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Eur J Cancer. 2007 Jan;43(1):55-63. Epub 2006 Nov 13.

Results from an in vitro and a clinical/pharmacological phase I study with the combination irinotecan and sorafenib.

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Tumour Biology Center at the Albert-Ludwigs-University, Freiburg, Germany.



This single-centre, open-label, phase I dose-escalation study was performed to investigate the safety, pharmacokinetics (PK) and efficacy of sorafenib, a multi-kinase inhibitor, combined with irinotecan, a cytotoxic agent, in patients with advanced, refractory solid tumours.


In an initial dose-escalation phase, patients received irinotecan 125 mg/m(2) and sorafenib 100, 200 and 400 mg twice daily (bid) (cohorts 1-3). In an extended phase, colorectal cancer (CRC) patients received fixed-dose irinotecan 140 mg and sorafenib 400 mg bid (cohort 4).


Thirty-four patients were treated: 20 in the dose-escalation phase (common tumour types: CRC [45%], ovarian [5%], pancreatic [5%]) and 14 patients in the CRC extension. Frequent drug-related adverse events were gastrointestinal symptoms, dermatological reactions and constitutional symptoms. The maximum tolerated dose was not reached. Generally, concomitant administration of irinotecan had no impact on the PK of sorafenib. Sorafenib 100 or 200 mg bid had no impact on the PK of irinotecan or its metabolite SN38. In contrast, sorafenib 400 mg bid significantly increased irinotecan and SN38 exposures; however, this was not associated with increased toxicities. Stable disease was achieved in 12/20 (60%) evaluable patients in cohorts 1-3, and 10/13 (77%) evaluable patients in cohort 4. A further patient from cohort 4 had a partial response of >200 days. The increase of SN38 exposure might be due to inhibition of formation of the SN38 glucuronide by sorafenib. In vitro, sorafenib strongly inhibited SN38 glucuronidation in human liver microsomes as indicated by a K(i) value of 2.7 micromol/l.


Sorafenib 400 mg bid can be combined with irinotecan 125 mg/m(2) or 140 mg for the treatment of patients with advanced, refractory solid tumours, although monitoring for toxicity is recommended.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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