Phase II comparator study of oral versus intravenous topotecan in patients with chemosensitive small-cell lung cancer

J. Von Pawel, U. Gatzemeier, J. L. Pujol, L. Moreau, S. Bildat, M. Ranson, G. Richardson, C. Steppert, A. Rivière, I. Camlett, S. Lane, G. Ross

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


    Purpose: Topotecan, administered intravenously, is active in small-cell lung cancer (SCLC). In this study, the comparability of oral topotecan to IV topotecan was investigated. Patients and Methods: Patients with SCLC that had relapsed 90 days or more after cessation of initial chemotherapy were randomized to receive either oral topotecan (Hycamtin) 2.3 mg/m2/d × 5 (52 patients) or IV topotecan 1.5 mg/m2/d × 5 (54 patients), every 21 days. Results: Response rates in this phase II randomized study were 23% (12/52) in the oral topotecan arm and 15% (8/54) in the IV topotecan arm. All radiological responses were confirmed by an independent radiologist. Median survival was 32 weeks (oral) and 25 weeks (IV). Good symptom control, defined as sustained improvement or no deterioration, was evident in both treatment groups. Topotecan was generally well tolerated, with myelosuppression being the major toxicity. Grade 4 neutropenia occurred in 35.3% of patients on oral topotecan and in 67.3% of patients on IV topotecan, which was statistically significant (P = .001). Fever/infection more than or equal to grade 2 associated with grade 4 neutropenia, together with sepsis, occurred in only 5.1% of courses (oral) and 3.3% of courses (IV). Non-hematological toxicity consisted mainly of vomiting (oral: 36.5% of patients; IV: 31.5% of patients) and nausea (oral: 26.9% of patients; IV: 40.7% of patients). Conclusion: This study found oral topotecan to be similar in efficacy to IV topotecan in the treatment of patients with relapsed SCLC, sensitive to first-line chemotherapy, with less grade 4 neutropenia and greater convenience of administration. © 2001 by American Society of Clinical Oncology.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)1743-1749
    Number of pages6
    JournalJournal of Clinical Oncology
    Issue number6
    Publication statusPublished - 15 Mar 2001


    • Administration, Oral
    • Adult
    • Aged
    • administration & dosage: Antineoplastic Agents, Phytogenic
    • drug therapy: Carcinoma, Small Cell
    • Female
    • Humans
    • Infusions, Intravenous
    • drug therapy: Lung Neoplasms
    • Middle Aged
    • chemically induced: Neutropenia
    • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
    • administration & dosage: Topotecan
    • Treatment Outcome


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