The aim of this study was to characterise the pharmacokinetics of the anticancer agent topotecan, and explore the influence of patient covariates and interoccasion variability on drug disposition. Data were obtained from 190 patients who received the drug as a 30-min infusion (N=72) or orally (N=118). The population model was built with the use of NONMEM to identify candidate covariates, and obtain models for clearance (CL) and volume of distribution. The final models were based on first-order absorption with lag-time (oral data), and a two-compartment model with linear elimination from the central compartment. The Cockcroft-Gault creatinine clearance (CrCl) and WHO performance status (PS) were the only significant covariates: CL=(12.8+2.1 x CrCl) x (1-0.12 x PS). For the volume of distribution, a correlation was found between body weight and the central volume (V1)=0.58 x body weight. Based on the structural models, a limited-sampling strategy was developed with minor bias and good precision that can be applied a posteriori using timed samples obtained at 1.5, and 6 h after the administration of topotecan. In conclusion, a population pharmacokinetic model for topotecan has been developed that incorporates measures of renal function and PS to predict CL. In combination with drug monitoring, the limited sampling strategy allows individualised treatment for patients receiving oral topotecan.