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Cancer. 2008 Jan 15;112(2):331-9.

A prospective randomized trial of thalidomide with topotecan compared with topotecan alone in women with recurrent epithelial ovarian carcinoma.

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  • 1Division of Gynecologic Oncology, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, Minnesota 55455, USA.



Thalidomide is an antiangiogenic agent with immune modulating potential. The objective of this study was to determine response rates among women who were treated for recurrent ovarian cancer using topotecan with or without thalidomide.


Women were enrolled in this multicenter, prospective, randomized phase 2 trial between April 2001 and July 2005. Eligible patients had recurrent epithelial ovarian carcinoma with measurable disease or elevated CA 125 values. Patients had received prior platinum-based chemotherapy. Treatment arms received topotecan at a dose of 1.25 mg/m(2) on Days 1 through 5 of a 21-day cycle with or without thalidomide starting at a dose of 200 mg per day and then increasing the dose as tolerated. Toxicity was graded according to the National Cancer Institute Common Toxicity Criteria. The chi-square test was used to assess differences in response and toxicity, and the log-rank test was used to compare Kaplan-Meier survival curves.


The analysis included 69 women (39 women in the control arm and 30 women in the thalidomide arm). Known prognostic factors, including platinum sensitivity, were represented equally in each arm. The median thalidomide dose was 200 mg per day. The overall response rate in the control arm was 21% (complete response [CR] rate, 18%; partial response [PR] rate, 3%) compared with 47% in the thalidomide arm (CR rate, 30%; PR rate, 17%) (P= .03). The median progression-free survival for the control arm was 4 months compared with 6 months in the thalidomide arm (P= .02). The median overall survival was 15 months in the control arm and 19 months in the thalidomide arm (P= .67). Toxicities were similar between groups.


The addition of thalidomide to topotecan for the treatment of recurrent ovarian cancer appears to improve response rates, and the authors believe that it warrants study through larger phase 3 trials.

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