Investigational New Drugs

, Volume 33, Issue 2, pp 472–479 | Cite as

Phase-I dose finding and pharmacokinetic study of the novel hydrophilic camptothecin ST-1968 (namitecan) in patients with solid tumors

  • M. Joerger
  • D. Hess
  • A. Delmonte
  • E. Gallerani
  • P. Barbieri
  • S. Pace
  • C. Sessa


Purpose: This is a first-in-human, phase I, dose-escalation study to determine the maximum tolerated dose (MTD) of intravenous, flat-dosed ST-1968 (namitecan), a new hydrophilic camptothecan derivative. Methods: Namitecan was administered intravenously over 2 h on day 1 and day 8 every 21 days (D1-D8-Q21D), starting at a flat dose of 2.5 mg, and increased according to a 3 + 3 cohort design. Due to frequent skipping of day 8 dosing for cytopenias, the study was expanded to test namitecan dosing on day 1 every 21 days (D1-Q21) at a starting dose of 17.5 mg. Major dose-limiting toxicity (DLT) was defined as grade (G) 4 neutropenia persisting >5 days, febrile neutropenia, G3 thrombocytopenia or G2 non-hematological toxicity. Results: Thirty-four patients were included into the D1-D8-Q21D group (2.5, 5, 10, 15, 17.5, 20 mg dosing cohorts), 29 patients into the D1-21D group (17.5, 20, 23, 27, 30 mg dosing cohorts). Neutropenia was the DLT in both groups, with 15 mg being defined as the recommended dose (RD) for the D1-D8-Q21D group, and 23 mg for the D1-Q21D group. Non-hematological toxicity was negligible. One patient with endometrial cancer in the D1-D8-Q21D group and one patient with cholangiocellular carcinoma in the D1-Q21D group experienced a partial remission. Namitecan exhibited fully dose-proportional pharmacokinetics. Conclusions: This study demonstrates clinical safety, favourable pharmacokinetics and preliminary antitumor activity of the novel hydrophilic camptothecin analogue namitecan in patients with heavily pretreated solid malignancies, when given either on a 2 out of 3 weeks or 3-weekly regimen.


Antineoplastic agens Namitecan Camptothecan Maximum tolerated dose Neutropenia Phase 1 clinical trial 



This work was supported by Sigma-Tau V.le Shakespeare, Rome, Italy. The study has been coordinated by the Southern Europe New Drug Organization (SENDO), Via La Masa, Milano (Italy).

Compliance with ethical standards

The protocol was approved by the responsible Ethical Review Boards and Regulatory Authorities and conducted in accordance with the Declaration of Helsinki. All patients gave written informed consent.

Conflict of interest

P. Barbieri and S. Pace are employed by Sigma-Tau (Rome, Italy). No potential conflicts of interest were disclosed by the other authors.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • M. Joerger
    • 1
    • 2
  • D. Hess
    • 1
    • 2
  • A. Delmonte
    • 3
  • E. Gallerani
    • 3
  • P. Barbieri
    • 4
  • S. Pace
    • 5
  • C. Sessa
    • 3
  1. 1.Department of Medical Oncology & HematologyCantonal HospitalSt.GallenSwitzerland
  2. 2.Clinical Research Facility, Department of Medical Oncology & HematologyCantonal HospitalSt. GallenSwitzerland
  3. 3.IOSI Oncology Insitute of Southern SwitzerlandBellinzonaSwitzerland
  4. 4.Sigma-Tau Research Switzerland S.A.MendrisioSwitzerland
  5. 5.Sigma-Tau Industrie Farmaceutiche Riunite SpAPomeziaItaly

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