Intravenous and oral etoposide (VP 16-213) were tested in two sequential phase II trials in chemotherapy-naive patients with malignant pleural mesothelioma. In the first trial, etoposide was given intravenously (i.v.) at a dose of 150 mg/m2 on days 1, 3 and 5 every 3 weeks. The second trial investigated a daily oral dose of 100 mg for 21 days followed by a 2-week treatment-free period, and then recycling. In both trials, the treatment was given until disease progression, intolerable toxicity or patient refusal. In the i.v. trial, 49 patients were included, 2 patients were ineligible. The oral trial recruited 45 patients, 4 patients were not eligible. In both trials, the main side-effects were moderate leucopenia, alopecia, nausea and vomiting. Two partial responses (4%) and three partial responses (7%) were reported in the i.v. and oral trials, respectively. The median survival was 29 weeks and 38 weeks in the i.v. and oral trials, respectively. In conclusion, further investigation of etoposide in malignant mesothelioma is not recommended.

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European Journal of Cancer
Department of Medical Oncology

Sahmoud, T., Postmus, D., van Pottelsberghe, C., Mattson, J., Tammilehto, L., Splinter, T., … Giaccone, G. (1997). Etoposide in malignant pleural mesothelioma: Two phase II trials of the EORTC lung cancer cooperative group. European Journal of Cancer, 33(13), 2211–2215. doi:10.1016/S0959-8049(97)00183-4