Study Objective: To assess the activity of taxol in patients with advanced, progressive, and drug-refractory ovarian cancer and to delineate more clearly the toxicity of taxol in this patient population.
Design: Nonrandomized, prospective phase II trial.
Patients: Forty-seven patients with drug-refractory epithelial ovarian cancer who had one or more lesions measurable in perpendicular diameters. Of these patients, 45 were evaluable for toxicity and 40 were evaluable for response.
Interventions: Patients were treated every 22 days with varying doses of taxol (110 to 250 mg/m2 body surface) given as a 24-hour infusion with subsequent doses based on adverse effects. A premedication regimen was used to avoid acute hypersensitivity reactions.
Measurements and Main Results: Twelve patients (30%; CI, 16% to 44%) responded to taxol for periods lasting from 3 to 15 months. The dose-limiting toxicity was myelosuppression with leukocytes affected more severely and commonly than thrombocytes or reticulocytes. Leukopenia was usually brief in duration but was associated with sepsis in 3 cases (2 fatal). Other adverse effects included myalgias, arthralgias, alopecia, diarrhea, nausea, vomiting, mucositis, and peripheral neuropathy. Rare cases of cardiac and central neurotoxicity were also noted.
Conclusions: Taxol is an active agent in drug-refractory ovarian cancer and deserves further study in combination with other active drugs in previously untreated patients with advanced ovarian cancer.