Adrenocortical carcinoma (ACC) is rare, nearly always fatal, and to the authors' knowledge has few nonsurgical treatment options. Based on in vitro studies demonstrating the efficacy of mitotane as a P-glycoprotein (Pgp) antagonist, and expression of high levels of Pgp in ACC, the authors conducted a study of infusional doxorubicin, vincristine, and etoposide with oral mitotane ± surgical resection in patients with metastatic ACC.
Thirty-six patients with metastatic ACC received daily oral mitotane (mean, 4.6 g/day) and 96-hour infusional doxorubicin (10 mg/m2/day), etoposide (75 mg/m2/day), and vincristine (0.4 mg/m2/day). Four responding patients (11%) underwent surgery.
Thirty-five patients were evaluable; all had metastatic disease. Eleven patients had not undergone resection of the primary tumor. Approximately 53% of patients had functional tumors. A total of 190 cycles were administered to 36 patients. Responses were observed in 8 patients (22%): 1 complete, 4 partial, and 3 minor responses. The mean duration of response was 12.4 months. Using a landmark method, the median survival of patients who did not respond to chemotherapy was 11.6 months from a point 4 months after the initiation of therapy, whereas that of 8 patients who demonstrated a response to chemotherapy was 34.3 months from that same landmark. High levels of Pgp expression were documented in nine of nine tumors. Mitotane levels > 10 μg/mL, previously shown to antagonize Pgp in vitro, were achieved in 25 of 36 patients (69%). However, rhodamine efflux from CD56-positive cells was not impaired, suggesting poor in vivo Pgp inhibition. The predominant Grade 3/4 toxicity (according to the Common Toxicity Criteria of the National Cancer Institute) was neutropenia in 66% of cycles; however, fever occurred in only 3% of cycles. Daily mitotane was associated with Grade 1/2 nausea, diarrhea, fatigue, and neuropsychiatric changes in 31 of 36 patients (86%).
Using a combination regimen of daily mitotane with infusional doxorubicin, vincristine, and etoposide in patients with metastatic ACC, responses were observed in 22% of patients. The superiority of this combination over single-agent mitotane is uncertain. The side effects of mitotane made treatment difficult. More effective Pgp antagonists are needed. Cancer 2002;94:2333–43. © 2002 American Cancer Society.