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Odwyer PJ , Lacreta FP , Haas NB , Halbherr T , Frucht H , Goosenberg E , Yao KS
Clinical, Pharmacokinetic and Biological Studies of Topotecan
Cancer Chemotherapy and Pharmacology. 1994 Aug;34 :S46-S52
PMID: ISI:A1994PD82500008   
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The topoisomerase I inhibtor topotecan is a potent water- soluble camptothecin derivative with activity in a wide variety of preclinical models. Topotecan exhibits schedule dependency in vivo, with the greatest activity being observed on repeated dose schedules. On the basis of the initial clinical studies that showed a short plasma half-life, we attempted to prolong drug exposure by giving topotecan as a 24-h infusion weekly. In a phase I trial, we treated 32 patients at doses ranging from 1.0 to 2.0 mg/m(2). The patient population had not been heavily pretreated with chemotherapy and was of good performance status. The incidence of neutropenia, which was dose-limiting, increased sharply with relatively small increments in dose. Doses greater than 1.5 mg/m(2) were associated with nadirs that developed after one to three weekly treatments. A patient with metastatic colorectal cancer had a prolonged partial response. The plasma pharmacokinetics of topotecan (lactone and open forms) was characterized in 21 patients. Mean plasma steady- state drug levels were proportional to the dose and were within the range required to exert cytotoxicity in preclinical models. Plasma elimination curves were fit to a one-compartment model, in which the harmonic mean half-life of topotecan was 3.5 h. The ratio of the lactone to the total drug concentrations was constant throughout, which suggests that for this schedule the total drug concentration may be used as a measure of active lactone exposure. This conclusion is supported by the pharmacodynamic analysis, which revealed a positive correlation of both lactone and total drug steady-state concentrations with bone marrow toxicity. The further investigation of this and other infusional schedules in phase II trials will be conducted. The steady-state concentrations of total drug will be measured in several of these trials to establish its potential role in adaptive dosing using this schedule. Such a strategy is justified by the interpatient variability in toxicity and the steep dose-response curve observed in this study. Preliminary evidence of interpatient variability in the mRNA expression of topoisomerase I in the peripheral mononuclear cells and colon mucosa is presented. Trials are under way using biological endpoints for further selection of patients in whom the use of topoisomerase inhibitors may be therapeutically beneficial.