Topotecan Dosing Guidelines in Ovarian Cancer: Reduction and Management of Hematologic Toxicity

Deborah K. Armstrong

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

54 Scopus citations


Topotecan dosing considerations and alternative dosing schedules to reduce and manage myelosuppression during the treatment of relapsed ovarian cancer were reviewed. The myelosuppression patterns from phase I, II, and III clinical trials were analyzed to evaluate the degree of hematologic toxicity and to determine risk factors predictive of myelosuppression. Additionally, recent publications of alternative topotecan doses and schedules were examined. Extent of prior therapy, prior platinum therapy (particularly carboplatin), advanced age, impaired renal function, and prior radiation therapy were identified as potential risk factors for greater hematologic toxicity after topotecan therapy. Reducing the starting topotecan dose to 1.0 or 1.25 mg/m2/day is recommended to reduce the incidence of severe myelosuppression in high-risk individuals receiving topotecan for 5 consecutive days. Hematopoietic growth factors, transfusion therapy, and schedule adjustments may also help manage myelosuppression. Alternative schedules of 3-day or weekly dosing appear to have less myelotoxicity and are currently under evaluation. The clinical aspects of topotecan-related myelosuppression and results from clinical trials indicate that the dose, and possibly the dosing schedule, of topotecan can be modified to reduce hematologic toxicity and improve tolerance without compromising efficacy. Prospective individualization of topotecan dosing may prevent or minimize dose-limiting myelosuppression and allow patients to achieve the maximum topotecan benefit by improving their ability to complete therapy with fewer treatment delays. Ongoing clinical trials evaluating alternative dosing schedules with superior hematologic tolerability may facilitate the inclusion of topotecan in combination regimens for patients with ovarian cancer. Proposed topotecan dosing guidelines to reduce and manage myelosuppression are outlined.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)33-42
Number of pages10
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2004
Externally publishedYes


  • Bone marrow/drug effects
  • Drug toxicity
  • Ovarian neoplasms
  • Topotecan

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research


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