Pharmacokinetics of ecteinascidin 743 administered as a 24-h continuous intravenous infusion to adult patients with soft tissue sarcomas: associations with clinical characteristics, pathophysiological variables and toxicity
- Cite this article as:
- Puchalski, T.A., Ryan, D.P., Garcia-Carbonero, R. et al. Cancer Chemother Pharmacol (2002) 50: 309. doi:10.1007/s00280-002-0498-3
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Purpose. Ecteinascidin 743 (ET-743) is a potent cytotoxic alkaloid of marine origin that has shown promising evidence of antitumor activity during phase I clinical trials. In the study reported here, the influence of clinical characteristics and pretreatment pathophysiological variables on the pharmacokinetics of ET-743 and their associations with drug-related toxicity was examined in sarcoma patients treated in three phase II clinical trials.
Methods. Adult patients with various histological subtypes of soft tissue sarcoma received 1.5 mg/m2 of ET-743 by 24-h continuous i.v. infusion once every 3 weeks. Eligibility criteria were similar for each study, except for the histological subtype of the tumor or the extent of prior treatment with other anticancer agents, and all patients had normal or near-normal liver and renal function. The maximum plasma concentration (Cmax) and area under the plasma profile from time zero to infinity (AUC) of the drug were determined during the first cycle of therapy. Patients were evaluated for toxicity every week.
Results. Geometric mean±SD values of the pharmacokinetic parameters in 69 patients were: Cmax 1.14±0.52 ng/ml, AUC 39.9±16.6 ng·h/ml, and total body clearance (CL) 36.7±16.4 l/h per m2. The only significant correlation involving physical characteristics of the patients or pretreatment pathophysiological variables was a very weak relationship between alkaline phosphatase and AUC (r=0.39, P<0.01). The 15 patients with any baseline liver function test exceeding the upper limit of the normal ranges had a significantly greater (P=0.02) incidence of severe toxicity (80% vs 44%). Although the mean AUC of ET-743 in patients with elevated serum levels of hepatic enzymes was 17% greater than that in patients with normal pretreatment liver function tests, the difference was not significant (P=0.22). In addition, there was no distinct relationship between the grade of the most severe drug-related toxicity that occurred during the first cycle of therapy and the AUC for the entire cohort. The CL of ET-743 was found to be 27% greater in patients concurrently receiving dexamethasone as a preventative antiemetic than in those who were not, but the difference did not achieve statistical significance (P=0.08). There were no significant associations between CL (liters per hour) and body surface area or any other variable related to body size.
Conclusions. The risk of developing severe toxicity was substantially enhanced in patients with relatively moderate indications of hepatic dysfunction without a coincident effect on the CL of ET-743. Dexamethasone cotreatment appeared to decrease the incidence of severe toxicity as well as the AUC of the drug. Delivering a fixed amount of drug without adjustment for the height or weight of the patient may be more appropriate than dose normalization due to the absence of an association between CL and body surface area. Optimizing dosing strategies to further enhance the therapeutic index of ET-743 may depend upon obtaining a better understanding of the metabolic fate of the drug in humans.