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Cancer Chemother Pharmacol. 1990;26(1):57-61.

Biological modification of protracted infusion of 5-fluorouracil with weekly leucovorin. A dose seeking clinical trial for patients with disseminated gastrointestinal cancers.

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Division of Medical Oncology, University of Southern California, Los Angeles 90033.


A clinical trial was designed to find the maximally tolerated dose of weekly leucovorin (LV) that could be combined with 4 weeks of protracted infusion (PI) of 5-fluorouracil (5FU) at a fixed dose of 200 mg/m2. A total of 36 patients with disseminated gastrointestinal malignancies were treated; 9 either progressed or died before receiving 4 weeks of treatment leaving 27 patients evaluable for toxicity and response. 5FU was given as a protracted infusion using an ambulatory infusion pump and indwelling venous access. LV doses included 20, 25, 50, and 75 mg/m2 given as an i.v. push at the time of weekly pump fill with 5FU. In all, 72% of the patients tolerated LV at 20 mg/m2 for 4 continuous weeks, whereas the higher doses required treatment rests prior to 4 weeks. The dose-limiting toxicity at all doses was stomatitis. No significant myelosuppression was seen; diarrhea was infrequent. Overall, 40% of the patients with measurable cancer had partial responses. In view of evidence of biologic and therapeutic effects of these weekly doses of 20 mg/m2 LV with 200 mg/m2 5FU per day given as a protracted infusion over 4 weeks, phase II trials and multimodality studies for patients with gastrointestinal malignancies are being initiated at our institution using this dose and schedule.

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