Background: Combining topotecan with other cytotoxics has been problematic due to marrow suppression. A phase I trial was initiated to identify the optimal sequence and maximum-tolerated dose of topotecan in combination with paclitaxel and carboplatin. Patients and methods: Patients with advanced cancer and performance status ECOG ≤2. The starting dose was paclitaxel 175 mg/m2 day 1, carboplatin AUC 6.0 day 1, and topotecan 0.5 mg/m2 daily day 1-5 (early sequence). The next course of paclitaxel and carboplatin administration was delayed to day 5 (late sequence). Treatment was repeated every three weeks. After determining maximum-tolerated dose without cytokines, granulocyte colony-stimulating factor (G-CSF) was added and further dose escalation was pursued. Results: Fifty-one patients were entered; men: women ratio 30 : 21. Dose-limiting toxicity (DLT) for the early sequence was neutropenia at doses paclitaxel mg/m2/carboplatin AUC 5/ topotecan mg/m2 (PCT) 175/5/0.75 for four to five days. DLT for the late sequence was neutropenia at PCT doses of 175/5/1.0 for four days. G-CSF 5 μg/kg subcutaneously starting day 6 permitted further topotecan dose escalation. After adding G-CSF, late sequence DLT was neutropenia at doses 175/5/1.25 for four days. Forty-six patients were evaluable for response and of those, there were thirteen partial responses. Conclusions: The late sequence resulted in less toxicity and was better tolerated. The early sequence maximum-tolerated dose (MTD) was 175/6/0.5 for five days. The late sequence MTD was PCT 175/5/0.75 for five days. The late sequence MTD with G-CSF was 175/5/1.0 for four days. The recommended phase II PCT dose is the late sequence 175/5/1.0 for four days with G-CSF.
- Phase I