Salvage therapy with topotecan in heavily pretreated ovarian cancer patients

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We showed feasibility and efficacy of topotecan in third or a higher line of chemotherapy in heavily pretreated ovarian cancer (HPOC) patients.


Between January 2004 and June 2007, 25 cases of HPOC were treated with topotecan as 30-min infusion at the dose of 1.5 mg/m2 through 5 consecutive days every 21 days. We assessed toxicity profile using NCI CTC and the response was measured according to RECIST and CA-125 criteria described by Rustin.


Heavily pretreated ovarian cancer received at least two cycles of topotecan (median 6, range 2-6) with prior chemotherapy lines (median 3, range 3-7). In 20 HPOC who met RECIST criteria results were as follows: PR, 6/20 (30%); NC, 7/20 (35%); PD, 7/20 (35%). Biochemical response was noted in 20 patients having ?15% (3/20) of 75% and 20% (4/20) of 50% decline of CA-125. Time to progression was median 6 months (95% CI: 4.06-6.18) and overall survival was median 9 months (95% CI: 8.69-16.27). In multivariate analysis, primary optimal debulking and response to primary chemotherapy (HR = 0.24, 95% CI: 0.08-0.69, P = 0.0084; HR = 0.38, 95% CI: 0.14-0.98, P = 0.0448, respectively) were independent prognostic factors when assessed in relation to salvage therapy with topotecan. We did not observe difference in side effects after topotecan treatment among patients in relation to the higher number of previously used chemotherapy line (3 vs. >3).


We state that topotecan is able to offer a control of ovarian cancer, despite previous treatment, but reliable management is needed to alleviate hematologic toxicity.

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