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Br J Cancer. 2005 May 23;92(10):1846-9.

A phase II trial of gefitinib with 5-fluorouracil, leucovorin, and irinotecan in patients with colorectal cancer.

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Abramson Cancer Center at the University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA 19104, USA.


Inhibition of epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) signalling contributes to the therapy of colorectal cancer. Gefitinib, an oral EGFR tyrosine kinase inhibitor, shows supra-additive growth inhibition with irinotecan and fluoropyrimidines in xenograft models. We designed a study to determine the tolerability and efficacy of gefitinib in combination with irinotecan, infusional 5-fluorouracil (5-FU) and leucovorin (LV), on a 2-week schedule. Among 13 patients with advanced colorectal cancer, 10 required dose reductions of irinotecan and 5-FU because of dehydration, diarrhoea, and neutropenia, seven of whom required hospitalisation, three with neutropenic fever. One patient achieved partial response and seven had disease stabilisation. The combination of this standard chemotherapy regimen with gefitinib is associated with excessive toxicity, suggesting an interaction at a pharmacokinetic or pharmacodynamic level.

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