Purpose: This phase II study assessed the efficacy and toxicity profile of a modified weekly irinotecan and cisplatin for chemotherapy-naïve patients with metastatic/recurrent esophageal squamous cell carcinoma (SQCC).
Methods: The eligibility criteria included histologically confirmed esophageal SQCC, no prior chemotherapy, adequate organ functions and written informed consent. Patients received irinotecan 65 mg/m(2) plus cisplatin 30 mg/m(2) on days 1 and 8, every 3 weeks.
Results: Thirty-two patients were assessed for response and toxicity. Ten patients achieved a partial response (31.3%; 95% CI, 16.0-50.0%). With a median follow-up of 19.0 months, median progression-free and overall survival was 4.4 and 9.6 months, respectively, with a 1-year survival rate of 27.4%. Grade (G) 3/4 neutropenia was observed in 50.0% of the patients, which was the most common cause of dose reduction or therapy delay. G3 non-hematologic toxicity included seven (21.9%) asthenias, four (12.5%) diarrheas, and one (3.1%) nausea/vomiting, but no G4 non-hematologic toxicity was observed.
Conclusions: This modified weekly irinotecan and cisplatin failed to ameliorate hematologic toxicity and to improve efficacy. However, easy administration and favorable non-hematologic toxicity as well as modest anti-tumor activity against metastatic or recurrent esophageal SQCC can make this regimen a potential treatment option, given the complexity of administration and toxicity of conventional infusional 5-FU and cisplatin.