Disulfiram, a generic alcohol aversion drug, has promising preclinical activity against glioblastoma (GBM). This phase I study aims to evaluate its safety, maximum tolerated dose (MTD), pharmacodynamic effect, and preliminary efficacy when combined with adjuvant temozolomide in GBM patients after standard chemoradiotherapy. Patients received disulfiram 500–1000 mg once daily, in combination with 150–200 mg/m2 temozolomide. A modified 3 + 3 dose-escalation design was used to determine the MTD. The pharmacodynamic effect of proteasome inhibition was assessed using fluorometric 20S proteasome assay on peripheral blood cells. The MTD was determined based on the dose-limiting toxicities (DLTs) within the first month of therapy. Twelve patients were enrolled to two dose levels: 500 and 1000 mg. Two DLTs of grade 3 delirium occurred after 15 days of administration at 1000 mg per day. Other possible grade 2–3 DSF-related toxicities included fatigue, ataxia, dizziness, and peripheral neuropathy. The toxicities were self-limiting or resolved after discontinuing DSF. The MTD was determined to be 500 mg per day. Limited proteasome inhibition was observed at week 4 and showed an increased trend with escalated disulfiram. Median progression-free survival with 500 mg of DSF was 5.4 months from the start of disulfiram and 8.1 months from the start of chemoradiotherapy. Disulfiram can be safely combined with temozolomide but can cause reversible neurological toxicities. The MTD of disulfiram with adjuvant temozolomide appears to produce limited proteasome inhibition on peripheral blood cells.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)259-266
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Neuro-Oncology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jun 1 2016


  • Disulfiram
  • Glioblastoma
  • Phase I clinical trial
  • Proteasome inhibition
  • Temozolomide


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