A phase 1 escalating single-dose and weekly fixed-dose study of cetuximab: Pharmacokinetic and pharmacodynamic rationale for dosing

Paula M. Fracasso, Howard Burris, Matthew A. Arquette, Ramaswamy Govindan, Feng Gao, Lisa P. Wright, Sherry A. Goodner, F. Anthony Greco, Suzanne F. Jones, Noel Willcut, Catherine Chodkiewicz, Amit Pathak, Gregory M. Springett, George R. Simon, Daniel M. Sullivan, Raphaël Marcelpoil, Shelley D. Mayfield, David Mauro, Christopher R. Garrett

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133 Scopus citations


Purpose: This phase 1 study evaluated the pharmacokinetic and pharmacodynamic effects of cetuximab on patients with epithelial malignancies. Experimental Design: Following a skin and tumor biopsy, patients with advanced epithelial malignancies were randomized to receive a single dose of cetuximab at 50, 100, 250, 400, or 500 mg/m2 i.v. Repeat skin (days 2, 8, 15, and 22) and tumor (day 8) biopsies were obtained. Immunohistochemical expression of epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) and its pathway members was done on biopsies. Blood samples were obtained over 22 days for pharmacokinetic analyses. After day 22, all patients received weekly 250 mg/m2 cetuximab until disease progression or unacceptable toxicity. Results: Thirty-nine patients enrolled. Rash was noted in 26 (67%) patients. Three patients (two with colon cancer and one with laryngeal cancer) achieved a partial response and 13 patients had stable disease. Pharmacokinetic data revealed mean maximum observed cetuximab concentrations and mean area under the concentration-time curve from time zero to infinity increased in a dose-dependent manner up to 400 mg/m 2 cetuximab. Mean clearance was similar at cetuximab doses ≥100 mg/m2, supporting saturation of EGFR binding at 250 mg/m2. Pharmacodynamic evaluation revealed that patients with partial response/stable disease had a higher-grade rash and higher cetuximab trough levels than those with progressive disease (P = 0.032 and 0.002, respectively). Administration of single doses (250-500 mg/m2) of cetuximab resulted in a dose-dependent decrease in EGFR protein expression levels in skin over time, supporting a minimal dose of cetuximab at 250 mg/m2 for a pharmacodynamic effect. Conclusion: This study provides a pharmacokinetic and pharmacodynamic rationale for the dosing of cetuximab.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)986-993
Number of pages8
JournalClinical Cancer Research
Issue number3
StatePublished - Feb 1 2007


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