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Clin Cancer Res. 2005 Feb 1;11(3):1226-36.

UGT1A7 and UGT1A9 polymorphisms predict response and toxicity in colorectal cancer patients treated with capecitabine/irinotecan.

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Fox Chase Cancer Center, 333 Cottman Avenue, Philadelphia, PA 19111-2497, USA.



Capecitabine and irinotecan are commonly used in the treatment of metastatic colorectal cancer (CRC). We hypothesized that germline polymorphisms within genes related to drug target (thymidylate synthase) or metabolizing enzymes (UDP-glucuronosyltransferase, UGT) would impact response and toxicity to the combination of capecitabine plus irinotecan (CPT-11).


Sixty-seven patients with measurable CRC were treated with irinotecan i.v. (100 or 125 mg/m(2)) on days 1 and 8 and capecitabine orally (900 or 1,000 mg/m(2), twice daily) on days 2 through 15 of each 3-week cycle. Genomic DNA was extracted from peripheral blood and genotyped using Pyrosequencing, GeneScan, and direct sequencing (Big Dye terminator) technologies.


The overall objective response rate was 45% with 21 patients (31%) exhibiting grade 3 or 4 diarrhea and 3 patients (4.5%) demonstrating grade 3 or 4 neutropenia in the first two cycles. Low enzyme activity UGT1A7 genotypes, UGT1A7*2/*2 (six patients) and UGT1A7*3/*3 (seven patients), were significantly associated with antitumor response (p = 0.013) and lack of severe gastrointestinal toxicity (p = 0.003). In addition, the UGT1A9 -118 (dT)(9/9) genotype was significantly associated with reduced toxicity (p = 0.002) and increased response (p = 0.047). There were no statistically significant associations between UGT1A1, UGT1A6, or thymidylate synthase genotypes and toxicity or tumor response.


These data strongly suggest that UGT1A7 and/or UGT1A9 genotypes may be predictors of response and toxicity in CRC patients treated with capecitabine plus irinotecan. Specifically, patients with genotypes conferring low UGT1A7 activity and/or the UGT1A9 (dT)(9/9) genotype may be particularly likely to exhibit greater antitumor response with little toxicity.

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