Patients with recurrent or metastatic HNC have a poor response and survival with currently available chemotherapy agents. Thus, new agents are needed. The authors report the results of a phase II trial of irinotecan and cisplatin in patients with metastatic or recurrent HNC.
Patients were treated with irinotecan 65 mg/m2 IV over 90 minutes and cisplatin 30 mg/m2 were administered intravenously weekly for four weeks, followed by a two week rest. However, after 17 patients were treated with weekly irinotecan at a dose of 65 mg/m2, toxicity analysis demonstrated the poor tolerance of that dose in this patient population. Thus, the protocol was amended, and irinotecan was dose reduced to a starting dose of 50 mg/m2. Twenty-three additional patients were treated with this dose.
Forty patients were enrolled on study between February 2002 and April 2006, 17 patients at the first dose level and 23 patients at the amended dose level. Overall, 12 of 17 patients (71%) treated with irinotecan 65 mg/m2 experienced clinically significant grade 3 or 4 toxicity. Twelve patients required dose reductions. Toxicity was reduced but 17% of patients still experienced grade 3 or 4 toxicity on the lower irinotecan dose. The response rate was 35% for patients treated at irinotecan 65 mg/m2 and 22% for patients treated at 50 mg/m2. No complete responses were noted.
The combination of irinotecan and cisplatin is efficacious in a poor prognosis group of patients but toxicity is substantial. Cancer 2008. © 2008 American Cancer Society.