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Medline ® Abstract for Reference 124

of 'Enterotoxicity of chemotherapeutic agents'

Pathophysiology and therapy of irinotecan-induced delayed-onset diarrhea in patients with advanced colorectal cancer: a prospective assessment.
Saliba F, Hagipantelli R, Misset JL, Bastian G, Vassal G, Bonnay M, Herait P, Cote C, Mahjoubi M, Mignard D, Cvitkovic E
J Clin Oncol. 1998;16(8):2745.
PURPOSE: Irinotecan (CPT-11), a camptothecin derivative, has shown efficacy against colorectal cancer. Delayed-onset diarrhea is its main limiting toxicity. The aim of this study was to determine the pathophysiology of CPT-11-induced delayed-onset diarrhea and assess the efficacy of combined antidiarrheal medication in a phase II, prospective, successive-cohorts, open study.
PATIENTS AND METHODS: Twenty-eight patients with advanced colorectal cancer refractory to fluorouracil (5-FU) therapy received CPT-11 350 mg/m2 every 3 weeks. The first cohort of 14 consecutive patients explored for the mechanism of diarrhea received acetorphan (a new enkephalinase inhibitor) 100 mg three times daily; the second 14-patient cohort received, in addition to acetorphan, loperamide 4 mg three times daily. Before treatment, and if late diarrhea occurred, patients underwent colon mucosal biopsies for CPT-11 and topoisomerase I levels; intestinal transit time; fecalogram; fat and protein excretion; alpha1-antitrypsin clearance; D-xylose test; blood levels for vasoactive intestinal polypeptide, glucagon, gastrin, somatostatin, prostaglandin E2, and carboxylesterase; CPT-11/SN-38 and SN-38 glucuronide pharmacokinetics; and stool cultures.
RESULTS: Delayed-onset diarrhea occurred during the first three treatment cycles in 23 patients (82%). Electrolyte fecal measurements showed a negative or small osmotic gap in nine of nine patients and an increased alpha1-antitrypsin clearance in six of six patients. There were no modifications in stool cultures or hormonal dysfunction. Four of 11 patients (36%) with delayed-onset diarrhea in the first cohort responded to acetorphan, whereas nine of 10 patients (90%) responded to the combination of acetorphan and loperamide (P<.02).
CONCLUSION: CPT-11-induced delayed-onset diarrhea is caused by a secretory mechanism with an exudative component. Early combined treatment with loperamide and acetorphan seems effective in controlling the diarrheal episodes.
Paul Brousse Hospital, Villejuif, France.