Phase II study of daily oral etoposide in children with recurrent brain tumors and other solid tumors

M. N. Needle, P. T. Molloy, J. R. Geyer, A. Herman-Liu, J. B. Belasco, J. W. Goldwein, L. Sutton, P. C. Phillips

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102 Scopus citations


Pre-clinical data and adult experience suggests that topoisomerase targeted anti-cancer agents may be highly schedule dependent, and efficacy may improve with prolonged exposure. To investigate this hypothesis, 28 children with recurrent brain and solid tumors were enrolled in a phase II study of oral etoposide (ETP). Patients were prescribed ETP at 50 mg/m2/day for 21 consecutive days. Courses were repeated every 28 days pending bone marrow recovery. Evaluation of response was initially performed after 8 weeks and then every 12 weeks either by CT or MRI. Three of 4 patients with PNET (primitive neuroectodermal tumor)/medulloblastoma achieved a partial response (PR). Two of 5 with ependymoma responded, one with a complete response and one with a PR. Toxicity was manageable with only 1 admission for fever and neutropenia in 120 cycles of therapy. Five patients had grade 3 or 4 neutropenia. One had grade 4 thrombocytopenia and one grade 2 mucositis and withdrew as a result. One patient had grade 2 diarrhea. Two patients who achieved a PR had received ETP as part of prior combination chemotherapy regimens. Daily oral etoposide is active in recurrent PNET/medulloblastoma and ependymoma. Toxicity is manageable and rarely requires intervention. Daily oral etoposide in combination with crosslinking agents should be considered in future phase III trials. Determination of activity in glioma and solid tumors is not complete.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)28-32
Number of pages5
JournalMedical and Pediatric Oncology
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1997
Externally publishedYes


  • brain tumor
  • children
  • ependymoma
  • etoposide
  • glioma
  • medulloblastoma


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