A phase I clinical and pharmacokinetic study of the topoisomerase I inhibitor topotecan (SK&F 104864) given as an intravenous bolus every 21 days

Anticancer Drugs. 1992 Aug;3(4):337-45. doi: 10.1097/00001813-199208000-00004.


Topotecan (SK&F 104864) is a novel antitumor agent whose mechanism of action is inhibition of the DNA unwinding protein topoisomerase I. An analog of camptothecin, topotecan was designed to be more water soluble in an effort to decrease the severe and sporadic toxicities experienced during phase I/II trials of the parent compound. In this phase I clinical and pharmacological trial, topotecan was given as a bolus intravenous (i.v.) infusion over 30 min every 21 days. A total of 42 patients entered the study, receiving doses ranging from 2.5 to 22.5 mg/m2. The maximum tolerated dose (MTD) of topotecan given in this schedule was 22.5 mg/m2. Myelosuppression, primarily neutropenia, was dose-limiting. The extent of prior therapy did not predict for more severe neutropenia. Non-hematologic toxicities were mild and included low-grade to moderate fever, nausea, vomiting, alopecia, diarrhea and skin rashes. There were no objective partial or complete responses, although there was a suggestion of antitumor activity in three patients. Topotecan undergoes pH-dependent hydrolysis of the lactone ring; only the closed, lactone form is active. The lactone form predominated during infusion, with hydrolysis occurring rapidly following the end of infusion. There were linear relationships between dose administered and peak plasma lactone concentrations as well as AUC lactone to AUC total. The lactone was rapidly cleared from plasma with a total body clearance of 25.7 (+/- 6.7) l/h/m2. The plasma lactone concentration declined rapidly with a harmonic mean terminal half-life of 3.4 (+/- 1.1)h. Lactone hydrolysis and renal excretion were the major routes of elimination.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 250 WORDS)

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Clinical Trial, Phase I
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Antineoplastic Agents / administration & dosage*
  • Antineoplastic Agents / adverse effects
  • Antineoplastic Agents / pharmacokinetics*
  • Camptothecin / administration & dosage
  • Camptothecin / adverse effects
  • Camptothecin / analogs & derivatives*
  • Camptothecin / pharmacokinetics
  • Chromatography, High Pressure Liquid
  • Drug Administration Schedule
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Infusions, Intravenous
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Topoisomerase I Inhibitors*
  • Topotecan


  • Antineoplastic Agents
  • Topoisomerase I Inhibitors
  • Topotecan
  • Camptothecin