a feasible option. Patients
will only be eligible if complete tumor resection is not feasible or if a patient
with a surgical option refuses surgery. Since there is no standard effective
chemotherapy for patients with NF1 and progressive PN, patients may be treated on
this trial without having received prior therapy. Patients must have recovered from
the toxic effects of all prior therapy before entering this study. The Cancer Therapy
Evaluation Program Common Toxicity Criteria (CTC) Version 2.0 will be used for
toxicity assessment. Recovery is defined as a toxicity grade < 2, unless otherwise
specified in the Inclusion and Exclusion Criteria. Patients must have had their last
dose of radiation therapy at least 6 weeks prior to study entry, and their last dose
of chemotherapy at least four weeks prior to study entry. Patients who received
granulocyte-colony stimulating factor (G-CSF) after the prior cycle of chemotherapy
must be off G-CSF for at least one week prior to entering this study.
5. Performance status: Patients should have a life expectancy of at least 12 months and
a Lansky or Karnofsky performance score of > 60. Patients who are wheelchair bound
because of paralysis should be considered "ambulatory" when they are mobile and
active in their wheelchairs rather than actually ambulatory.
6. A Pregnancy test must be negative for females of childbearing age.
7. Informed consent: All patients or their legal guardians (if the patient is less than
18 years old) must sign an approved document of informed consent indicating their
understanding of the investigational nature and the risks of this study before
beginning therapy. When appropriate pediatric patients will be included in all
discussion in order to obtain verbal assent.
1. Pregnant females are excluded
2. Patient has had treatment with an investigational agent within the past 30 days.
3. Ongoing radiation therapy, chemotherapy, hormonal therapy directed at the tumor or
4. Inability to return for follow-up visits or obtain follow-up studies required to
assess toxicity and response to therapy.