Efficacy and safety of topotecan in the treatment of advanced ovarian carcinoma.

W. ten Bokkel Huinink, J. Carmichael, D. Armstrong, A. Gordon, J. Malfetano

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

29 Scopus citations


Topotecan (Hycamtin; SmithKline Beecham Pharmaceuticals, Philadelphia, PA) has emerged as a promising new chemotherapy drug for patients with refractory and progressive stage III and IV epithelial ovarian carcinoma. A semisynthetic analog of camptothecin, topotecan exerts its antitumor effects through inhibition of the nuclear enzyme topoisomerase I. Phase I trials found antitumor activity in many topotecan dosing schedules, one of which involved the administration of topotecan daily as a 30-minute infusion for 5 consecutive days, with the cycle repeated every 21 days. With this schedule, the maximum tolerated dose was found to be 1.5 mg/m2/d. In a series of phase II investigations in platinum-resistant ovarian cancer patients, response rates have ranged from 13% to 25%. In addition, a number of patients exhibit prolonged disease stabilization, with overall rates of nonprogression ranging from 37% to 81%. Activity in paclitaxel-resistant patients is also seen, with a multicenter phase II trial showing a response rate of 13% among first-line paclitaxel failures and 14.3% among second-line failures. A phase III trial compared topotecan and paclitaxel as second-line therapies in 226 advanced ovarian cancer patients who had been previously treated with platinum-containing regimens. Preliminary data show that patients treated with topotecan evidenced a higher response rate (23% v 14%), longer response duration (32 weeks v 20 weeks), and significantly longer time to progression (23 weeks v 14 weeks; P = .002). Additional schedules are still being evaluated, with a phase II trial of prolonged infusion of relatively low-dose topotecan over 21 days demonstrating a 37% response rate in 16 patients. All phase II and III trials analyzed thus far indicate that topotecan is well tolerated with an acceptable toxicity profile, with myelosuppression as the dose-limiting toxicity. Hematologic toxicities are predictable, of short duration, and noncumulative. Mild to moderate nonhematologic toxicities are manageable. These findings demonstrate that topotecan is a viable new second-line or salvage treatment for patients with advanced ovarian cancer who are refractory or resistant to prior chemotherapy, including platinum-based agents and/or paclitaxel.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)S5-19-S5-1925
JournalSeminars in oncology
Issue number1 Suppl 5
StatePublished - Feb 1997

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Hematology
  • Oncology


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