FINE TUNING DRUG LEVELS IN NEUROBLASTOMA PATIENTS IS EFFECTIVE, ST. JUDE RESEARCHERS SHOW
Monitoring and fine tuning the levels of the cancer drug topotecan in children with neuroblastoma holds promise for maximizing the drug's effectiveness while reducing its toxicity, according to investigators at St. Jude Children's Research Hospital.
Neuroblastoma is a tumor of nerve tissues in the neck, chest, abdomen and pelvis. This cancer usually arises in the tissues of the adrenal glands.
The Phase II study addressed the problem posed by the different rates at which children eliminate or clear topotecan from their bodies. Such differences mean the standard drug of topotecan might help some children; in others, the drug might be either too little to kill cancer cells or so high that it produces unacceptable toxicity. However, by closely monitoring and fine tuning the drug levels in each child, investigators kept topotecan levels within a range that previous work at St. Jude showed was effective and nontoxic.