A Phase I and Pharmacokinetic Study of Pemetrexed Plus Irinotecan in Patients with Advanced Solid Malignancies

Clinical Cancer Research 13, 532-539, January 15, 2007. [Link]

Eric K. Rowinsky1, Muralidhar Beeram1, Lisa A. Hammond1, Garry Schwartz2, Johann De Bono1, Baharam Forouzesh1, Quincy Chu1, Jane E. Latz3, Shengyan Hong3, William John3 and Binh Nguyen3

Authors’ Affiliations: 1 Institute for Drug Development, Cancer Therapy, and Research Center, San Antonio, Texas; 2 Brooke Army Medical Center, Fort Sam Houston, Texas; and 3 Eli Lilly and Company, Indianapolis, Indiana


Purpose: The main objectives of this phase I and pharmacokinetic, open-label study were to characterize the principal toxicities and determine the maximum tolerated dose of the multitargeted antifolate pemetrexed administered in combination with irinotecan. The study also sought to detect major pharmacokinetic drug-drug interactions between these agents and preliminary evidence of antitumor activity in patients with advanced solid malignancies.

Experimental Design: Pemetrexed was administered as a 10-min i.v. infusion followed by irinotecan given i.v. over 90 min every 3 weeks to patients with advanced solid malignancies. The study objectives were first pursued in heavily pretreated patients and then in lightly pretreated patients who also received vitamin supplementation.

Results: Twenty-three heavily pretreated patients enrolled in the first stage of the study, and the maximum tolerated dose level of pemetrexed/irinotecan without vitamin supplementation was 400/250 mg/m2; further dose escalation was precluded by severe neutropenia that was protracted and/or associated with fever. In the second stage of the study, 28 lightly pretreated patients were administered pemetrexed/irinotecan with vitamin supplementation; these patients tolerated pemetrexed/irinotecan at a dose level of 500/350 mg/m2, which reflected clinically relevant single-agent doses of both agents. No major pharmacokinetic interactions between the agents were evident. Four patients, two patients each with colorectal cancer refractory to fluoropyrimidines and advanced mesothelioma, had partial responses.

Conclusions: The pemetrexed/irinotecan regimen is well tolerated in patients with advanced solid malignancies at clinically relevant single-agent doses. The recommended dose level of pemetrexed/irinotecan for subsequent disease-directed evaluations involving lightly pretreated patients is 500/350 mg/m2 every 3 weeks with vitamin supplementation.