Background The combination of mitotane and platinum-etoposide chemotherapy is a front-line treatment in metastatic adrenocortical carcinoma (ACC), although this regimen shows limited efficacy. Pharmacokinetic drug-drug interaction between mitotane, a strong CYP3A4 inducer, and etoposide, which is a substrate of CYP3A4, may contribute to chemoresistance. The aim of this pilot study was to assess the pharmacokinetic interaction between mitotane and etoposide in ACC patients. Methods Five consecutive ACC patients treated with platinum etoposide (120-150 mg/m2 day 1-2-3 at cycle 1), with or without concomitant mitotane, were included. In the absence of limiting toxicity, a dose escalation of etoposide was proposed since cycle 2. Plasma etoposide concentrations were measured using liquid chromatography at 0, 4 and 24 h after each infusion. Clearance and area under the curve (AUC) of etoposide were determined at each cycle. Results Patients received two to six chemotherapy cycles, in association with mitotane (N = 4) or after mitotane discontinuation (N = 1). Etoposide clearance was two-fold higher with concomitant mitotane (4.95 L/h) than after mitotane discontinuation (2.53 L/h, P = 0.014), and 2.5-fold higher than that in reference population not treated with mitotane (1.81 L/h). Etoposide dose escalation was performed in four patients under mitotane, resulting in two minor tumor responses and one severe toxicity (febrile aplasia) at dose of 300 mg/m2/day. Tumor response was associated with higher etoposide AUC (267.3 vs 188.8 mg.h/L, P = 0.04). Conclusion A drug-drug interaction between mitotane and etoposide may contribute to the low efficacy of platinum-etoposide chemotherapy. This pilot study suggests further a potential benefit of increasing etoposide dose in ACC patients receiving mitotane.
Keywords: adrenocortical carcinoma; drug interaction; etoposide; mitotane; pharmacology.