Acetyl-Amantadine as a Biomarker in Patients With Glioblastoma

Study Purpose

Glioblastoma multiforme (GBM) is the most common brain tumor in adults. The strikingly poor survival for patients with GBM (average survival 14-16 months following diagnosis) is due in part to limited early detection methods and an absence of effective therapeutic options. The study proposed would establish important evidence for the use of Health Canada approved drugs such as amantadine as a safe, effective and affordable way to monitor GBM. The method is based on the overproduction of a key enzyme in GBM cells called spermine/ spermidine n-acetyl transferase (SSAT1). The increased SSAT1 expression in GBM results in increased metabolism of the drug which is detected in the blood or urine of patients with GBM. The levels of acetyl-amantadine captured will be correlated with the tumor burden as seen on the MRIs of these patients. Thus, the study aims to determine the usefulness of amantadine as a diagnostic biomarker for GBM.

Recruitment Criteria

Accepts Healthy Volunteers

Healthy volunteers are participants who do not have a disease or condition, or related conditions or symptoms

Study Type

An interventional clinical study is where participants are assigned to receive one or more interventions (or no intervention) so that researchers can evaluate the effects of the interventions on biomedical or health-related outcomes.

An observational clinical study is where participants identified as belonging to study groups are assessed for biomedical or health outcomes.

Searching Both is inclusive of interventional and observational studies.

Eligible Ages 18 Years and Over
Gender All
More Inclusion & Exclusion Criteria

Inclusion Criteria:

  • - Adult (18 years+) - Pathologically confirmed Glioblastoma.
  • - ECOG performance status 0-2.
  • - Planned treatment with radiation and/or chemotherapy with temozolomide or lomustine.
  • - Able to return to the study centre for study visits.
  • - Able to swallow oral pills.
  • - Serum creatinine and creatinine clearance (>60mL/min) - Liver enzymes for liver function (Liver function tests <2.5 times the upper limit of normal) - Participants of childbearing potential must agree to use an effective contraceptive method.

Exclusion Criteria:

  • - Known hypersensitivity or allergy to amantadine.
  • - Concurrent infection requiring antiviral medication.
  • - Concurrent medication with known interaction with amantadine (see below) - Previous diagnosis of Parkinson's disease or parkinsonism.
  • - Previous diagnosis of schizophrenia.
  • - Current use of methamphetamine or cocaine.
  • - Inability to swallow oral pills.
- Significant impairment in renal function (Creatinine clearance < 60 mL/min) - Women who are pregnant or are breastfeeding

Trial Details

Trial ID:

This trial id was obtained from, a service of the U.S. National Institutes of Health, providing information on publicly and privately supported clinical studies of human participants with locations in all 50 States and in 196 countries.


Phase 1: Studies that emphasize safety and how the drug is metabolized and excreted in humans.

Phase 2: Studies that gather preliminary data on effectiveness (whether the drug works in people who have a certain disease or condition) and additional safety data.

Phase 3: Studies that gather more information about safety and effectiveness by studying different populations and different dosages and by using the drug in combination with other drugs.

Phase 4: Studies occurring after FDA has approved a drug for marketing, efficacy, or optimal use.

Lead Sponsor

The sponsor is the organization or person who oversees the clinical study and is responsible for analyzing the study data.

CancerCare Manitoba
Principal Investigator

The person who is responsible for the scientific and technical direction of the entire clinical study.

Principal Investigator Affiliation N/A
Agency Class

Category of organization(s) involved as sponsor (and collaborator) supporting the trial.

Overall Status Recruiting
Countries Canada

The disease, disorder, syndrome, illness, or injury that is being studied.

Glioblastoma Multiforme
Additional Details

Glioblastoma (GBM) is the most common malignant primary brain tumor in adults, with a median age of onset of 55 to 60 years. Most patients are treated with postoperative radiation and chemotherapy following their initial surgery. For newly diagnosed, high grade gliomas, the first post-radiation cycle of temozolomide (an oral chemotherapy drug) typically begins four weeks after completion of radiation therapy1. During radiation, temozolomide or lomustine is given daily (seven days per week). Assessment of response and progression is made through brain magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) with contrast, which is typically obtained within one month after completion of radiation therapy and then every two months during adjuvant temozolomide to assess disease status1. With the available standard of care, the median overall survival of patients with glioblastoma remains very low

  • - approximately 10 to 12 months2.
The poor prognosis with GBM is a result of an absence of early detection and ineffective treatment options. The proposed exploratory pilot project attempts to addresses the problem of accurate tumor progression monitoring in GBM through the development of a drug biomarker that monitors spermidine/spermine N1-acetyltransferase (SSAT1) activity. SSAT1 is an important enzyme involved in polyamine regulation in the cell. As polyamines are essential for tumor proliferation, SSAT1 is over-expressed in many different cancers, as shown in a number of non-clinical trials3,4,5. These trials provide a rationale for our project: if SSAT1 is overexpressed in cancers including glioblastoma, then a substrate of SSAT1 could serve as a biomarker for determining the cellular activity of SSAT1. An effective substrate is amantadine, and following its acetylation by SSAT1, N-acetyl-amantadine levels excreted in the blood and urine samples of patients with glioblastoma could be used to indicate the presence of upregulation of SSAT1, and therefore, indicative of cancer. Recently published clinical trials involving investigators here at University of Manitoba and CancerCare Manitoba have reported a method for assessing tumor progression in lung and breast cancer patients based on acetyl- amantadine levels in blood and urine6,7,8. The assay is predicated on the selective acetylation of the drug amantadine by SSAT1. Published studies indicate increases in acetyl-amantadine in blood and urine from patients receiving a single oral dose of amantadine was predictive of tumor burden. Tappia reported that human cancer is associated with high urinary concentration of acetyl-amantadine with receiver-operating characteristic (ROC) for acetyl-amantadine demonstrated to be 0.689 (CI: 0.591-0.786, 95%) in lung cancer and 0.717 (CI: 0.577-0.858, 95%) for breast cancer. Given the use of acetyl-amantadine as an early biomarker for lung and breast cancer, the present study protocol examines the extent to which acetyl-amantadine levels in blood and urine can be used to detect glioblastoma progression, particularly tumor recurrence which happens in the majority of patients and is considered inevitable after a median survival time of 32
  • - 36 weeks1.
There are currently no studies that have attempted to determine the diagnostic value of acetyl-amantadine in glioblastoma patients, and therefore, this would be a pilot project. Under this protocol, patients diagnosed with glioblastoma (newly or recurrent) who are following the standard of care (surgical resection and radiation/chemotherapy) will be enrolled in the study. An initial assessment of the participant's baseline acetyl-amantadine levels in blood will be determined at the first visit. Thereafter, participants will be administered a standard 200 mg dose of the Health Canada approved drug amantadine at every visit in which MRI based imaging assessments are being performed (typically, every 8
  • - 12 weeks).
Blood and urine samples will be taken at each visit to assay for acetyl-amantadine levels. These resulting acetyl-amantadine levels will be correlated with MRI based image findings to determine the extent to which this biomarker can be used for treatment monitoring in glioblastoma patients. While the hypothesis is that acetyl-amantadine levels in blood or urine can be used to track tumor progression, an increase in acetyl-amantadine level would not indicate per se what type of tumor was present. For this reason, a metabolic profile on blood and urine samples collected from glioblastoma patients will be performed, to determine if there is a metabolic signature that can be established for glioblastoma.

Arms & Interventions


Experimental: GBM Patients

This cohort of patients will be asked to orally ingest 200mg dose of FDA approved drug amantadine hydrochloride. This will be done at the following timepoints: Within 4 weeks of the start of treatment; but as close to commencement of treatment (Day 1 of radiotherapy) as possible for newly diagnosed patients. Cycle 1, Day 1 of chemotherapy (temozolomide or lomustine) +/- 7 days Day 1 +/- 7 days for each visit where MRI is obtained (typically every 8-12 weeks - pre-cycles 4, 7, 10, for temozolomide or pre-cycles 3, 5, and 7 for lomustine)


Diagnostic Test: - Amantadine Hydrochloride

Patients who are eligible for the study will be administered a regular 200 mg dose of FDA approved drug amantadine. This will be done at the following timepoints: Within 4 weeks of the start of treatment; but as close to commencement of treatment (Day 1 of radiotherapy) as possible for newly diagnosed patients. Cycle 1, Day 1 of chemotherapy (temozolomide or lomustine) +/- 7 days Day 1 +/- 7 days for each visit where MRI is obtained (typically every 8-12 weeks - pre-cycles 4, 7, 10, for temozolomide or pre-cycles 3, 5, and 7 for lomustine)

Contact a Trial Team

If you are interested in learning more about this trial, find the trial site nearest to your location and contact the site coordinator via email or phone. We also strongly recommend that you consult with your healthcare provider about the trials that may interest you and refer to our terms of service below.

International Sites

CancerCare Manitoba, Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada




CancerCare Manitoba

Winnipeg, Manitoba, R3E 0V9

Site Contact

Gary Annable

[email protected]


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