Neutropenia and survival outcomes in metastatic colorectal cancer patients treated with trifluridine/tipiracil in the RECOURSE and J003 trials

Ann Oncol. 2020 Jan;31(1):88-95. doi: 10.1016/j.annonc.2019.10.005.


Background: The phase II J003 (N = 169) and phase III RECOURSE (N = 800) trials demonstrated a significant improvement in survival with trifluridine (FTD)/tipiracil (TPI) versus placebo in patients with refractory metastatic colorectal cancer. This post hoc analysis investigated pharmacokinetic data of FTD/TPI exposure and pharmacodynamic markers, such as chemotherapy-induced neutropenia (CIN) and clinical outcomes.

Patients and methods: A total of 210 patients from RECOURSE were enrolled in this substudy. A limited sampling approach was used, with three pharmacokinetic samples drawn on day 12 of cycle 1. Patients were categorized as being above or below the median area under the plasma concentration-time curve (AUC) for FTD and TPI. We conducted a post hoc analysis using the entire RECOURSE population to determine the correlations between CIN and clinical outcome. We then carried out a similar analysis on the J003 trial to validate the results.

Results: In the RECOURSE subset, patients in the high FTD AUC group had a significantly increased CIN risk. Analyses of the entire population demonstrated that FTD/TPI-treated patients with CIN of any grade in cycles 1 and 2 had significantly longer median overall survival (OS) and progression-free survival (PFS) than patients who did not develop CIN and patients in the placebo group. Patients who required an FTD/TPI treatment delay had increased OS and PFS versus those in the placebo group and those who did not develop CIN. Similar results were obtained in the J003 cohort.

Conclusions: In RECOURSE, patients with higher FTD drug exposure had an increased CIN risk. FTD/TPI-treated patients who developed CIN had improved OS and PFS versus those in the placebo group and those who did not develop CIN. Similar findings were reported in the J003 cohort, thus validating the RECOURSE results. The occurrence of CIN may be a useful predictor of treatment outcomes for FTD/TPI-treated patients. CLINICALTRIALS.

Gov identifier: NCT01607957 (RECOURSE).

Japan pharmaceutical information center number: JapicCTI-090880 (J003).

Keywords: FTD/TPI; J003; RECOURSE; chemotherapy-induced neutropenia; metastatic colorectal cancer.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial, Phase II
  • Clinical Trial, Phase III
  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Colorectal Neoplasms* / drug therapy
  • Drug Combinations
  • Humans
  • Japan
  • Neutropenia*
  • Pyrrolidines
  • Thymine
  • Trifluridine / adverse effects
  • Uracil / adverse effects


  • Drug Combinations
  • Pyrrolidines
  • Uracil
  • tipiracil
  • Thymine
  • Trifluridine

Associated data

  • JapicCTI/JapicCTI-090880