Phase i trial of postoperative 5-FU, radiation therapy, and high dose leucovorin for resectable rectal cancer
Following surgery for Stages T3-4N0-2M0 primary and recurrent resectable rectal cancer limited to the pelvis, 25 patients have been entered on a Phase I trial of pelvic radiation therapy (RT) [5040 cGy] and 12 cycles of postoperative 5-FU and high dose Leucovorin (LV) chemotherapy. 5-FU was escalated 50 mg/m2 while the LV remained constant at 200 mg/m2. The initial doses of 5-FU were: combined-RT/chemotherapy = 200 mg/m2 and post-RT chemotherapy = 325 mg/m2. The median F/U was 25 months (range: 13-36). Two maximum tolerated doses (MTD's) have been determined, one for combined-RT/chemotherapy and one for post-RT chemotherapy. The MTD for combined-RT/chemotherapy was 250 mg/m2; therefore, the recommended dose of 5-FU is 200 mg/m2. The MTD for post-RT chemotherapy was 375 mg/m2; therefore, the recommended dose of 5-FU is 325 mg/m2. The dose limiting toxicities were diarrhea, tenesmus, frequent bowel movements, dysuria, and myelosuppression. For the nine patients who received 5-FU at the recommended dose level the median low counts were WBC 3.5 (2.2-4.0), HGB 10.3 (9.0-12.3), and PLT (x 1000) 167 (133-280), and the incidence of any grade greater than or equal to 3 toxicity was 22% diarrhea, 17% tenesmus, and 22% frequent bowel movements. The recommended dose of combined-RT/chemotherapy as used in this protocol was relatively well tolerated. However, optimal doses of 5-FU cannot be delivered until the fourth postoperative month. Therefore, despite the encouraging results reported with high dose LV in patients with advanced disease, we do not recommend that high dose LV be used with combined RT and 5-FU in the treatment regimen as presently designed.