Assessment of systemic toxicity in children receiving chemotherapy with cyclosporine for sarcoma

Jochen G.W. Theis, Helen S.L. Chan, Mark L. Greenberg, David Malkin, Vladimir Karaskov, Ileana Moncica, Gideon Koren, John Doyle

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20 Scopus citations


Background. Overexpression of P-glycoprotein in malignant tumors has been associated with poor responses to chemotherapy. It appears biologically plausible that addition of the P-glycoprotein inhibitor cycfosporine (CsA) to standard chemotherapy may improve the outcome. The protective functions of P- glycoprotein in healthy tissues, however, have not been fully elucidated. Addition of CsA may lead to increased systemic chemotherapy toxicity, so we compared the rate and severity of chemotherapy-associated systemic toxicity in the presence and absence of CsA. Procedure. Standard chemotherapy consisted of etoposide/ifosfamide (VP16/IFOS) cycles, alternating with vin cristine/dactinomycin/cyclophosphamide (VAC) cycles. CsA was given at a median dose of 20 mg/kg with unaltered doses of the antineoplastic drugs. The analysis of toxicity was performed by comparing clinically significant toxicity events recorded during and after chemotherapy cycles with and without CsA. Results. Toxicity-related hospital admissions occurred after 93% of VAC cycles with CsA compared to 40% of the cycles without CsA (P < 0.0001); 29% of VP16/IFOS cycles with CsA led to admissions vs. 12% with non- CsA cycles (P = 0.04). Infections or fever and neutropenia were the main reasons for these admissions. Thirty-seven percent of the VAC cycles with CsA were complicated by culture-proved sepsis, which did not occur in cycles without CsA (P < 0.0001). Requirements for blood and platelet transfusions were greatly increased after VAC cycles with CsA compared to VAC cycles without CsA. Conclusions. The chemosensitizer CsA increases the systemic toxicity of VAC chemotherapy in patients with sarcomas. Future trials of chemotherapy with chemosensitizers will have to take into account a potential increase in systemic toxicity. Careful monitoring of chemotherapy-related toxicity becomes mandatory in such studies. (C) Wiley-Liss, Inc.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)242-249
Number of pages8
JournalMedical and Pediatric Oncology
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 2000
Externally publishedYes


  • Antineoplastic agents
  • Children
  • Combined clinical trials
  • Cyclosporine
  • P-glycoprotein
  • Sarcoma


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