Acta Med. 2012, 55: 153-159

Predictors of Irinotecan Toxicity and Efficacy in Treatment of Metastatic Colorectal Cancer

Adam Paulík, Jiří Grim, Stanislav Filip

Charles University in Prague, Faculty of Medicine and University Hospital Hradec Králové, Czech Republic: Department of Oncology and Radiotherapy

Received February 13, 2012
Accepted November 3, 2012

The colorectal cancer ranks high among the malignant tumours in incidence and mortality and irinotecan is standardly used in palliative treatment of metastatic disease in every therapeutic line. Unfortunately, the treatment with irinotecan is often associated with severe toxicities, especially neutropenia and diarrhea. The majority of the toxic manifestation is caused by the insufficient deactivation (glucuronidation) of irinotecan active metabolite SN-38 by UGT1A enzyme. The elevated SN-38 plasma concentration is responsible for the hematological and gastrointestinal toxicity that can become life-threatening. The patients carrying the mutation of the gene encoding UGT1A enzyme lack the ability of bilirubin glucuronidation, and suffer from the inherited un-conjugated hyperbilirubinemia (Gilbert syndrome, Crigler- Najjar type 1 and 2 syndrome). The mutations in other enzyme systems also play role in the etiopathogenesis of the irinotecan toxicity: CYP3A (cytochrome P-450), ABC family of transmembrane transporters (adenosine-triphosphate binding cassette). The goal of the contemporary research is to determine the predictive factors that will enable the individual adjustment of the individual drug dosage while minimising the adverse effects and maintaining the treatment benefit.


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