Phase I pharmacological study of continuous chronomodulated capecitabine treatment

Jeroen Roosendaal, Bart A.W. Jacobs, Dick Pluim, Hilde Rosing, Niels de Vries, Erik van Werkhoven, Bastiaan Nuijen, Jos H. Beijnen, Alwin D.R. Huitema, Jan H.M. Schellens, Serena Marchetti

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10 Citations (Scopus)


Purpose: Capecitabine is an oral pre-pro-drug of the anti-cancer drug 5-fluorouracil (5-FU). The biological activity of the 5-FU degrading enzyme, dihydropyrimidine dehydrogenase (DPD), and the target enzyme thymidylate synthase (TS), are subject to circadian rhythmicity in healthy volunteers. The aim of this study was to determine the maximum tolerated dose (MTD), dose-limiting toxicity (DLT), safety, pharmacokinetics (PK) and pharmacodynamics (PD) of capecitabine therapy adapted to this circadian rhythm (chronomodulated therapy). Methods: Patients aged ≥18 years with advanced solid tumours potentially benefitting from capecitabine therapy were enrolled. A classical dose escalation 3 + 3 design was applied. Capecitabine was administered daily without interruptions. The daily dose was divided in morning and evening doses that were administered at 9:00 h and 24:00 h, respectively. The ratio of the morning to the evening dose was 3:5 (morning: evening). PK and PD were examined on treatment days 7 and 8. Results: A total of 25 patients were enrolled. The MTD of continuous chronomodulated capecitabine therapy was established at 750/1250 mg/m2/day, and was generally well tolerated. Circadian rhythmicity in the plasma PK of capecitabine, dFCR, dFUR and 5-FU was not demonstrated. TS activity was induced and DPD activity demonstrated circadian rhythmicity during capecitabine treatment. Conclusion: The MTD of continuous chronomodulated capecitabine treatment allows for a 20% higher dose intensity compared to the approved regimen (1250 mg/m2 bi-daily on day 1–14 of every 21-day cycle). Chronomodulated treatment with capecitabine is promising and could lead to improved tolerability and efficacy of capecitabine.

Original languageEnglish
Article number89
JournalPharmaceutical Research
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 1 May 2020
Externally publishedYes


  • capecitabine
  • chronomodulation
  • metronomic
  • phase I


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