Send to

Choose Destination
Cancer. 1996 Aug 1;78(3):527-31.

Phase II evaluation of topotecan for pediatric central nervous system tumors.

Author information

The Pediatric Branch, National Cancer Institute, Bethesda, Maryland, USA.



Topotecan is a topoisomerase I inhibitor that has good penetration across the blood-brain barrier and significant antitumor activity against human brain tumor xenografts. In a Phase I trial in children with refractory cancer, topotecan was well tolerated when administered as a 24-hour infusion. The maximum tolerated dose was 5.5 mg/m2 and the dose-limiting toxicity was myelosuppression. This Phase II study of topotecan was performed to assess the activity of topotecan against childhood brain tumors.


Forty-five children with either a previously treated primary brain tumor that was refractory to standard therapy, or an untreated brain stem glioma or glioblastoma multiforme, received topotecan administered as a 24-hour intravenous infusion every 21 days. The initial dose was 5.5 mg/m2 with escalation to 7.5 mg/m2 on the second and subsequent doses in patients who did not experience dose-limiting toxicity.


There were no complete or partial responses in the patients with high grade glioma (n=9), medulloblastoma (n=9), or brain stem glioma (n=14). One of 2 patients with a low grade glioma had a partial response lasting more than 17 months; 3 patients with a brain stem glioma had stable disease for 12 to 28 weeks; and 1 patient with a malignant neuroepithelial tumor and 1 patient with an optic glioma had stable disease for 41 weeks and 22 weeks, respectively. Dose escalation from 5.5 mg/m2 to 7.5 mg/m2 was well tolerated in the first 11 patients enrolled on this study who had not received prior craniospinal radiation therapy. The starting dose was subsequently increased to 7.5 mg/m2 for patients without prior craniospinal radiation.


Topotecan administered as a 24-hour infusion every 21 days is inactive in high grade gliomas, medulloblastomas, and brain stem tumors.

Supplemental Content

Loading ...
Support Center