A phase I and pharmacokinetic study of paclitaxel and epirubicin in advanced cancer


The objectives of this phase I trial were to determine the maximally tolerated doses of the combination of epirubicin and paclitaxel with and without G-CSF (granulocyte colony stimulating factor) support and to investigate whether epirubicin pharmacokinetics are altered by paclitaxel. Patients with advanced cancer, performance status 0–2, and a normal left ventricular ejection fraction who had received up to 1 prior chemotherapy regimen were treated with epirubicin followed by a 3-hour infusion of paclitaxel repeated every 3 weeks. Dose levels studied were (paclitaxel/epirubicin) 155/75, 175/75, 175/90, 200/90 mg/m2 without G-CSF and 175/90 mg/m2 with G-CSF. Thirty-five patients were entered and all were assessable for toxicity. The dose-limiting dose level was 175 mg/m2 paclitaxel and 90 mg/m2 epirubicin with limiting toxicities of febrile neutropenia, diarrhea and esophagitis. The addition of G-CSF did not allow escalation of epirubicin. No significant cardiac toxicity was observed. Epirubicin pharmacokinetics were studied during the first 2 cycles in 6 patients, who were randomized to receive 1 cycle with no interval between the completion of the epirubicin and the commencement of the paclitaxel infusion and the other cycle with a 72-hour interval between the drugs. There was no substantial effect of paclitaxel on epirubicin or epirubicinol pharmacokinetics, although there was a marginal increase in glucoronidation. In conclusion, paclitaxel 175 mg/m2 and epirubicin 75 mg/m2 is recommended for phase II and III studies.

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Rischin, D., Webster, L.K., Millward, M.J. et al. A phase I and pharmacokinetic study of paclitaxel and epirubicin in advanced cancer. Invest New Drugs 17, 73–80 (1999). https://doi.org/10.1023/A:1006219601797

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  • taxanes
  • anthracyclines
  • pharmacology