Effectiveness of weekly topotecan in patients with recurrent epithelial ovarian cancer


Ignace Vergote, MD, PhD, Chairman, Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, University Hospitals Leuven, B-3000 Leuven, Belgium. Email: ignace.vergote@uz.kuleuven.ac.be


The objective of this study was to investigate the effectiveness and toxicity of weekly topotecan in patients with recurrent epithelial ovarian cancer. Twenty patients were treated with topotecan at a dose of 4 mg/m2 weekly. Efficacy was determined according to the Response Criteria in Solid Tumors (RECIST) Gynecologic Cancer Inter Group criteria. Median age was 62 years (45–78). Patients had received 1–7 (median 3) prior chemotherapy lines. A total of 203 weekly treatments were administered. In 13 patients (65%) treatment delay was necessary due to bone marrow toxicity. Grade 3/4 neutropenia occurred in 11 patients (55%) and grade 3/4 thrombocytopenia in four patients (20%). Six patients (30%) needed a dose reduction, and 42 cycles (21%) were given with dose reduction. No neutropenia, fever, or sepsis was observed. There was one complete response and one partial response (response rate 10%). All patients with response had platin-sensitive disease (three out of eight). Six patients needed blood transfusion. None of the patients required granulocyte/granulocyte-macrophage colony-stimulating factor. The median duration of response was 13 months. In addition, there were four patients (20%) with a stable disease lasting at least for 4 months. Based on the results of this Phase II study, the toxicity of weekly topotecan seems to be lower than with the 3-weekly topotecan. The response rate of 10% is low but was not expected to be higher as these patients were heavily pretreated.