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J Clin Oncol. 2009 Oct 20;27(30):5102-8. doi: 10.1200/JCO.2008.20.8975. Epub 2009 Sep 21.

Phase I and pharmacokinetic study of cetuximab and irinotecan in children with refractory solid tumors: a study of the pediatric oncology experimental therapeutic investigators' consortium.

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  • 1Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, New York, NY 10065, USA.



To determine the dose of cetuximab that can be safely combined with irinotecan for treatment of pediatric and adolescent patients with refractory solid tumors.


This open-label, phase I study enrolled patients ages 1 to 18 years with advanced refractory solid tumors, including tumors of the CNS. Patient cohorts by age group (children, ages 1 to 12 years; adolescents, ages 13 to 18 years) received escalating weekly doses of cetuximab (75, 150, 250 mg/m(2)) in a 3 + 3 design, plus irinotecan (16 or 20 mg/m(2)/d) for 5 days for 2 consecutive weeks every 21 days. The primary end points were establishing the maximum-tolerated dose (MTD), recommended phase II dose (RPIID), and pharmacokinetics of the combination. Preliminary safety and efficacy data were also collected.


Twenty-seven children and 19 adolescents received a median of 7.1 and 6.0 weeks of cetuximab therapy, respectively. Cetuximab 250 mg/m(2) weekly plus irinotecan 16 mg/m(2)/d (pediatric) or 20 mg/m(2)/d (adolescent) have been established as the MTD/RPIID. Dose-limiting toxicities included diarrhea and neutropenia. Mild to moderate (grade 1 to 2) acneiform rash occurred in a majority of patients; no grade 3 to 4 rashes were observed. Cetuximab demonstrated dose-dependent clearance in both children and adolescents, similar to that in adults. There were two confirmed partial responses, both in patients with CNS tumors. Stable disease was achieved in 18 patients overall, including 10 patients with CNS tumors (38.5%).


The cetuximab/irinotecan combination can be given safely to children and adolescents with cancer. Promising activity, particularly in CNS tumors, warrants phase II evaluation of this regimen.

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