Phase II study of topotecan in patients with extensive-stage small-cell carcinoma of the lung: an Eastern Cooperative Oncology Group Trial

J H Schiller, K Kim, P Hutson, R DeVore, J Glick, J Stewart, D Johnson
Journal of Clinical Oncology 1996, 14 (8): 2345-52

PURPOSE: To determine the response rate and survival of chemotherapy-naive patients with extensive-stage small-cell lung cancer (SCLC) treated with topotecan, and to determine the relationship of topotecan pharmacokinetics with response and toxicity.

PATIENTS AND METHODS: Forty-eight patients with previously untreated, extensive-stage SCLC received 2.0 mg/m2 of topotecan daily for 5 days. The first 13 patients were treated without colony-stimulating factor (CSF) support; the next 35 patients received 5 micrograms/kg of granulocyte-colony-stimulating factor (G-CSF) for 10 to 14 days starting on day 6. Cycles were repeated every 3 weeks for a maximum of four cycles. Patients who had a partial response to topotecan after four cycles, stable disease after two cycles, or progressive disease at any time received salvage chemotherapy with cisplatin and etoposide. Topotecan pharmacokinetics were measured using a four-point sampling scheme.

RESULTS: Of 48 patients, none had a complete response and 19 had a partial response, for an objective response rate of 39% (95% confidence interval [CI], 25.2% to 53.0%). The median response duration was 4.8 months (95% CI, 3.0 to 7.3). After a median follow-up duration of 18.2 months, the overall median survival time was 10.0 months (95% CI, 8.2 to 12.7); the 1-year survival rate was 39% (95% CI, 25.2% to 53.0%). Eight of 34 patients (24%) who received salvage chemotherapy responded. Four of 17 patients who did not respond to first-line therapy with topotecan responded to cisplatin and etoposide. The most common toxicity was hematologic. Ninety-two percent of patients treated without G-CSF developed grade 3 or 4 neutropenia, compared with 29% who received G-CSF. However, the incidence of neutropenic fevers was similar between the two groups (8% and 11%, respectively), and one patient in each group died of neutropenic fevers. There were no differences in objective tumor response, duration of response, time to treatment failure, or survival between the 13 patients who entered the study before G-CSF administration was mandated and the 35 patients who entered after and received G-CSF. There was poor correlation between the WBC count and absolute neutrophil counts (ANCs) and both the area under the curve (AUC) and maximum concentration++ (Cmx) of total topotecan in plasma. There was no correlation between the tumor response and either AUC or Cmx of total topotecan.

CONCLUSION: The activity of topotecan in extensive-stage SCLC noted in this study warrants further investigation of this agent in phase III clinical trials.

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