Phase i dose escalation and pharmacokinetic study of oral gefitinib and irinotecan in children with refractory solid tumors

R. C. Brennan, W. Furman, S. Mao, J. Wu, D. C. Turner, C. F. Stewart, V. Santana, L. M. McGregor

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

20 Scopus citations


Purpose: This phase I study endeavored to estimate the maximum tolerated dose and describe the dose-limiting toxicities (DLTs) of oral irinotecan with gefitinib in children with refractory solid tumors. Methods: Oral irinotecan was administered on days 1-5 and 8-12 with oral gefitinib (fixed dose, 150 mg/m2/day) on days 1-12 of a 21-day course. The escalation with overdose control method guided irinotecan dose escalation (7 dose levels, range 5-40 mg/m2/day). Results: Sixteen of 19 patients were evaluable, with serial pharmacokinetic studies in ten patients. Diagnoses included osteosarcoma (N = 5), neuroblastoma (N = 3), sarcoma (N = 3), and others (N = 5). Patients received a median of two courses (range 1-20), with at least two patients treated on dose levels 2-7. Three patients had five DLTs; the most common being metabolic (hypokalemia, N = 2 and hypophosphatemia, N = 1) at dose levels two (10 mg/m2) and four (20 mg/m2). One patient experienced grade 3 diarrhea (40 mg/m2). Irinotecan bioavailability was 2.5-fold higher when co-administered with gefitinib, while the conversion rate of irinotecan to SN-38 lactone was unaffected. The study closed due to poor accrual before evaluation of the next recommended irinotecan dose level (35 mg/m2). Of 11 patients receiving at least two courses of therapy, three had stable disease lasting two to four courses and one patient maintained a complete response through 18 courses. Conclusions: The combination of oral gefitinib and irinotecan has acceptable toxicity and anti-tumor activity in pediatric patients with refractory solid tumors. Pharmacokinetic analysis confirms that co-administration of gefitinib increases irinotecan bioavailability leading to an increased SN-38 lactone systemic exposure.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1191-1198
Number of pages8
JournalCancer Chemotherapy and Pharmacology
Issue number6
StatePublished - Dec 2014

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2014 Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg.


  • Bioavailability
  • Gefitinib
  • Irinotecan
  • Phase I
  • Refractory solid tumors

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Toxicology
  • Pharmacology
  • Cancer Research
  • Pharmacology (medical)


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