Circulating progenitor cell release and functional characterization after topotecan plus G-CSF and erythropoietin in small cell lung cancer patients.

S. Ferrari, M. Danova, C. Porta, G. Comolli, S. Brugnatelli, P. Pugliese, A. Riccardi, E. Ascari

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Topotecan is a new antineoplastic agent active in ovarian cancer, with promising activity in small cell lung cancer and predictable toxicity. As a part of our ongoing attempt to optimize the use of disease-specific drugs as circulating progenitor cell (CPC) priming in solid tumors, we have evaluated the effects on CPC release of single-agent Topotecan followed by granulocyte colony-stimulating factor (G-CSF) + human recombinant erythropoietin (rhEPO), together with the cell cycle status of the collected CD34+ cells. Ten pretreated patients with small cell lung cancer received Topotecan (1 mg/m2, i.v. for 5 consecutive days) followed by G-CSF (5 microg/kg/day, s.c.) + rhEPO (10,000 I.U. daily, s.c.), starting 24 h after Topotecan. The combination was well tolerated and no relevant side-effects were recorded. On day +10 (range +9 to +11) after the last dose of Topotecan, the median WBC count and the CD34+ cell peak were 8.2 x 10(3) microl (range 4.9-13.9) and 55 microl (range 28-75), respectively. Using flow cytometry, a detailed cell cycle analysis was performed on these CD34+ cells. The cell cycle distribution was determined by DNA content coupled with bromodeoxyuridine incorporation analysis. Apoptosis was evaluated by quantitating DNA strand breaks. The percentage of CD34+ cells in active S-phase was 10.2+/-5%, while early apoptotic CD34+ cells were detected in a low percentage (5.5+/-3%). Topotecan followed by G-CSF + rhEPO mobilizes CPCs effectively. This sequence exerts a stimulation on CD34+ cell cycle with a protective effect from chemotherapy-induced apoptosis. Taken together, these data could be of value for the incorporation of Topotecan, as well as of the combination of G-CSF and rhEPO, into high-dose chemotherapy programs with CPC support.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)811-815
Number of pages5
JournalInternational Journal of Oncology
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Oct 1999


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cancer Research
  • Oncology

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