Interpatient variability in bioavailability of the intravenous formulation of topotecan given orally to children with recurrent solid tumors

Cancer Chemother Pharmacol. 1999;43(6):454-60. doi: 10.1007/s002800050923.


Purpose: Evaluation of inter- and intrapatient variability of topotecan oral bioavailability and disposition was performed in children with malignant solid tumors.

Patients and methods: Topotecan i.v. formulation was given orally on schedules of daily for 21 consecutive days (d x 21) or daily for 5 days per week for 3 weeks [(d x 5)3], in both cases repeated every 28 days. Topotecan doses of 0.8 and 1.1 mg/m2 per day were evaluated on both schedules. Serial plasma samples were obtained after oral and i.v. administration of topotecan at the beginning and end of the first course of therapy. Topotecan lactone and total concentrations were measured by a high-performance liquid chromatography (HPLC) assay, and a one-or two-compartment model was fit to the plasma concentration-time data after oral or i.v. administration, respectively. Topotecan oral bioavailability (F) was calculated as the ratio of the AUC determined after oral treatment (AUCpo) divided by the AUC calculated after i.v. administration.

Results: Pharmacokinetics studies were performed on 15 and 11 patients receiving 0.8 and 1.1 mg/m2 per day, respectively. After oral administration the topotecan lactone AUCpo and F determined for 0.8 and 1.1 mg/m2 per day were 13.6 +/- 5.8 and 25.1 +/- 12.9 ng ml(-1) h and 0.34 +/- 0.14 and 0.34 +/- 0.16, respectively. The within-patient variance for AUCpo and F was much smaller than the between-patient variance. The ratio of topotecan lactone to total concentration was consistently higher after oral as compared with i.v. administration.

Conclusions: Large interpatient variability was noted in topotecan pharmacokinetics, whereas intrapatient variability was relatively small. Further studies of oral topotecan are warranted to evaluate the tolerance of shorter courses and to define further the interpatient variability.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Administration, Oral
  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Antineoplastic Agents / pharmacokinetics*
  • Biological Availability
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Injections, Intravenous
  • Male
  • Neoplasm Recurrence, Local
  • Neoplasms / drug therapy*
  • Neoplasms / metabolism
  • Topotecan / administration & dosage
  • Topotecan / pharmacokinetics*


  • Antineoplastic Agents
  • Topotecan