Article

Preclinical evaluation of novel, all-in-one formulations of 5-fluorouracil and folinic acid with reduced toxicity profiles

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Abstract

5-Fluorouracil (5-FU) in combination with its synergistic biomodulator folinic acid maintains a pivotal position in cancer chemotherapy. However, clinical limitations such as phlebitis and catheter blockages persist with the administration of these drugs in combination, and are associated with reduced efficacy and/or quality of life for patients. We have reported earlier on the novel, all-in-one, pH neutral, parenteral 5-FU and folinic acid formulations (termed Fluorodex) incorporating β-cyclodextrins. Fluorodex maintains potency while overcoming the accepted incompatibility of 5-FU and folinic acid. We carried out toxicological, pharmacokinetic and biodistribution, and efficacy evaluations of Fluorodex compared with 5-FU:folinic acid using several administration routes and schedules in two rodent models. These were compared with the dose-matched sequential administration of 5-FU:folinic acid. Fluorodex showed bioequivalence to 5-FU:folinic acid as assessed by the tissue distribution and pharmacokinetic studies of 5-FU, but was generally better tolerated as determined by weight loss, hematological, and other clinical parameters. Compared with 5-FU:folinic acid, Fluorodex was also associated with reduced phlebitis using a rabbit ear vein model. Furthermore, using human carcinoma tumor models in mice, Fluorodex resulted in equivalent or improved efficacy profiles compared with 5-FU:folinic acid. In conclusion, these novel, all-in-one formulations represent a superior injectable form of 5-FU that allows codelivery of folinic acid. This should translate into improved patient tolerability with potential for enhanced efficacy.

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... This was achieved by incorporating either sulfated b-cyclodextrin (S-b-CD; 7-14 sulfate groups) or a 2-(hydroxypropyl)-b-cyclodextrin (HP-b-CD) as excipients [3]. These formulations significantly reduce phlebitis, thus improving the tolerability of current intravenous 5-FU regimens while maintaining all cytotoxic properties in vitro and in animal tumor models [4]. ...
... We have previously reported that a 5-FU formulation incorporating 172 mg/ml of S-b-CD [termed FD(S)] not only retained anticoagulant properties [3] but was also shown to reduce tumor growth more effectively than 5-FU/LV in an orthotopic human xenograft tumor model in mice [4]. It is possible that the improved efficacy of FD(S) is partly because of the anticoagulation properties of the S-b-CD component of the formulation [3]. ...
... However, S-b-CDs have also been reported to modify a number of processes involved in angiogenesis in a concentration-dependent manner [5,20,21]. As the maximum tolerated dose (MTD) of FD(S) represents a systemic concentration of S-b-CD of B2 mmol/l/dose at which no bleeding problems were observed [4], it is conceivable that the improved anticancer effect of FD(S) compared with 5-FU/LV at the MTD is in part also because of the antiangiogenesis properties of S-b-CD. ...
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Sulfated β-cyclodextrins (S-β-CDs) are useful excipients for improving the solubility of drugs. One such formulation incorporating 5-fluorouracil (5-FU), termed FD(S), showed improved efficacy over 5-FU alone in orthotopic carcinoma xenograft models. S-β-CDs have heparin-like anticoagulant properties, which may have contributed toward the improved antitumor effect of FD(S). S-β-CDs have also been reported to modify a number of processes involved in angiogenesis. Although the anticoagulant nature of S-β-CDs was established, the antiangiogenic properties of S-β-CDs within FD(S) were unknown. The effect of S-β-CD and FD(S) on the proliferation and migration of endothelial cells in live-cell kinetic assays, and the reorganization of human umbilical vein endothelial cells into tubule structures in vitro was assessed. The effects of S-β-CD on angiogenesis in vitro were validated ex vivo using the rat aorta ring assay and the chick embryo chorioallantoic membrane assay. S-β-CD does not alter proliferative endothelial cell sensitivity to 5-FU cytotoxicity. S-β-CD alone and within FD(S) significantly inhibited angiogenesis by impeding endothelial cell migration, resulting in the inhibition of tubule formation and hence new vasculature. In addition to the cytotoxic action of the drug 5-FU, therapeutic inhibition of angiogenesis by S-β-CDs within FD(S) could potentially limit local invasion and metastases. This has important implications for the exploitation of S-β-CDs for drug formulation improvements or for drug delivery of anticancer biologics.
... Another study provided references for some of its chemotherapeutic regimens but for others the authors stated that the regimens were based on previous experiments conducted by the group, however these data were not published or reported (18). Only one study (25) included chemotherapeutic agent calculations based on body surface area. ...
... The commonest 5FU dose was between 15-20mg/kg/day IP and 10mg/kg/day for leucovorin. Stutchbury (25) published a novel all-in-one formulation of 5FU and leucovorin (Fluorodex -FD), where a reduced toxicity profile was reported. They reported a maximum tolerated dose of 5-FU administered between 600 and 675mg/m 2 (200 and 225mg/kg) either as single or fractionated IP bolus doses over 2 weeks i.e. 20-22.5mg/kg/day). ...
... TGI, BWC; %, growth delay period (GDP), which indicates the difference in the period during which the relative tumor volume grew to 4 (corresponding to 50% of the size of the control tumors at the endpoint on day 22) and toxicity, defined as a 20% or more body weight loss or toxic death. (25) Toxicological, pharmacokinetic, biodistribution, and efficacy evaluations of Fluorodex (FD) compared with 5-FU: Leucovorin was undertaken. These were compared with the dose-matched sequential administration of 5-FU: Leucovorin. ...
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In vivo studies in animal models are critical tools necessary to study the fundamental complexity of carcinogenesis. A constant strive to improve animal models in cancer exists, especially those investigating the use of chemotherapeutic effectiveness. In the present systematic review, colorectal cancer (CRC) is used as an example to highlight and critically evaluate the range of reporting strategies used when investigating chemotherapeutic agents in the preclinical setting. A systematic review examining the methodology and reporting of preclinical chemotherapeutic drug studies using CRC murine models was conducted. A total of 45 studies were included in this systematic review. The literature was found to be highly heterogeneous with various cell lines, animal strains, animal ages and chemotherapeutic compounds/regimens tested, proving difficult to compare outcomes between similar studies or indeed gain any significant insight into which chemotherapeutic regimen caused adverse events. From this analysis we propose a minimum core outcome dataset that could be regarded as a standardised way of reporting results from in vivo experimentation.
... Irinotecan infusion with 5-FU therapy improved the survival rate in MCRC, and the primary results showed better tolerability with few adverse effects. 292 Saltz et al. reported that although irinotecan [(125 mg/m 2 )/ bolus 5-FU(500 mg/m 2 )/ LV(20 mg/m 2 )] was a better alternative therapy than 5-FU/LV regimen (Roswell Park) in terms of response rate, progression-free survival, and overall survival for 5-FU refractory MCRC. However, in case of stage III colon cancer after curative resection, the therapy did not showed any clinical benefit. ...
... In particular, the gastroduodenal and eye damage of several NSAIDs is reduced [38], [39] protect against the tissue irritation/injuries in a parenterally or topically administered compounds ( such as β-CD, and chlorpromazine in rats and retinal acid in humans ). [40] Whilst the decrease in prostaglandin synthesis incurred by NSAID is well established as a leader in gastrointestinal toxicity, NSAIDs are also known to be direct gastrointestinal mucosal irritants. The fact that NSAIDs such as indomethacin, rofecoxib or flurbprofen are used to decrease gastrointestinal toxicity substantially suggests cyclodextrins are reduced local toxins, and/or are increased tolerances by forming integration complexes that effectively reduce direct contact / exposures to the compounds. ...
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Most of the medicines contain excipients. They are added for a number of purposes and can improve product performance, Excipients are generally added along with the active pharmaceutical ingredients Historically, it considered as inactive materials from pharmacology and come from various sources such as biological, mineral and synthesis. The safety of excipients has received less attention because of its inertia. However, it is now known that three problems may compromise drug safety: production, distribution, and use; also drug-excipient interactions; and toxicity,it was concluded that , the potential adverse effect of the excipients should not be underestimated and a periodic review and follow up of side effects that may appear and occur after a drug administration should not be limited to the active medication in the drug formula but also the excipient should be taken into account.
... The sterile inflammation caused by the antineoplastic drug stimulates the wall of blood vessels. One reason for that is the chemotherapy always has multiple courses, and patients need to get long and repeated infusion therapy and the antineoplastic drugs have strong stimulation to vessels [4][5][6] . Another reason is that antineoplastic drugs possess cellular and chemical toxicity 7 . ...
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Purpose:: To develop a chemotherapeutics induced phlebitis and explore the effects of Xianchen on the phlebitis treatment. Methods:: Forty-eight rabbits were divided into two series. Phlebitis model induced by vincristine was established at each series. The first series had 24 rabbits, which were divided into four groups (6 hours, 12 hours, 18 hours, 24 hours) after vincristine infusion. The grades of phlebitis through visual observation and histopathological examination were observed. The second series had also 24 rabbits. Interventions were performed 12 hours after vincristine infusion. These rabbits were randomly divided into four groups, according to treatment: Hirudoid (bid), Xianchen (daily), Xianchen (tid), Xianchen (five times a day). Four days after intervention, the venous injury through visual observation and histopathological examination were evaluated. Results:: Series 1: Phlebitis appeared 12 hours after infusion of vincristine through visual observation. There was a significant difference (p<0.05) between 6 hours and 24 hours, 6 hours and 18 hours through visual observation. However, the inflammation happened 6 hours after infusion, the loss of venous endothelial cells demonstrated differences among four groups through histopathological evaluation (p<0.05). There were significant differences (p<0.05) after 4 days among the intervention groups through visual observation, the effects of Xianchen group (five times a day) were better than Xianchen group (tid) (p<0.01). The treatment of edema demonstrated differences among groups through histopathological evaluation (p<0.05), Xianchen (five times a day) better relieved the degree of edema (p<0.05). Conclusions:: The study showed that inflammatory reaction of phlebitis appeared early. Xianchen can treat vincristine induced phlebitis, as well as Hirudoid. It is particularly effective in the treatment of edema, and there is a remarkable dose-response relationship.
... In particular, the association of hydroxypropyl-b-cyclodextrin (HPbCD)/flurbiprofen showed a reduction in gastroduodenal toxicity in rats. The association of 5-fluorouracil and folinic acid/bcyclodextrin resulted in a reduced phlebitis in a rabbit ear vein model [11,12]. Moreover, other preclinical studies suggested that the administration of complexes HPbCD or b-cyclodextrin and ketorolac, meloxicam, or naproxen led to a reduction in the risk of ulcers and gastric damage [11,13,14]. ...
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The standard adjuvant treatment of colon cancer is fluorouracil plus leucovorin (FL). Oxaliplatin improves the efficacy of this combination in patients with metastatic colorectal cancer. We evaluated the efficacy of treatment with FL plus oxaliplatin in the postoperative adjuvant setting. We randomly assigned 2246 patients who had undergone curative resection for stage II or III colon cancer to receive FL alone or with oxaliplatin for six months. The primary end point was disease-free survival. A total of 1123 patients were randomly assigned to each group. After a median follow-up of 37.9 months, 237 patients in the group given FL plus oxaliplatin had had a cancer-related event, as compared with 293 patients in the FL group (21.1 percent vs. 26.1 percent; hazard ratio for recurrence, 0.77; P=0.002). The rate of disease-free survival at three years was 78.2 percent (95 percent confidence interval, 75.6 to 80.7) in the group given FL plus oxaliplatin and 72.9 percent (95 percent confidence interval, 70.2 to 75.7) in the FL group (P=0.002 by the stratified log-rank test). In the group given FL plus oxaliplatin, the incidence of febrile neutropenia was 1.8 percent, the incidence of gastrointestinal adverse effects was low, and the incidence of grade 3 sensory neuropathy was 12.4 percent during treatment, decreasing to 1.1 percent at one year of follow-up. Six patients in each group died during treatment (death rate, 0.5 percent). Adding oxaliplatin to a regimen of fluorouracil and leucovorin improves the adjuvant treatment of colon cancer.
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Cyclodextrins are cyclic oligomers of glucose that can form water-soluble inclusion complexes with small molecules and portions of large compounds. These biocompatible, cyclic oligosaccharides do not elicit immune responses and have low toxicities in animals and humans. Cyclodextrins are used in pharmaceutical applications for numerous purposes, including improving the bioavailability of drugs. Current cyclodextrin-based therapeutics are described and possible future applications discussed. Cyclodextrin-containing polymers are reviewed and their use in drug delivery presented. Of specific interest is the use of cyclodextrin-containing polymers to provide unique capabilities for the delivery of nucleic acids.
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The incidence of 5-fluorouracil (5-FU)-related cardiotoxicity seems to be dosage and schedule dependent. It was reported as 1.6-3% with earlier bolus regimens whereas this increased up to 7.6-18% with prolonged (4-5 days) infusion regimens. Knowledge of the cardiotoxicity incidence in patients treated with the widely used de Gramont's regimen (2 days infusional 5-FU) and the long-term follow-up of affected patients is still limited. We investigated the incidence and clinical characteristics of the cardiotoxicity of de Gramont's regimen and long-term follow-up of the affected patients. Nine of a total of 231 patients receiving de Gramont's regimen experienced cardiac events, revealing an overall incidence of 3.9%. Four (2.5%) cases were receiving de Gramont's regimen only. Cardiac manifestations were acute coronary syndrome (n = 6), congestive heart failure (n = 2) and atrial fibrillation (n = 1). Cardiotoxicity occurred in the first cycle in eight patients, and in the second cycle in one. The median onset day was day 2. Cardiac symptoms occurred mostly at night time (seven patients) and the onset was a few hours after the bolus part of the regimen in four out of seven patients. After the cardiotoxicity, treatments were continued safely without 5-FU. de Gramont's regimen has a lower incidence of cardiotoxicity compared with more prolonged 5-FU-based infusion regimens. Nevertheless, patients should still be carefully monitored especially in the first cycles and at night time.
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Venous thromboembolism (VTE) is responsible for an estimated 25 000 deaths per annum in UK hospital practice. It is well established that many of these deaths could be prevented through the use of appropriate thromboprophylaxis. This issue is of particular relevance in oncology practice, where the risks of VTE and bleeding are both significantly higher than those observed in general medical patients. Cancer patients with in-dwelling central venous catheters (CVCs) are at particularly high risk of developing thrombotic complications. However, the literature has produced conflicting conclusions regarding the efficacy of using routine primary thromboprophylaxis in these patients. Indeed such is the level of confusion around this topic, that the most recent version of the American College of Chest Physicians (ACCP) guidelines published in 2004 actually reversed their previous recommendation (published in 2001). Nevertheless, minidose warfarin continues to be routinely used in many oncology centres in the UK. In this article, we have performed a systematic review of the published literature regarding the efficacy and the risks, associated with using thromboprophylaxis (either minidose warfarin or low-dose LMWH) in cancer patients with CVC. On the basis of this evidence, we conclude that there is no proven role for using such thromboprophylaxis. However, asymptomatic CVC-related venous thrombosis remains common, and further more highly powered studies of better design are needed in order to define whether specific subgroups of cancer patients might benefit from receiving thromboprophylaxis.
Article
PURPOSE: In a previous study of treatment for advanced colorectal cancer, the LV5FU2 regimen, comprising leucovorin (LV) plus bolus and infusional fluorouracil (5FU) every 2 weeks, was superior to the standard North Central Cancer Treatment Group/Mayo Clinic 5-day bolus 5FU/LV regimen. This phase III study investigated the effect of combining oxaliplatin with LV5FU2, with progression-free survival as the primary end point. PATIENTS AND METHODS: Four hundred twenty previously untreated patients with measurable disease were randomized to receive a 2-hour infusion of LV (200 mg/m²/d) followed by a 5FU bolus (400 mg/m²/d) and 22-hour infusion (600 mg/m²/d) for 2 consecutive days every 2 weeks, either alone or together with oxaliplatin 85 mg/m² as a 2-hour infusion on day 1. RESULTS: Patients allocated to oxaliplatin plus LV5FU2 had significantly longer progression-free survival (median, 9.0 v 6.2 months; P = .0003) and better response rate (50.7% v 22.3%; P = .0001) when compared with the control arm. The improvement in overall survival did not reach significance (median, 16.2 v 14.7 months; P = .12). LV5FU2 plus oxaliplatin gave higher frequencies of National Cancer Institute common toxicity criteria grade 3/4 neutropenia (41.7% v 5.3% of patients), grade 3/4 diarrhea (11.9% v 5.3%), and grade 3 neurosensory toxicity (18.2% v 0%), but this did not result in impairment of quality of life (QoL). Survival without disease progression or deterioration in global health status was longer in patients allocated to oxaliplatin treatment (P = .004). CONCLUSION: The LV5FU2-oxaliplatin combination seems beneficial as first-line therapy in advanced colorectal cancer, demonstrating a prolonged progression-free survival with acceptable tolerability and maintenance of QoL.
Article
Twenty-two patients with advanced colorectal carcinoma were enrolled in this study. Ten patients had received prior chemotherapy that included the combination of fluorouracil (5-FU) and leucovorin (LV). All patients required subcutaneous port insertion and portable external infusion pumps to allow outpatient treatment. 5-FU (2,600 mg/m2) was administered concurrently with LV (500 mg/m2) over 24 hours of continuous infusion. The mean steady-state plasma concentration of 5-FU was 10 mumol/L (range, 7 to 14 mumol/L). The 5-FU dose was based on our previous phase I study, in which maximum-tolerated dose (MTD) of 5-FU was determined to be 2,600 mg/m2 in combination with a fixed dose of LV at 500 mg/m2. The treatment was repeated weekly. Twenty-two patients received a total of 560 courses of treatment. Eleven instances of grade 2-3 toxicity were observed: diarrhea (five), stomatitis (three), hand/foot syndrome (three). The overall objective response was 45% (10 of 22) and among previously untreated patients was 58%. Three of the responders achieved complete response (CR), with lung and liver as the metastatic sites. The median duration of survival for the previously untreated patients was not reached at 22 months, and was 10 months for the previously treated patients. These results suggest that short-term infusional therapy of 5-FU and LV in patients with advanced metastatic colorectal cancer generates acceptable toxicity, with equivalent or superior survivability in previously treated and untreated patients versus alternative methods of administration of the two agents.
Article
The purpose of this study was to evaluate the effectiveness of several new approaches designed to enhance the activity of fluorouracil (5-FU) in the management of advanced colorectal cancer. A total of 429 patients were randomized to one of the following regimens: single-agent 5-FU, given by standard 5-day, intensive-course intravenous bolus technique; 5-FU plus high-dose folinic acid (leucovorin) or 5-FU plus low-dose leucovorin; 5-FU plus high-dose methotrexate (MTX) with oral leucovorin rescue; 5-FU plus low-dose MTX; and 5-FU plus cisplatin (CDDP). The median survival for patients receiving 5-FU alone was 7.7 months. The high- and low-dose leucovorin plus 5-FU regimens had median survivals of 12.2 and 12.0 months, respectively, and offered a significant survival advantage over 5-FU alone with one-sided P values of .037 and .050, respectively (P = .051 for each treatment after correction for prognostic variables). The only other regimen possibly associated with improved survival was high-dose MTX plus 5-FU, with a median survival of 10.5 months (P = .21, P = .076 corrected). In addition, both high- and low-dose leucovorin plus 5-FU regimens were associated with significantly improved tumor response rates (P = .04 and .001) and significantly improved interval-to-tumor-progression rates (P = .015 and .007) when compared with 5-FU alone. Only the low-dose leucovorin plus 5-FU regimen was associated with significant (P less than .05) superiority in each of the following parameters of quality of life: performance status, weight gain, and symptomatic relief. The overall most therapeutically favorable regimen in this trial was 5-FU given with low-dose leucovorin; fortuitously, this regimen is associated with very low drug cost. Whereas this is the first study to demonstrate both improved palliation and survival for any regimen compared with 5-FU given by rapid intravenous (IV) injection for 5 consecutive days at a dose of 500 mg/m2/d in patients with advanced colorectal cancer, the magnitude of the gain is still relatively small. Our low-dose leucovorin plus 5-FU regimen is currently being studied in a national trial with the hope that this increased advanced disease activity may produce more substantive gains in the surgical adjuvant setting.
Article
5-Fluorouracil (5-FU) is widely used in the treatment of cancer. Over the past 20 years, increased understanding of the mechanism of action of 5-FU has led to the development of strategies that increase its anticancer activity. Despite these advances, drug resistance remains a significant limitation to the clinical use of 5-FU, Emerging technologies, such as DNA microarray profiling, have the potential to identify novel genes that are involved in mediating resistance to 5-FU. Such target genes might prove to be therapeutically valuable as new targets for chemotherapy, or as predictive biomarkers of response to 5-FU-based chemotherapy.
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Cyclodextrins are cyclic oligomers of glucose that can form water-soluble inclusion complexes with small molecules and portions of large compounds. These biocompatible, cyclic oligosaccharides do not elicit immune responses and have low toxicities in animals and humans. Cyclodextrins are used in pharmaceutical applications for numerous purposes, including improving the bioavailability of drugs. Current cyclodextrin-based therapeutics are described and possible future applications discussed. Cyclodextrin-containing polymers are reviewed and their use in drug delivery presented. Of specific interest is the use of cyclodextrin-containing polymers to provide unique capabilities for the delivery of nucleic acids.
Article
Background Standard adjuvant chemotherapy for colorectal cancer consists of fluorouracil with folinic acid or levamisole. The large QUASAR randomised trial aimed to investigate (in a two x two design) whether use of a higher dose of folinic acid or addition of levamisole to fluorouracil and folinic acid improved survival. Methods Patients with colorectal cancer, without evident residual disease, were randomly assigned fluorouracil (370 mg/m(2)) with high-dose (175 mg) or low-dose (15 mg) L-folinic acid and either active or placebo levamisole. The fluorouracil and folinic acid could be given either as six 5-day courses with 4 weeks between the start of the courses or as 30 once-weekly doses. Levamisole (50 mg) or placebo was given three times daily for 3 days repeated every 2 weeks for 12 courses. The primary endpoint was mortality from any cause. Analyses were by intention to treat. Findings Between 1994 and 1997, 4927 patients were enrolled. 1776 had recurrences and 1576 died. Survival was similar with high-dose and low-dose folinic acid (70.1% vs 71.0% at 3 years; p=0.43), as were 3-year recurrence rates (36.0% vs 35.8%; p=0.94). Survival was worse with levamisole than with placebo (69.4% vs 71.5% at 3 years; p=0.06). and there were more recurrences with the active drug (37.0% vs 34.9% at 3 years; p=0.16). Interpretation The inclusion of levamisole in chemotherapy regimens for colorectal cancer does not delay recurrence or improve survival. Higher-dose folinic acid produced no extra benefit in these regimens over that from low-dose folinic acid. Trials of chemotherapy versus no chemotherapy will show whether these four treatments are equally effective or equally ineffective.
Article
Objective: Previous studies have shown that the endogenous overexpression of human plasminogen activator inhibitor type-2 (PAI-2) in tumour cells decrease their ability to grow and metastasise. The therapeutic utility of PAI-2, however, remains poorly evaluated. In this study the kinetics and biodistribution of recombinant human PAI-2 were determined in a xenograft Nu/Nu mouse model of human colon cancer and compared to control mice (i.e. without a human xenograft tumour). Design: 125I-labelled recombinant PAI-2 was injected intravenously and the pharmacokinetics and biodistribution determined in control Nu/Nu mice or mice carrying a subcutaneous HCT116 human colon cancer xenograft. Results: The clearance of 125I-PAI-2 from mouse plasma was found to be a biphasic process and radioactivity was excreted via the urine in a degraded form. While radioactivity corresponding to intact PAI-2 localized to tumour xenograft tissues quickly (after 1 min, peaking after 30–60 min at 1.3% of injected dose), the majority of radioactivity localized to major organs (e.g., liver, kidneys) 5 min after intravenous injection of 125I-PAI-2 in both tumour bearing and control mice. However, radioactivity was cleared more rapidly from these organs when compared to tumour tissues. Moreover, multiple injections of 125I-PAI-2 resulted in an increased uptake of radioactivity in tumour xenografts without accompanying increases in the liver. Furthermore, the clearance rate was markedly increased by the presence of a tumour xenograft indicating the requirement to undertake pharmacokinetic studies in diseased as well as control animals. Conclusion: Our results provide important information concerning the pharmacokinetics and biodistribution of PAI-2 and indicates that the presence of a tumour may affect these parameters. Moreover, the localization and accumulation of PAI-2 in tumour tissues argues for a potential therapeutic use in human cancer.
Article
The use of bolus 5-fluorouracil (5-FU) as a short-term infusion over 10–30min is increasing at the cost of a push injection, mainly due to practical advantages. Since even a short prolongation of the administration time results in lower 5-FU peak and area under the curve (AUC) levels, there might be a risk of decreased efficacy. The aim of this study was to compare a rapid intravenous (i.v.) 5-FU injection and a short-term 5-FU infusion with respect to objective responses and toxicity in patients with advanced colorectal cancer. 203 patients with measurable advanced colorectal cancer were randomised to bolus 5-FU either as an injection for 2–4min or as a short-term infusion lasting 10–20min. In both groups, the 5-FU dose was 500mg/m2 and leucovorin 60mg/m2 was given 40min after the start of 5-FU. Treatment was given on two successive days every other week until progression. Objective tumour regression was seen in 27/100 (27%) in the injection group and in 13/103 (13%) in the infusion group (P=0.02). Severe toxicity was rare and did not differ significantly between the groups. Progression-free survival tended to be longer in the injection group (P=0.07), but overall survival did not differ between the groups. Bolus 5-FU should be administered as a rapid i.v. injection rather than as a short-term infusion, since the former rate of administration results in a higher response rate without being significantly more toxic.
Article
A two-compartment physiologic pharmacokinetic model has been developed for 5-fluorouracil (5FU). This model, which incorporates saturable whole body clearance, satisfactorily predicts disappearance kinetics after an intravenous bolus and steady-state levels during constant intravenous infusions. A half-saturating concentration (KM) of 15M was determined by comparison of model simulations with literature data. Both hepatic and extrahepatic elimination can be inferred for 5FU, but the exact anatomic or compartmental location of the clearance cannot be determined from the available clinical data.The effect of venous and arterial plasma sampling is discussed. This model has been extended to include intraperitoneal and oral administration of 5FU by the addition of peritoneal fluid and liver compartments.
Article
5-Fluorouracil in combination with its biomodulator folinic acid maintains a pivotal position in current anticancer treatment regimens. However, limitations in clinical management persist with the administration of these drugs. These limitations are associated with the use of a high pH to maintain 5-fluorouracil in solution, resulting in high rates of phlebitis and catheter blockages. Herein, we describe and compare initial studies on novel all-in-one formulations of 5-fluorouracil and folinic acid incorporating either sulfated or hydroxypropyl beta-cyclodextrins at physiological pH that potentially address these issues. All formulations markedly improved the stability of supersaturated solutions of 5-fluorouracil in the presence of folinic acid. In-vitro evaluation of the PC-3, HCT-116, MDA-MB-231, PC-14, and COLO-201 human carcinoma cell lines showed that all formulations exhibited equivalent or better cytotoxicity compared with cells exposed to 5-fluorouracil and folinic acid. Thus, these cyclodextrins do not compromise the cytotoxicity of 5-fluorouracil. Preliminary in-vivo dose tolerance profiles of the formulations were also equivalent to 5-fluorouracil and folinic acid administered separately. Furthermore, given the association between thrombosis and cancer, the potentially beneficial anticoagulant activity of the sulfated cyclodextrin-based formulations was also confirmed in vitro. Extended activated partial thromboplastin times and prothrombin times were observed for the sulfated cyclodextrins in human plasma both as individual compounds and as components of the formulations. In conclusion, these novel all-in-one formulations maintain the in-vitro potency while overcoming the accepted incompatibility of 5-fluorouracil and folinic acid, and represent improved injectable forms of 5-fluorouracil that may reduce phlebitis, catheter blockages, and thromboembolic events.
Article
Twenty-two patients with advanced colorectal carcinoma were enrolled in this study. Ten patients had received prior chemotherapy that included the combination of fluorouracil (5-FU) and leucovorin (LV). All patients required subcutaneous port insertion and portable external infusion pumps to allow outpatient treatment. 5-FU (2,600 mg/m2) was administered concurrently with LV (500 mg/m2) over 24 hours of continuous infusion. The mean steady-state plasma concentration of 5-FU was 10 mumol/L (range, 7 to 14 mumol/L). The 5-FU dose was based on our previous phase I study, in which maximum-tolerated dose (MTD) of 5-FU was determined to be 2,600 mg/m2 in combination with a fixed dose of LV at 500 mg/m2. The treatment was repeated weekly. Twenty-two patients received a total of 560 courses of treatment. Eleven instances of grade 2-3 toxicity were observed: diarrhea (five), stomatitis (three), hand/foot syndrome (three). The overall objective response was 45% (10 of 22) and among previously untreated patients was 58%. Three of the responders achieved complete response (CR), with lung and liver as the metastatic sites. The median duration of survival for the previously untreated patients was not reached at 22 months, and was 10 months for the previously treated patients. These results suggest that short-term infusional therapy of 5-FU and LV in patients with advanced metastatic colorectal cancer generates acceptable toxicity, with equivalent or superior survivability in previously treated and untreated patients versus alternative methods of administration of the two agents.
Article
Although 5-fluorouracil (FUra) is one of the most effective cytotoxic agents in the treatment of various solid tumors (carcinomas of the gastro-intestinal tract, breast, head and neck), remissions occur in only 20-30% of cases and usually are of short duration. Recently, preclinical studies have shown that the antitumor activity of FUra can be potentiated by modulating the metabolism of this drug by using other substances, in particular 5-formyltetrahydrofolate (folinate, LV). Reduced folates (LV and 5-methyltetrahydrofolate) at concentrations greater than or equal to 1 microM can, by raising the intracellular levels of 5,10-methylenetetrahydrofolate, increase and prolong the inhibition of the target enzyme, thymidylate synthase, with formation of a stable ternary complex formed by the enzyme, the folate coenzyme and the fluoropyrimidine inhibitor (5-fluorodeoxyuridylate). After phase II clinical trials reported encouraging results with the combination LV-FUra in the treatment of patients with various solid tumors, randomized controlled studies in patients with colorectal carcinoma have documented an increase in the response rate of the combination compared to treatment with FUra alone. The integration of the LV-FUra combination into multidrug regimens is now under investigation for the treatment of carcinomas of the breast, stomach, and head and neck.
Article
The purpose of this study was to evaluate the effectiveness of several new approaches designed to enhance the activity of fluorouracil (5-FU) in the management of advanced colorectal cancer. A total of 429 patients were randomized to one of the following regimens: single-agent 5-FU, given by standard 5-day, intensive-course intravenous bolus technique; 5-FU plus high-dose folinic acid (leucovorin) or 5-FU plus low-dose leucovorin; 5-FU plus high-dose methotrexate (MTX) with oral leucovorin rescue; 5-FU plus low-dose MTX; and 5-FU plus cisplatin (CDDP). The median survival for patients receiving 5-FU alone was 7.7 months. The high- and low-dose leucovorin plus 5-FU regimens had median survivals of 12.2 and 12.0 months, respectively, and offered a significant survival advantage over 5-FU alone with one-sided P values of .037 and .050, respectively (P = .051 for each treatment after correction for prognostic variables). The only other regimen possibly associated with improved survival was high-dose MTX plus 5-FU, with a median survival of 10.5 months (P = .21, P = .076 corrected). In addition, both high- and low-dose leucovorin plus 5-FU regimens were associated with significantly improved tumor response rates (P = .04 and .001) and significantly improved interval-to-tumor-progression rates (P = .015 and .007) when compared with 5-FU alone. Only the low-dose leucovorin plus 5-FU regimen was associated with significant (P less than .05) superiority in each of the following parameters of quality of life: performance status, weight gain, and symptomatic relief. The overall most therapeutically favorable regimen in this trial was 5-FU given with low-dose leucovorin; fortuitously, this regimen is associated with very low drug cost. Whereas this is the first study to demonstrate both improved palliation and survival for any regimen compared with 5-FU given by rapid intravenous (IV) injection for 5 consecutive days at a dose of 500 mg/m2/d in patients with advanced colorectal cancer, the magnitude of the gain is still relatively small. Our low-dose leucovorin plus 5-FU regimen is currently being studied in a national trial with the hope that this increased advanced disease activity may produce more substantive gains in the surgical adjuvant setting.
Article
The stability of fluorouracil in four portable infusion pumps under simulated infusion conditions was studied. Three commercially available fluorouracil aqueous solutions (50 mg/mL) were used. Samples adjusted to six pH levels were examined for precipitate. Drug reservoirs of four different portable infusion pumps were filled with 70 mL of each fluorouracil injection. Under conditions simulating actual use, the reservoirs were attached to the pumps and the solutions were pumped at a rate of 10 mL/24 hours over a seven-day period at 25°C and 37°C. Samples at the distal end of the extension tubing were collected hourly for the first 10 hours and at 12-hour intervals thereafter. Visual observations and pH determinations were made immediately. Drug concentrations were determined by reverse-phase high-performance liquid chromatography. Diethylhexylphthalate (DEHP) concentrations (the result of leaching from the plastic tubing and container) were determined by gas chromatography. In the pH study, precipitate appeared immediately in all fluorouracil injections below pH 8.52; precipitate was observed after two to four hours at pH 8.60-8.68. Under simulated infusion conditions, no apparent changes in concentration or pH were detected with any of the brands of drugs or portable infusion devices. At 25°C, a fine white precipitate was observed in the extension tubing of all devices with the Roche brand of fluorouracil 48 to 96 hours after the pumping cycle began. The amount of DEHP leached from the drug reservoirs over the seven-day period was less than 1 ppm at both temperatures. All tested brands of fluorouracil injection were found to be stable under simulated infusion conditions over a seven-day period at 37°C.
Article
The use of permanent intravenous access devices for chemotherapy administration has become a common practice in clinical oncology. Therefore, awareness of potential complications is important. The authors previously reported the use of high dose 5-fluorouracil (5-FU) (2600 mg/m2) and leucovorin (500 mg/m2) as a weekly 24-hour infusion for patients with colorectal carcinoma. In this report, a new complication of permanent indwelling catheters with high dose 5-fluorouracil (2600 mg/m2) and leucovorin (500 mg/m2) as a weekly 24-hour infusion for colorectal carcinoma is described. Twenty-two patients in the previous Phase II trial on weekly high dose 5-FU and leucovorin were included in this study. All patients had either a single-lumen Port-o-cath (Pharmacia Deltec, St. Paul, MN) or Hickman catheter (Travenol Laboratories, Deerfield, IL). Occluded catheters were explanted, and the material found in their lumen was analyzed using infrared spectroscopy. Eleven of 22 patients had catheter blockage, and calcium carbonate formation (Calcite 100%) was identified within these catheters. Calcite formation causing catheter occlusion is a new and important complication resulting from using intravenous access devices for chemotherapy administration. Oncologists should be alerted to this phenomenon when high dose 5-FU and leucovorin are administered for 24 hours by continuous infusion using a single-port port-o-cath.
Article
To determine the most effective dose of leucovorin (folinic acid [FA]) within a weekly bolus fluorouracil (FU) schedule, we conducted a randomized multicenter trial to compare therapeutic effects and toxicity of high-dose FA versus low-dose FA combined with FU at equal doses in both treatment groups. Patients with measurable inoperable or metastatic colorectal cancer were randomized to receive weekly FU 500 mg/m2 by intravenous (IV) bolus combined with high-dose FA 500 mg/m2 (group A) or low-dose FA 20 mg/m2 (group B) by 2-hour infusion. Of 291 assessable patients (group A, n = 148; group B, n = 143), we observed, in group A, complete response (CR)/partial response (PR) in 32 (21.6%), no change (NC) in 64 (43.2%), and progressive disease (PD) in 52 (35.1%); and in group B, CR/PR in 25 (17.5%), NC in 63 (44.1%), and PD in 55 (38.5%). The median response duration was 24.8 weeks in group A and 23.1 weeks in group B. Median progression-free intervals were 29.3 weeks (group A) and 30 weeks (group B). The median survival time was 55.1 weeks in group A and 54.1 weeks in group B. Overall toxicity was moderate. Mild nausea and vomiting, and stomatitis were common side effects in both groups. The incidence of World Health Organization (WHO) grade III/IV diarrhea was significantly higher in group A (40 v 23 patients). Severe side effects were observed only in a minority of patients in both arms. WHO grade IV diarrhea was observed in seven patients: four in group A and three in group B. The rate of toxicity-related adjustments of dose and schedule was comparable in both groups. High-dose FA/FU is not superior to low-dose FA/FU within a weekly treatment schedule. Response rates and survival were comparable in both treatment arms. Treatment-related toxicity was higher in group A (high-dose FA). Therefore, low-dose FA combined with weekly FU may be considered the preferred treatment for metastatic colorectal cancer.
Article
In 149 patients, treated with intermittent continuous infusion of different chemotherapeutic agents, 169 Port-a-Caths were implanted by qualified surgeons and residents in training. The peri- and postoperative complications of implantation of the Port-a-Cath system and the complications during treatment were retrospectively analysed. The Port-a-Cath was in situ for a total of 36247 days (median 181, range 1-1332). Of the 169 catheters, major complications occurred during treatment, with infection in 4 patients (2.4%), occlusion in 3 (1.8%), thrombosis in 8 (4.7%), extravasation in 8 (4.7%) and migration in 3 (1.8%). The peri- and postoperative complication rate was low, although pneumothorax occurred in 6 patients (3.6%). In 25 patients (14.8%) the Port-a-Cath had to be explanted due to complications. It can be concluded that continuous infusion of chemotherapy via a Port-a-Cath system is a relatively safe procedure, although major complications do occur. The experience of the surgeon could not be related to the complications.
Article
The use of bolus 5-fluorouracil (5-FU) as a short-term infusion over 10-30 min is increasing at the cost of a push injection, mainly due to practical advantages. Since even a short prolongation of the administration time results in lower 5-FU peak and area under the curve (AUC) levels, there might be a risk of decreased efficacy. The aim of this study was to compare a rapid intravenous (i.v.) 5-FU injection and a short-term 5-FU infusion with respect to objective responses and toxicity in patients with advanced colorectal cancer. 203 patients with measurable advanced colorectal cancer were randomised to bolus 5-FU either as an injection for 2-4 min or as a short-term infusion lasting 10-20 min. In both groups, the 5-FU dose was 500 mg/m2 and leucovorin 60 mg/m2 was given 40 min after the start of 5-FU. Treatment was given on two successive days every other week until progression. Objective tumour regression was seen in 27/100 (27%) in the injection group and in 13/103 (13%) in the infusion group (P = 0.02). Severe toxicity was rare and did not differ significantly between the groups. Progression-free survival tended to be longer in the injection group (P = 0.07), but overall survival did not differ between the groups. Bolus 5-FU should be administered as a rapid i.v. injection rather than as a short-term infusion, since the former rate of administration results in a higher response rate without being significantly more toxic.
Article
Twenty-four consecutive patients with metastatic breast carcinoma (MBC) refractory to first line chemotherapy were treated with high-dose folinic acid (FA) 100 mg/m2 diluted in 250 cc of normal saline as 2 hour infusion followed by 5-fluorouracil (5FU) 400 mg/m2 bolus then 5FU 600 mg/m2 as continuous infusion for 22 hours. This therapy was repeated for 2 consecutive days. Chemotherapy was repeated every 15 days. All enrolled patients were evaluable for objective response. A complete response was achieved in 1 patient (4%) and a partial response in 6 cases (25%) for an overall response rate of 29% (confidence limits 18%-39%). The median duration of objective responses was 8.4+ months (range 3.0+/12.8). Six patients showed no change (25%) with a median duration of 4.0 months 11 patients progressed (46%). A subjective improvement in tumor-related symptoms was reported by all responding patients and in 3 patients with no change. Most patients (7/10) with symptomatic bone lesions had a subjective improvement with reduction in analgesic drugs consumption. Objective responses were observed at all sites of disease. In fact, responses were seen in the skin liver lung bore and rodal metastases. The median overall survival was 13.0+ months (range 4.0/16.2+). Over a total of 160 cycles (a mean of 6.6 cycles/patient) grade 1-2 leukopenia was seen in 9 patients (37%) grade 1 thrombocytopenia in 4 patients (17%) and grade 1 anemia in only 2 cases (8%). Grade 3-4 leukopenia or thrombocytopenia were not seen. Phlebitis at the injection vein occurred in 3/10 patients (30%) which refused to implant a central line. In patients with a central line or a port-a-cath no cases of vascular, toxicity were seen. Gastrointestinal toxicity was very mild with 9 patients (37%) suffering from grade 1-2 nausea/vomiting 6 patients (25%) complaining of grade 1-2 diarrhea and 6 patients with grade 1-2 stomatitis. Hand-foot syndrome was observed in only 1 patient. No cases of grade 3-4 gastrointestinal toxicities have been, observed. No cases of cardiotoxicity and/or neurotoxicity were recorded. The combination of high-dose FA and 5FU given as 48 hour continuous venous infusion every 2 weeks is active, at least in terms of objective response rate and tumor-related symptoms palliation against anthracycline-refractory MBC. These results compare favorably with bolus administration of FA and 5FU or other salvage regimens.
Article
Since the discovery of the superiority of the combination 5-fluorouracil (5FU)-folinic acid (FA) in comparison to 5FU alone in the treatment of gastrointestinal cancers, the interest of this association has been demonstrated in many other tumors. In the treatment of advanced colorectal carcinoma, FA is usually administered in 1 or 2 h infusion before 5FU. In treatment of other cancers, the two drugs are generally mixed together in the same container and administered as a continuous intravenous infusion over several days. Many studies have demonstrated the stability of 5FU alone in different vials, but results about compatibility of 5FU with AF in racemate (d,l) or levogyre (l) forms are conflicting. The aim of our study was to determine the influence of the container, the concentrations of the two drugs and the form of folinic acid (d, l or l) on the stability of the 5 FU-FA admixtures. Based on drug concentrations corresponding to current 5FU-FA chemotherapeutic protocols, 5FU was used at 50 mg/ml and 6.5 mg/ml in association with equitherapeutic and equimolar doses of FA respectively. Each association has been studied in three types of containers. For all combinations with 5FU 50 mg/ml, flocculation was noted, whatever form or concentration of FA which associated. No influence of the type of containers was noted. No precipitate was observed with the combinations 5FU 6.5 mg/ml. The evolution of the concentrations of 5FU and FA with time have been compared with a regression straight corresponding to a loss of product of 10% in 96 h. The mixtures 5FU 6.5 mg/ml with FA (d,l) 4 mg/ml and FA (l) 2 and 4 mg/ml remained stable in the three types of container. When a precipitate was noted (with 5FU 50 mg/ml), the concentration of 5FU decreased with time, whereas FA was stable in racemate and levogyre forms. Analysis of the precipitate showed that principally 5FU and equal parts of FA and calcium constituted it. Our results allowed to conclude that 5FU mixed with FA (d,l or l) 2 mg/ml and 4 mg/ml remained stable during 96 h in glass vials, PVC infusion bags and cassettes for portable pump in normal conditions of temperature and light. A precipitate of 5FU appears systematically with the concentration 50 mg/ml. These findings do not confirm those obtained in previously published studies. It seems that the precipitation is more a result of the decline of 5FU solubility at high concentrations than the form of folinic acid associated.
Article
In a previous study of treatment for advanced colorectal cancer, the LV5FU2 regimen, comprising leucovorin (LV) plus bolus and infusional fluorouracil (5FU) every 2 weeks, was superior to the standard North Central Cancer Treatment Group/Mayo Clinic 5-day bolus 5FU/LV regimen. This phase III study investigated the effect of combining oxaliplatin with LV5FU2, with progression-free survival as the primary end point. Four hundred twenty previously untreated patients with measurable disease were randomized to receive a 2-hour infusion of LV (200 mg/m(2)/d) followed by a 5FU bolus (400 mg/m(2)/d) and 22-hour infusion (600 mg/m(2)/d) for 2 consecutive days every 2 weeks, either alone or together with oxaliplatin 85 mg/m(2) as a 2-hour infusion on day 1. Patients allocated to oxaliplatin plus LV5FU2 had significantly longer progression-free survival (median, 9.0 v 6.2 months; P =.0003) and better response rate (50.7% v 22.3%; P =.0001) when compared with the control arm. The improvement in overall survival did not reach significance (median, 16.2 v 14.7 months; P =. 12). LV5FU2 plus oxaliplatin gave higher frequencies of National Cancer Institute common toxicity criteria grade 3/4 neutropenia (41. 7% v 5.3% of patients), grade 3/4 diarrhea (11.9% v 5.3%), and grade 3 neurosensory toxicity (18.2% v 0%), but this did not result in impairment of quality of life (QoL). Survival without disease progression or deterioration in global health status was longer in patients allocated to oxaliplatin treatment (P =.004). The LV5FU2-oxaliplatin combination seems beneficial as first-line therapy in advanced colorectal cancer, demonstrating a prolonged progression-free survival with acceptable tolerability and maintenance of QoL.
Article
The aim of this study was to investigate the clinical pharmacokinetics of 5-fluorouracil (5-FU) and its major metabolite 5-fluoro-5,6-dihydrouracil (5-FDHU) in 20 colorectal cancer patients given two dose levels of 5-FU, 250 and 370 mg/m2, administered by i.v. bolus. A reverse-phase high-performance liquid chromatographic method was used for the simultaneous assay of 5-FU and 5-FDHU in plasma samples obtained at baseline and at multiple time points from 5 min to 4 h after 5-FU bolus as well as to assess the activity of dihydropyrimidine dehydrogenase (DPD) in peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs) before 5-FU dosing. Plasma pharmacokinetic parameters of patients given 250 mg/m2 5-FU were significantly different from those receiving 370 mg/m2; main differences were observed in the trapezoidal areas under the plasma levels-versus-time curve from to to the last measurable concentration (area under the curve, 3.77+/-0.21 versus 13.61+/-2.3 h x microg/ml), peak plasma concentration (Cmax, 18.15+/-1.35 versus 48.41+/-7.69 microg/ml), and total body clearance (CL(TB), 54.64+/-3.54 versus 25.43+/-2.3 l/h/m2). Significant differences were also observed in the main pharmacokinetic parameters of 5-FDHU after 250 and 370 mg/m2 5-FU including the area under the curve from to to 4 h (5.39+/-0.32 versus 8.75+/-1.24 h x microg/ml), Cmax (3.60+/-0.16 versus 5.26+/-0.55 microg/ml) and time to Cmax (Tmax, 0.45+/-0.03 versus 0.69+/-0.06 h). The mean DPD activity in PBMCs in this group of patients was 205.7+/-36.4 pmol of 5-FDHU/min/mg of protein and was within the normal range; however, no significant correlations were found between 5-FU or 5-FDHU pharmacokinetic parameters at two dose levels and DPD activity of PBMCs. The results of the present study provide the first detailed comparison of the distribution of 5-FU and its major metabolite 5-FDHU at the therapeutic level as well as at reduced test dose levels to obtain pharmacokinetic data to be used as reference values for the identification of patients at risk of major 5-FU toxicity due to impaired metabolism to 5-FDHU.
Article
Most current chemotherapy regimens for cancer consist of empirically designed combinations, based on efficacy and lack of overlapping toxicity. In the development of combinations, several aspects are often overlooked: (1) possible metabolic and biological interactions between drugs, (2) scheduling, and (3) different pharmacokinetic profiles. Antimetabolites are used widely in chemotherapy combinations for treatment of various leukemias and solid tumors. Ideally, the combination of two or more agents should be more effective than each agent separately (synergism), although additive and even antagonistic combinations may result in a higher therapeutic efficacy in the clinic. The median-drug effect analysis method is one of the most widely used methods for in vitro evaluation of combinations. Several examples of classical effective antimetabolite-(anti)metabolite combinations are discussed, such as that of methotrexate with 6-mercaptopurine or leucovorin in (childhood) leukemia and 5-fluorouracil (5FU) with leucovorin in colon cancer. More recent combinations include treatment of acute-myeloid leukemia with fludarabine and arabinosylcytosine. Other combinations, currently frequently used in the treatment of solid malignancies, include an antimetabolite with a DNA-damaging agent, such as gemcitabine with cisplatin and 5FU with the cisplatin analog oxaliplatin. The combination of 5FU and the topoisomerase inhibitor irinotecan is based on decreased repair of irinotecan-induced DNA damage. These combinations may increase induction of apoptosis. The latter combinations have dramatically changed the treatment of incurable cancers, such as lung and colon cancer, and have demonstrated that rationally designed drug combinations offer new possibilities to treat solid malignancies.
Article
To compare the response rate, efficacy parameters, and toxicity profile of oral capecitabine with bolus intravenous (IV) fluorouracil plus leucovorin (5-FU/LV) as first-line treatment in patients with metastatic colorectal cancer. We prospectively randomized 605 patients to treatment with oral capecitabine for 14 days every 3 weeks or 5-FU/LV by rapid IV injection daily for 5 days in 4-week cycles. The overall objective tumor response rate among all randomized patients was significantly higher in the capecitabine group (24.8%) than in the 5-FU/LV group (15.5%; P =.005). In the capecitabine and 5-FU/LV groups, median times to disease progression were 4.3 and 4.7 months (log-rank P =.72), median times to treatment failure were 4.1 and 3.1 months (P =.19), and median overall survival times were 12.5 and 13.3 months (P =.974), respectively. Capecitabine, compared with bolus 5-FU/LV treatment, produced a significantly lower incidence (P <.0002) of diarrhea, stomatitis, nausea, and alopecia. Patients treated with capecitabine also displayed lower incidences of grade 3/4 stomatitis and grade 3/4 neutropenia (P <.0001) leading to significantly less neutropenic fever/sepsis. Grade 3 hand-foot syndrome (P <.00001) and grade 3/4 hyperbilirubinemia were the only toxicities more frequently associated with capecitabine than with 5-FU/LV treatment. Oral capecitabine was more active than 5-FU/LV in the induction of objective tumor responses. Time to disease progression and survival were at least equivalent for capecitabine compared with the 5-FU/LV arm. Capecitabine also demonstrated clinically meaningful benefits over bolus 5-FU/LV in terms of tolerability.
Article
Metastatic colorectal cancer has traditionally been treated with i.v. 5-fluorouracil (5-FU), with or without leucovorin (LV). 5-FU is administered as either an i.v. bolus or a protracted infusion. Although schedules using the latter method offer efficacy benefits (objective response rate, time to disease progression), protracted infusion schedules are often associated with medical complications, inconvenience, high costs, and poor quality of life. Issues such as quality of life and convenience have influenced treatment decisions, but the availability of oral fluoropyrimidines represents a new development in this domain. Studies have confirmed that the majority of patients prefer oral to i.v. chemotherapy. Questionnaire-based studies have also demonstrated a preference for home-based rather than hospital-/clinic-based therapy. This preference was one of the driving forces behind the development of the oral fluoropyrimidines capecitabine (Xeloda) and uracil plus tegafur (UFT). Oral agents offer patients a more convenient treatment option that can be administered at home, providing patients with a greater sense of control over their therapy, while avoiding the medical complications and psychological distress associated with venous access. This article highlights some of the problems associated with i.v. therapy and reviews the available data on patient preference, including results of a recent, randomized, phase II study. It also provides a critical evaluation of the efficacy and safety profiles of the only two oral fluoropyrimidines approved for prescription, capecitabine and UFT/LV (UFT/LV not available in Germany and the U.S.), compared with those of two infused, 5-FU-based regimens. Finally, the results of an interactive debate exploring the opinions of approximately 400 oncologists on the issues of oral versus i.v. therapy are presented.
Article
Protracted venous infusion of 5-fluorouracil (5-FU) is a common treatment for patients with gastrointestinal malignancy. A central venous access device is required for safe and effective drug delivery. This study uses a survival analysis to compare the useful life and treatment completion success of tunelled centrally placed catheters (TCPCs) and peripherally inserted central catheters (PICCs). It also describes complications found with both devices. Data on insertion, complications, and removal of TCPCs and PICCs were collected on standardized forms, prospectively for initial PICCs and retrospectively for initial TCPCs. Survival of indwelling catheters was similar for both devices for the first 120 days, but after that TCPC survival was statistically better than that of PICCs (P = 0.051). Complications occurred in 61% of patients with TCPCs and 67% of patients with PICCs. The authors conclude that PICCs provide less invasive, more cost-effective, and easier to schedule central venous access for 5-FU infusion; however, their advantage over TCPCs decreases significantly in treatments lasting more than 120 days.
Article
Peripherally inserted central catheters (PICCs) are frequently used to deliver outpatient courses of intravenous therapy. However, the rates and risks of complication for this device have not been well-studied. Our objective was to determine the incidence and risk factors of PICC-related complications with a 1-year prospective observational study. All PICCs inserted in adult and pediatric patients at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center (MSKCC) were followed prospectively. The device insertion team, inpatient nurses, and various home-care companies and outside institutions collected longitudinal data. Three hundred fifty-one PICCs were inserted during the study period and followed for a total of 10,562 catheter-days (median placement, 15 days; range, 1 to 487 days). Two hundred five PICCs (58%) were managed by home-care companies and outside institutions, and 146 PICCs (42%) were managed exclusively at MSKCC. For these 205 PICCs, 131 nurses from 74 home-care companies and institutions were contacted for follow-up clinical information. In all, 115 (32.8%) of 351 PICCs were removed as a result of a complication, for a rate of 10.9 per 1,000 catheter-days. Patients with hematologic malignancy or bone marrow transplant were more likely to develop a complication, whereas those with metastatic disease were less likely. Complications occur frequently among cancer patients with PICCs, and long-term follow-up is onerous. Despite a high complication rate, the ease of insertion and removal argues for continued PICC use in the cancer population.
Article
This trial was conducted to determine whether high-dose fluorouracil (FU) given as a weekly 24-hour infusion is more active than bolus FU + leucovorin (LV), and whether high-dose infusional FU can be modulated by LV. A total of 497 patients with previously untreated metastatic colorectal cancer were randomly assigned to receive bolus FU 425 mg/m2 intravenously + LV 20 mg/m2 on days 1 to 5 and repeated on day 28 (FU + LV), or FU 2600 mg/m2 as a 24-hour infusion alone (FU24h) or in combination with 500 mg/m2 LV (FU24h + LV)-all given weekly x6 followed by a 2-week rest period. Survival was the major study end point. With a median follow-up of more than 3 years, survival did not differ among the treatment groups (median FU + LV, 11.1 months [95% CI, 10.2 to 15.0 months]; FU24h, 13.0 months [95% CI, 10.4 to 15.4 months]; FU24h + LV, 13.7 months [95% CI, 12.0 to 16.4 months]; P =.724). Progression-free survival (PFS) was significantly longer for FU24h + LV (median FU + LV, 4.0 months [95% CI, 3.4 to 4.9]; FU24h, 4.1 months [95% CI, 3.4 to 5.0]; FU24h + LV 5.6 months [95% CI, 4.4 to 6.7]; P =.029). The response rates in the subgroup of patients with measurable disease were 12%, 10%, and 17% for FU + LV, FU24h, and FU24h + LV, respectively (not significant). Occurrence of grade 3 and 4 diarrhea was higher in the FU24h + LV arm (22%) compared with the FU24h (6%) or FU + LV (9%) arms; however, stomatitis (11% in FU + LV v 3% in FU24h v 5% in FU24h + LV arms) and hematologic toxicity were higher in the bolus FU + LV arm. Global quality of life did not differ within the three arms. Neither FU24h + LV nor FU24h prolong survival, relative to bolus FU + LV. Leucovorin increases PFS if added to FU24h, but increases toxicity.
Article
The treatment of colorectal cancer with administration of a 2-h infusion of calcium folinate followed by a 24-h infusion of 5-fluorouracil (5-FU) is a standard therapy. Based on newly published data we have applied an infusion of both compounds, 5-FU and calcium folinate, mixed together in an ambulatory pump. We report on a patient suffering from metastatic rectal cancer. After first and second line chemotherapy we started third line chemotherapy consisting of calcium folinate (1,000 mg) and 5-FU (4,000 mg) mixed together in a total volume of 240 ml in an ambulatory pump and administered over a period of 24 h. After a total of 11 applications the patient developed a port thrombosis resistant to lysis with urokinase. The blocked catheter was surgically explanted and the firm material inside was analyzed. The material from inside the lumen of the catheter was analyzed using x-ray spectroscopy and a scanning electron microscopy. Both analyses confirmed that the isolated material is calcium carbonate. This case and the results of the analyses are in accordance with the described problems and results published earlier. A physical and/or chemical in vitro compatibility of 5-FU and calcium folinic acid, without validated clinical data is not sufficient to use this mixture in routine clinical practice.
Article
The ultimate goal of randomized phase III clinical trials is to help clinicians choose the best treatment for their patients. The large study reported in this issue of the Journal of Clinical Oncology by Goldberg et al [1] achieves this goal. It conveys the message that the FOLFOX regimen (fluorouracil [FU], leucovorin [LV], and oxaliplatin) is more active in response rate and time to progression, more efficacious in overall survival, and less toxic than the IFL regimen (irinotecan, FU, and LV). The IROX regimen (irinotecan and oxaliplatin) is better than IFL as well, but only in terms of overall survival (OS); IROX’s activity is the same and its toxicity is worse with regard to vomiting and paresthesias. The authors conclude that FOLFOX should be an additional first-line standard treatment for advanced colorectal cancer. The findings certainly support this conclusion for the US, where the first-line treatment of advanced colorectal cancer is likely to change. However, the impact of these data will be more limited on the other side of the Atlantic, as few oncologists in continental Europe use IFL because use of oxaliplatin or irinotecan plus infusional FU has been common practice since the year 2000. The background for this difference in practice is illustrated in Figure 1, which summarizes the advancements in the first-line treatment of this disease through randomized trials during the last 20 years. Every vertical arrow indicates a new regimen, with superior efficacy compared with a prior regimen, whereas the horizontal arrows indicate regimens producing longer time to progression (TTP) and response rate, but without significant survival improvement. In addition, the plus or minus symbols refer to the toxicity of the new therapy compared with the previous one. Every regimen reported in the Figure therefore represents a “full” step ahead (vertical) or a “half” step ahead (horizontal) in the treatment of this disease. It is easy to understand that FU was superior to best supportive care, and that FU plus LV was in turn superior to FU, though with more toxicity. IFL [2] was subsequently more efficacious than FU plus LV, again, at the cost of additional toxicity. It is with great enthusiasm that the enhanced efficacy of FOLFOX observed in this trial is finally accompanied by the minus sign as far as toxicity is concerned. The IROX regimen is not included because of its toxicity profile, whereas IFL plus bevacizumab [3], with its very significant prolongation of OS afforded by the angiogenesis inhibitor compared with
Article
Human tumour xenografts implanted subcutaneously (s.c.) into immunosuppressed mice have played a significant role in preclinical anticancer drug development for the past 25 years. Their use as a predictive indicator of probable clinical activity has been validated for cytotoxics. A retrospective analysis for 39 compounds where both extensive xenograft testing and Phase II clinical data were available, performed by the National Cancer Institute (NCI), has shown that 15/33 agents (45%) with activity in more than one-third of xenografts showed clinical activity (P=0.04). However, with the exception of non-small cell lung cancer, activity within a particular histological type of the xenograft generally did not predict for clinical activity in the same tumour. Today, the question (largely unanswered) is how useful is the xenograft model (particularly the traditional s.c. model) in contemporary cancer drug discovery? There are many variables when conducting xenograft experiments which impact on outcome; viz, site of implantation, growth properties of the xenograft and size when treatment is initiated, agent formulation, scheduling, route of administration and dose and the selected endpoint for assessing activity. The xenograft model remains of value in current preclinical cancer drug development, especially when such studies give due consideration to the above variables and are based on sound mechanistic (e.g. status of the selected target in the chosen model) and pharmacological (e.g. use of formulated agent) principles. Dependent upon the drug target, a slowing of xenograft tumour growth (cytostatic effect) rather than tumour shrinkage might be the major observed effect. Human tumour xenografts are also particularly useful in determining pharmacodynamic markers of response for subsequent clinical application. Nevertheless, it needs to be kept in mind that the use of xenografts is relatively time-consuming and expensive, raises animal ethical issues and there are instances where the model is inappropriate as a likely predictor of clinical outcome (e.g. inhibitors of the metastatic process and anti-angiogenic strategies as the vasculature is of murine origin).
Article
The modulation of fluorouracil (FU) by folinic acid (leucovorin [LV]) has been shown to be effective in terms of tumor response rate in patients with advanced colorectal cancer, but a meta-analysis of nine trials previously published by our group failed to demonstrate a statistically significant survival difference between FU and FU-LV. We present an update of the meta-analysis, with a longer follow-up and the inclusion of 10 newer trials. Analyses are based on individual data from 3,300 patients randomized in 19 trials on an intent-to-treat basis. Two trials had multiple comparisons, leading to a total of 21 pair-wise comparisons. FU doses were similar in both arms in 10 pair-wise comparisons, 15% to 33% higher in the FU-alone arm in six comparisons, and more than 66% higher in five comparisons. Overall analysis showed a two-fold increase in tumor response rates (11% for FU-LV v 21% for FU-LV v 11% for FU [corrected] alone; odds ratio, 0.53; 95% CI, 0.44 to 0.63; P <.0001) and a small but statistically significant overall survival benefit for FU-LV over FU alone (median survival, 11.7 v 10.5 months, respectively; hazards ratio, 0.90; 95% CI, 0.87 to 0.94; P =.004), which were primarily seen in the first year. We observed a significant interaction between treatment benefit and dose of FU, with tumor response and overall survival advantages of FU-LV over FU-alone being restricted to trials in which a similar dose of FU was prescribed in both arms. This updated analysis demonstrates, on a large data set, that FU-LV improves both response rate and overall survival compared with FU alone and that this benefit is consistent across various prognostic factors.
Article
To assess the long term effectiveness of adjuvant treatment with cyclophosphamide, methotrexate, and fluorouracil (CMF) in patients with operable breast cancer at risk of relapse, on the basis of three successive randomised trials and one observational study conducted from June 1973 to December 1980. Cohort study. Istituto Nazionale Tumori in Milan, Italy. Relapse free and overall survival, measured by univariate and multivariate analyses. After a median follow up of 28.5 years for the initial study, adjuvant CMF was found to reduce the relative risk of relapse significantly (hazard ratio 0.71, 95% confidence interval 0.56 to 0.91, P = 0.005) and death (0.79, 0.63 to 0.98, P = 0.04). Administration of CMF for 12 cycles does not seem superior to a shorter administration of six cycles. In the node negative and oestrogen receptor negative trial, intravenous CMF significantly reduced the relative risk of relapse of disease (0.65, 0.47 to 0.90, P = 0.009) and death (0.65, 0.47 to 0.92, P = 0.01) at a median follow up of 20 years. When delivered optimally, CMF benefits patients at risk of relapse of distant disease without evidence of detrimental effects in any of the examined subgroups.
Article
One of the most widely used cytotoxic agents is 5-fluorouracil. The use of infusional regimens has become commonplace and with this has come a realization of the limitations of this mode of administration. A number of oral fluoropyrimidines have been developed. Of these, capecitabine is the most established, with registrations in most countries for breast and colorectal cancer. The trials with this agent have mainly attempted to show equivalence with a "standard" intravenous comparator. In most cases, this endpoint has been met or exceeded. In addition, the trials have demonstrated reduced toxicity (except for hand-foot syndrome), and aspects of patient acceptability and cost-effectiveness have been integrated into these studies. Patients seem to prefer oral therapy but not at the expense of anticancer activity. However, the absence of intravenous access devices and complications associated with their use is a major bonus for oral therapy. The drawbacks are somewhat less obvious. Some patients are concerned that oral therapy is in some way inferior (ie, soft option) to intravenous chemotherapy. Compliance with oral therapy is always questionable. Although very few trials in which compliance has been formally assessed have been performed, the issue of overcompliance has not been addressed; in other words, there may be a problem of patients continuing to take the medication even in the face of toxicity and advice to stop treatment. Oral chemotherapy requires just as much care as intravenous chemotherapy and probably requires more attention to patient education and involvement in care decisions.