Purpose: Topotecan is widely used for refractory solid tumors but multi-drug resistance may occur due to tumor expression of ATP-binding cassette (ABC) transporters. Since erlotinib, an inhibitor of the epidermal growth factor receptor, also inhibits several ABC transporters, we performed a phase I study to evaluate the safety, efficacy, and pharmacokinetics of intravenous topotecan given in combination with erlotinib.
Methods: Patients received 150 mg of oral erlotinib daily and a 30 min intravenous infusion of topotecan on days 1-5 of a 21-day cycle. Dosage escalation of topotecan occurred with a starting dosage of 0.75 mg/m(2). The pharmacokinetics of topotecan was evaluated on day 1 of cycle 1 without erlotinib and on day 1 of cycle 2 or 3 with erlotinib.
Results: Twenty-nine patients were enrolled. The maximum tolerated dosage was determined to be 1.0 mg/m(2). Dose-limiting toxicities included neutropenia and thrombocytopenia. The average duration of treatment was 97 days. Two partial responses were observed. Topotecan clearance and exposure were similar with and without erlotinib.
Conclusions: The combination of topotecan and erlotinib is tolerable at clinically effective doses. Erlotinib does not affect the disposition of topotecan to a clinically significant extent.