Send to:

Choose Destination
See comment in PubMed Commons below
J Clin Oncol. 2001 Oct 15;19(20):4081-7.

Phase I clinical and pharmacogenetic trial of irinotecan and raltitrexed administered every 21 days to patients with cancer.

Author information

  • 1Developmental Therapeutics Program, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, USA.



Irinotecan and raltitrexed display schedule-dependent synergy in vitro, which supports the clinical investigation of the combination. Functional polymorphisms of the methylenetetrahydrofolate reductase (MTHFR) gene result in intracellular redistribution of folate derivatives, which may affect raltitrexed-associated cytotoxicity.


Patients with a range of solid cancers and good performance status received irinotecan as a 90-minute infusion on day 1 and raltitrexed as a 15-minute infusion on day 2, repeated every 21 days. Samples were collected for MTHFR C677T genotyping and fasting plasma homocysteine during the first cycle.


Thirty-nine assessable patients received 127 cycles of therapy. Irinotecan doses ranged from 100 to 350 mg/m(2), and raltitrexed, 1.0 to 4.0 mg/m(2). Raltitrexed doses of more than 3.0 mg/m(2) were not tolerated and were associated with dose-limiting asthenia, diarrhea, and AST/ALT elevation. Irinotecan/raltitrexed doses of 350/3.0 mg/m(2) were well-tolerated; principal toxicities included neutropenia, diarrhea, and fatigue. Two partial responses were observed in patients with pretreated gastroesophageal cancers. Homozygotes with the MTHFR 677 TT polymorphism incurred significantly less raltitrexed-associated toxicity than those with either wild-type or heterozygous genotypes (P = .05). No significant differences were noted in plasma homocysteine values between the genotypic subtypes, and plasma homocysteine levels did not predict the risk of toxicity.


Irinotecan and raltitrexed doses of 350 and 3.0 mg/m(2) are recommended for further study on a day 1, 2 schedule every 21 days. Efficacy results suggest that trials in upper and lower gastrointestinal malignancies are warranted. MTHFR C677T genotypes may be predictive of clinical raltitrexed toxicity.

Comment in

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
PubMed Commons home

PubMed Commons

How to join PubMed Commons

    Supplemental Content

    Full text links

    Icon for HighWire
    Loading ...
    Write to the Help Desk