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Testing Topotecan; these drugs show great promise
Apr 20, 2002

Why is there no testing on Topotecan, Camptosar, and Rubitecan, when evidence shows great promise, and there was apparently an okay to proceed with testing?

Response from Dr. Dezube

Good question. These drugs you mention are cancer drugs. The first two, topotecan and camptosar, are currently approved by the FDA; topotecan for ovarian cancer, camptosar for colon cancer. They are a new class of cancer drugs called topoisomerase inhibitors. There is indeed good evidence that these anti-cancer agents may also work as anti-HIV agents. Why are they not being tested? It's hard to say. Like many cancer agents they are relatively toxic and may not be suitable for the HIV-infected population which would need medications more suitable for chronic, long term adminstration. Topotecan can cause quite dramatic decreases in the white count, and camptosar can cause quite severe diarrhea. It would be really nice to have less toxic agents in this class. Certainly drug companies are trying to develop such agents, including ones which can be given by mouth. There may also be business reasons (e.g. licensing reasons) that these drugs are not being tested. In my opinion, these agents should be tested in HIV-infected individuals.


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