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Sunday 15 July 2001

A phase I trial of topotecan and gemcitabine administered weekly for 3 consecutive weeks to patients with advanced tumors.

By: Sun W, Stevenson JP, Gallagher M, Giantonio B, Algazy K, Haller D, Vaughn D, Raskay BJ, O'Dwyer PJ.

Cancer 2001 Jul 15;92(2):414-9

BACKGROUND: The complementary action of gemcitabine and topotecan on DNA metabolism suggested the potential for their use in combination chemotherapy. Gemcitabine, a synthetic cytidine analogue chain terminator, and topotecan, a topoisomerase-1 inhibitor, have been reported to have broad antitumor activity and are approved for clinical use. METHODS: The cytotoxicity of the combination in various models in vitro was additive. In the current study, the authors conducted a Phase I study to determine the recommended Phase II doses and toxicity profile of gemcitabine and topotecan when administered weekly in combination. Gemcitabine (400--1000 mg/m(2)) was given intravenously over 30 minutes followed by a 15-minute infusion of topotecan (0.75--2.5 mg/m(2)) weekly for 3 consecutive weeks in a 4-week treatment cycle. Thirty-eight patients with advanced refractory solid tumors and good performance status were treated. RESULTS: Myelosuppression in the form of granulocytopenia and thrombocytopenia were the major dose-limiting toxicities. Other toxic effects included anemia, nausea, and elevated hepatic transaminases. Partial responses were observed in two patients (one with nonsmall cell lung carcinoma and one with pancreatic carcinoma). Disease stabilization occurred in five patients (three with pancreatic carcinoma, one with rectal carcinoma, and one with metastatic carcinoma of an unknown primary site). Gemcitabine, 1000 mg/m(2), and topotecan, 2.5 mg/m(2), were the maximum tolerated doses for this combination. CONCLUSIONS: The results of the current study showed that the combination of weekly gemcitabine and topotecan for 3 weeks in a 4-week cycle schedule appeared to be well tolerated and was associated with clinical activity. Therefore, this combination is recommended for a further Phase II evaluation. Copyright 2001 American Cancer Society.

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