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J Clin Oncol. 1999 Feb;17(2):685-96.

Phase I and pharmacokinetic trial of oral irinotecan administered daily for 5 days every 3 weeks in patients with solid tumors.

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University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio, USA.



We conducted a phase I dose-escalation trial of orally administered irinotecan (CPT-11) to characterize the maximum-tolerated dose (MTD), dose-limiting toxicities (DLTs), pharmacokinetic profile, and antitumor effects in patients with refractory malignancies.


CPT-11 solution for intravenous (IV) use was mixed with CranGrape juice (Ocean Spray, Lakeville-Middleboro, MA) and administered orally once per day for 5 days every 3 weeks to 28 patients. Starting dosages ranged from 20 to 100 mg/m2/d.


Grade 4 delayed diarrhea was the DLT at the 80 mg/m2/d dosage in patients younger than 65 years of age and at the 66 mg/m2/d dosage in patients 65 or older. The other most clinically significant toxicity of oral CPT-11 was neutropenia. A linear relationship was found between dose, peak plasma concentration, and area under the concentration-time curve (AUC) for both CPT-11 and SN-38 lactone, implying no saturation in the conversion of irinotecan to SN-38. The mean metabolic ratio ([AUC(SN-38 total) + AUC(SN-38G total)]/AUC(CPT-11 total)) was 0.7 to 0.8, which suggests that oral dosing results in presystemic conversion of CPT-11 to SN-38. An average of 72% of SN-38 was maintained in the lactone form during the first 24 hours after drug administration. One patient with previously treated colorectal cancer and liver metastases who received oral CPT-11 at the 80 mg/m2/d dosage achieved a confirmed partial response.


The MTD and recommended phase II dosage for oral CPT-11 is 66 mg/m2/d in patients younger than 65 years of age and 50 mg/m2/d in patients 65 or older, administered daily for 5 days every 3 weeks. The DLT of diarrhea is similar to that observed with IV administration of CPT-11. The biologic activity and favorable pharmacokinetic characteristics make oral administration of CPT-11 an attractive option for further clinical development.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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