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Phase I and pharmacologic study of the combination paclitaxel and carboplatin as first-line chemotherapy in stage III and IV ovarian cancer

M T Huizing, L J van Warmerdam, H Rosing, M C Schaefers, A Lai, T J Helmerhorst, C H Veenhof, M J Birkhofer, S Rodenhuis, J H Beijnen, W W ten Bokkel Huinink
Journal of Clinical Oncology: Official Journal of the American Society of Clinical Oncology 1997, 15 (5): 1953-64

PURPOSE: To determine the maximum-tolerated dose for the combination paclitaxel and carboplatin administered every 4 weeks and to gain more insight into the pharmacokinetics and pharmacodynamics of this combination in previously untreated ovarian cancer patients.

PATIENTS AND METHODS: Thirty-five chemotherapy-naive patients with suboptimally debulked stage III (tumor masses > 3 cm) and stage IV ovarian cancer were entered onto this phase I trial in which paclitaxel was administered as a 3-hour intravenous (IV) infusion at dosages of 125 to 225 mg/m2 immediately followed by carboplatin over 30 minutes at dosages of 300 to 600 mg/m2. A total of six courses was planned, followed by a second-look laparoscopy/laparotomy. Patients with a response and/or minimal residual disease at second-look laparoscopy received three additional courses. Twenty-six patients participated in the pharmacokinetic part of the study.

RESULTS: The most important hematologic toxicity encountered was neutropenia. Neutropenia was more pronounced for the higher dose levels (DLs) and was cumulative. Thrombocytopenia was mild in the first eight DLs, but increased during the treatment courses. Nonhematologic toxicities consisted mainly of vomiting, neuropathy, fatigue, rash, pruritus, myalgia, and arthralgia. Dose-limiting toxicities (DLTs) in this trial were neutropenic fever, thrombocytopenia that required platelet transfusions, and cumulative neuropathy. Of 33 patients assessable for response, 26 major responders (78%, 20 complete response [CR] and six partial response [PR]) were documented. The maximal concentration (Cmax) of paclitaxel and the area under the concentration-time curve (AUC) were not different from the historical data for paclitaxel as a single agent. Retrospective analysis using a modified Calvert formula showed that the measured carboplatin AUCs in plasma ultrafiltrate (pUF) were 30% +/- 3.4% less than the calculated carboplatin AUC. Neutropenia was more pronounced than could be expected on the basis of the historical times above a threshold concentration greater than 0.1 mumol/L (T > or = 0.1 mumol/L) or 0.05 mumol/L (T > or = 0.05 mumol/L), and thrombocytopenia was less than could be expected from historical sigmoidal Emax models.

CONCLUSION: The combination of paclitaxel 200 mg/ m2 and carboplatin 550 mg/m2 every 4 weeks is a well-tolerated treatment modality. The paclitaxel-carboplatin combination is highly active in stage III (bulky) and stage IV ovarian cancer. No indications for a pharmacokinetic drug-drug interaction between carboplatin and paclitaxel were found.


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