Author(s): Saltz LB, Meropol NJ, Loehrer PJ Sr, Needle MN, Kopit J,
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Abstract PURPOSE: To evaluate the antitumor activity and toxicity of single-agent cetuximab in patients with chemotherapy-refractory colorectal cancer whose tumors express the epidermal growth factor receptor. PATIENTS AND METHODS: Phase II, open-label clinical trial. Patients were required to have EGFr expression demonstrated on formalin-fixed paraffin-embedded tumor tissue by immunohistochemical staining before study participation. Patients were required to have received irinotecan, either alone or in a combination regimen, and to have demonstrated clinical failure on this regimen before study entry. Cetuximab was administered weekly by intravenous infusion. The first dose of 400 mg/m(2) was given during the course of 2 hours. Subsequent weekly treatments were given at a dose of 250 mg/m(2) during the course of 1 hour. RESULTS: Fifty-seven eligible patients were treated. All were assessable for toxicity and response. The most commonly encountered grade 3 to 4 adverse events, regardless of relationship to study drug, were an acne-like skin rash, predominantly on the face and upper torso (86\% with any grade; 18\% with grade 3), and a composite of asthenia, fatigue, malaise, or lethargy (56\% with any grade, 9\% with grade 3). Two patients (3.5\%) experienced grade 3 allergic reactions requiring discontinuation of study treatment. A third patient experienced a grade 3 allergic reaction that resolved, and the patient continued on the study. Neither diarrhea nor neutropenia were dose limiting in any of the 57 patients treated. Five patients (9\%; 95\% CI, 3\% to 19\%) achieved a partial response. Twenty-one additional patients had stable disease or minor responses. The median survival in these previously treated patients with chemotherapy-refractory colorectal cancer is 6.4 months. CONCLUSION: Cetuximab on this once-weekly schedule has modest activity and is well-tolerated as a single agent in patients with chemotherapy-refractory colorectal cancer whose tumors express the epidermal growth factor receptor. Further studies of cetuximab will evaluate the use of cetuximab in conjunction with first-line and adjuvant treatments for this disease.
This article was published in J Clin Oncol
and referenced in Journal of Carcinogenesis & Mutagenesis