Phase II trial of topotecan administered as a 21-day continuous infusion in previously untreated patients with stage IIIB and IV non-small-cell lung cancer.
Topotecan (9-dimethylaminoethyl-10-hydroxycamptothecin) is a topoisomerase I inhibitor. Twenty-six patients with stage IIIB or IV non-small-cell lung cancer (NSCLC) who had received no prior chemotherapy were treated in a multicenter study with topotecan 0.6 mg/m2/day for 21 days by continuous intravenous infusion every 28 days; this starting dose was decreased to 0.5 mg/m2/day in the last 23 patients because of myelosuppression. There was one partial response, for a response rate of 4% (95% confidence interval, 0.1%-19.6%). Median survival was 9 months. One-year survival was 39%. Of the 58 lung cancer symptoms at baseline, 40% were resolved by the end of best response (all in the partial response patient, 62% in stable disease patients, 26% in progressive disease patients). Catheter-related infections complicated 19% of courses. Red-cell transfusions were given in 50% of courses. Toxicity included grade 4 neutropenia (4%), grade 3-4 anemia (19%), grade 4 thrombocytopenia (8%), and catheter-related infections (19% courses). Although the major objective response rate was only 4%, patients treated with topotecan given as a 21-day continuous intravenous infusion experienced a decrease in cancer-related symptoms and a 1-year survival of 39%.