Is Hycamtin Viable Treatment for Endometrial Cancer?

John Han-Chih Chang, MD and Kenneth Blank, MD
Last Modified: November 1, 2001

Dear OncoLink "Ask the Experts,"
I have read the article on Hycamtin as a treatment of ovarian cancer. Can you tell me whether or not it would also be a viable treatment for Endometrial Carcinoma?  
B. M.

John Han-Chih Chang, MD, Editorial Assistant for OncoLink responds:

Dear BM,
Thank you for your question.

Topotecan (Hycamtin), a semisynthetic water-soluble analog of camptothecin. Its cytotoxic role is as a potent inhibitor of DNA topoisomerase I, which relieves torsional strain during DNA replication. It binds the DNA-topoisomerase complex and causes single strand DNA breaks and lethal damage to the cell.

It has demonstrated encouraging anticancer activity in various malignancies such as leukemia, ovarian cancer and small cell lung cancer. Theoretically, it would seem likely that it could have benefit in endometrial cancer patients, but without a clinical study, it would not be used as treatment since it is still considered experimental. There is little to no current literature on topotecan and endometrial cancer. There are various chemotherapy and hormone therapy agents that are used in conjunction with surgery and or radiation therapy to address this disease. As always please consult with your gynecologic oncologist for specific details of treatments, efficacy and complications.