Topotecan is a specific inhibitor of topoisomerase I. An oral formulation of topotecan is available with a bioavailability of 32-44% in humans. A phase I and pharmacological study of the oral formulation of topotecan administered daily for 5 days every 21 days was performed in adult patients with solid tumours to determine the maximum tolerated dose (MTD). Adult patients with a WHO performance status ≤2 adequate haematological, hepatic and renal functions, with malignant solid tumours refractory to standard forms were entered into the study. Pharmacokinetics were performed on days 1 and 4 of the first course using a validated high performance liquid chromatographic assay. 29 patients entered the study, all patients were evaluable for toxicity and response. The doses studied in the 29 patients were 1.2, 1.8, 2.3, 2.7 mg/m2/day and a fixed dose of 4 mg/day without surface area adjustment. A total of 109 courses were given. Dose limiting toxicity (DLT) was reached at a dose of 2.7 mg/m2/day and consisted of CTC (NCI-Common Toxicity Criteria) grade IV granulocytopenia. The regimen was well tolerated. Non-haematological toxicities were mild, including fatigue, anorexia, nausea, vomiting and diarrhoea. A significant correlation was observed between the percentage decrease in white blood cells versus the area under the curve (AUC(t)) of topotecan lactone (R0.76 P<0.01) which was modelled by a sigmoidal E(max) function. The correlation coefficient between the absolute topotecan dose administered and the AUC(t) was R = 0.52 (P = 0.04). Pharmacokinetics of the fixed dose of 4 mg/day were comparable to the 2.3 mg/m2/day dose. DLT in this phase I study of five daily doses of oral topotecan every 21 days was granulocytopenia. The recommended dose for phase II studies is 2.3 mg/m2/day or alternatively, a fixed dose of 4 mg/day.

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Keywords Pharmacokinetics, Phase I, Topoisomerase I, Topotecan
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Journal European Journal of Cancer
Gerrits, C.J.H, Burris, H.A, Schellens, J.H.M, Planting, A.S.Th, van der Burg, M, Rodriguez, G.I, … Von Hoff, D.D. (1998). Five days of oral topotecan (Hycamtin®), a phase I and pharmacological study in adult patients with solid tumours. European Journal of Cancer, 34(7), 1030–1035. doi:10.1016/S0959-8049(97)10173-3