Phase I study of the sequential administration of edatrexate and paclitaxel in patients with advanced solid tumors.
BACKGROUND: The antifolate edatrexate and the microtubule-stabilizing agent paclitaxel have both demonstrated single-agent activity in lung and breast cancer. In vitro, the sequential combination of edatrexate followed by paclitaxel produced synergistic antitumor effects. This trial was designed to find the maximum tolerated doses of edatrexate and paclitaxel when given every two weeks utilizing this sequential schedule. PATIENTS AND METHODS: Thirty-four patients with solid tumors received edatrexate intravenously on days 1 and 15 and paclitaxel intravenously as a three-hour infusion on days 2 and 16 of each 28-day cycle. Edatrexate was escalated from 40 to 120 mg/m2 and the paclitaxel dose fixed at 135 mg/m2. When the maximum-tolerated dose was not reached, edatrexate was fixed at 120 mg/m2 and paclitaxel escalated to 175 and 210 mg/m2. RESULTS: All 34 patients were assessable. The maximum tolerated doses were 120 mg/m2 of edatrexate and 210 mg/m2 of paclitaxel. Grade 3 myalgia, peripheral neuropathy, leukopenia, and an infusion-related reaction occurred. Eight patients with non-small-cell lung cancer and one with bladder cancer achieved major objective responses. CONCLUSIONS: The recommended phase II doses are 120 mg/m2 of edatrexate days 1 and 15 and 175 mg/m2 of paclitaxel as a three-hour infusion days 2 and 16 of a 28 day cycle. These results warrant phase II trials of the combination leading to phase III studies comparing the two drugs to a single agent to confirm the preclinical evidence of synergy.