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PURPOSE: A phase I and pharmacokinetic trial was performed between October 1993 and June 1994 to determine the maximum-tolerated dose of hepatic arterial infusion (HAI) of fluorouracil (5-FU) and intravenous (IV) leucovorin (folinic acid; FA) in patients with hepatic metastases from colorectal cancer. PATIENTS AND METHODS: Forty-three patients received 310 courses of HAI chemotherapy administered over 48 hours every 2 weeks. The regimen consisted of FA 200 mg/m2 by IV infusion over 2 hours, followed by a loading dose of 5-FU 400 mg/m2 by HAI over 15 minutes, followed by a 22-hour infusion of 5-FU at doses ranging from 0.8 to 1.84 g/m2, with identical chemotherapy on day 2. Pharmacokinetic studies were performed to determine peak and steady-state plasma concentrations (Css) of 5-FU. RESULTS: Severe diarrhea and cardiac and neurologic toxicity were dose-limiting at 1.84 g/m2. The recommended dose for the 22-hour component of the schedule was 1.6 g/m2 and was associated with tolerable toxicity. A Css of 2.2 +/- 0.8 mumol/L for 5-FU was achieved on the recommended schedule, which compares favorably with conventional IV 5-FU regimens. Among 30 patients assessable for response, there were four complete responses and seven partial responses, and 12 patients with stable disease and seven with progressive disease, reported after 3 months (ie, six cycles) of therapy. CONCLUSION: A regimen that combines 5-FU and FA has been identified for regional chemotherapy in patients with hepatic metastases from colorectal cancer. The systemic levels of 5-FU achieved are similar to the conventional IV de Gramont regimen using an identical schedule of 5-FU and FA, which implies that this chemotherapy has the best of both worlds, ie, a regional advantage in delivering high drug concentrations to the target organ with adequate systemic cover for extrahepatic micrometastases.

Original publication




Journal article


J Clin Oncol

Publication Date





2968 - 2972


Adult, Aged, Antineoplastic Combined Chemotherapy Protocols, Colorectal Neoplasms, Dose-Response Relationship, Drug, Drug Administration Schedule, Female, Fluorouracil, Hepatic Artery, Humans, Infusions, Intra-Arterial, Infusions, Intravenous, Leucovorin, Liver Neoplasms, Male, Middle Aged