Purpose: We conducted a Phase I study to determine the maximum tolerated dose (MTD) of neoadjuvant capecitabine, oxaliplatin, and radiation therapy (RT) in Stage II to III rectal adenocarcinoma.
Methods and materials: Capecitabine was given orally twice daily Monday through Friday concurrently with RT. Oxaliplatin was given i.v. once weekly x 5 (for 5 weeks) starting the first day of RT. RT was given daily except on weekends and holidays at 1.8 Gy per fraction x 28. Escalation for capecitabine or oxaliplatin was to occur in cohorts of three patients until the maximum tolerated dose (MTD) was defined. Endorectal tumor biopsy samples were obtained before and on Day 3 of treatment to explore the effects of treatment on thymidine phosphorylase, thymidylate synthase, dihydropyrimidine dehydrogenase, DNA repair, and apoptosis.
Results: Twelve patients were enrolled on this study. Two of 6 patients at dose level (DL) 1 (capecitabine 825 mg/m2 orally (p.o.) given twice daily (b.i.d.); oxaliplatin 50 mg/m2/week) had a dose-limiting diarrhea. One of 6 patients at DL (-)1 (capecitabine 725 mg/m2 p.o., b.i.d.; oxaliplatin 50 mg/m2/week) experienced-dose-limiting diarrhea. Three of 11 patients who underwent resection had a complete pathologic response. No remarkable variations in rectal tumor biologic endpoints were noted on Day 3 of treatment in comparison to baseline. However, a higher apotosis index was observed at baseline and on Day 3 in complete pathologic responders (no statistical analysis performed).
Conclusions: Capecitabine 725 mg/m2 p.o., twice daily in combination with oxaliplatin 50 mg/m2/week and RT 50.4 Gy in 28 fractions is the recommended dose for future studies.