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Phase-1 trial of gefitinib and temozolomide in patients with malignant glioma: a North American brain tumor consortium study

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This is a phase-I study of gefitinib in combination with temozolomide in patients with gliomas. The goal of the study was to define the maximum tolerated dose (MTD) and to characterize the pharmacokinetics of gefitinib when combined with temozolomide.

Patients and methods

Patients were stratified according to co-administration of enzyme-inducing anti-epileptic drugs (EIAEDs). There were 26 evaluable patients enrolled (16 on EIAEDs, 10 not on EIAEDs). All but seven patients had Glioblastoma Multiforme (GBM), and only six cases had a Karnosfsky Performance Status (KPS) of less than 80; median age was 51 years. All had received prior radiotherapy and 14 patients had no prior chemotherapy. The starting dose of temozolomide was 150 mg/m2/day for 5 days every 28 days and could be escalated to a maximum dose of 200 mg/m2/day in subsequent cycles. The starting dose of gefitinib was 500 mg/day given by mouth on a continuous basis. Dose-limiting toxicity was assessed in cycle one only.


For patients on EIAEDs, the MTD of gefitinib was 1,000 mg/day in combination with temozolomide. Dose-limiting toxicity (DLT) was due to diarrhea, nausea and vomiting. For patients not on EIAEDs, the MTD was 250 mg/day in combination with temozolomide. The DLT was due to increases in liver transaminases. Rash was not a significant toxicity at these dose levels. The peak concentration and AUC0-24hr at the 500 mg dose level was 1.8 and 2.5-fold lower, respectively, in the EIAED group compared to the non-EIAED group; trough levels of gefitinib increased in both groups consistent with the reported terminal half-life ranging from 27 to 51 h.


The recommended phase-2 dose of gefitinib when used in combination with temozolomide is 1,000 and 250 mg/day, respectively, for patients on or not on EIAEDs.

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This study was supported by the following grants: NABTC grants: CA62399, CA62422, CA62412, U01CA62407-08, CA62455-08, U01CA62405, CA62426, U01CA62399 No. 022330 (for NABTC98-03 only), U01CA62399, 5-U01CA62399-09, U01CA62399-09, and U01CA62421-08. GCRC grants: M01-RR00079, CA16672, M01-RR00633, M01-RR00056, M01-RR0865, M01-RR00042, M01-RR03186.

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Correspondence to Michael D. Prados.

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Prados, M.D., Yung, W.K.A., Wen, P.Y. et al. Phase-1 trial of gefitinib and temozolomide in patients with malignant glioma: a North American brain tumor consortium study. Cancer Chemother Pharmacol 61, 1059–1067 (2008).

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