Oxaliplatin (Page 2 of 9)

5.2 Neurologic Toxicity


Oxaliplatin is associated with two types of neuropathy:

An acute, reversible, primarily peripheral, sensory neuropathy that is of early onset, occurring within hours or one to two days of dosing, that resolves within 14 days, and that frequently recurs with further dosing. The symptoms may be precipitated or exacerbated by exposure to cold temperature or cold objects and they usually present as transient paresthesia, dysesthesia and hypoesthesia in the hands, feet, perioral area, or throat. Jaw spasm, abnormal tongue sensation, dysarthria, eye pain, and a feeling of chest pressure have also been observed. The acute, reversible pattern of sensory neuropathy was observed in about 56% of study patients who received oxaliplatin with 5-fluorouracil/leucovorin. In any individual cycle acute neurotoxicity was observed in approximately 30% of patients. In adjuvant patients the median cycle of onset for grade 3 peripheral sensory neuropathy was 9 in the previously treated patients the median number of cycles administered on the oxaliplatin with 5-fluorouracil/leucovorin combination arm was 6.

An acute syndrome of pharyngolaryngeal dysesthesia seen in 1 to 2% (grade 3/4) of patients previously untreated for advanced colorectal cancer, and the previously treated patients, is characterized by subjective sensations of dysphagia or dyspnea, without any laryngospasm or bronchospasm (no stridor or wheezing). Ice (mucositis prophylaxis) should be avoided during the infusion of oxaliplatin because cold temperature can exacerbate acute neurological symptoms.

A persistent (>14 days), primarily peripheral, sensory neuropathy that is usually characterized by paresthesias, dysesthesias, hypoesthesias, but may also include deficits in proprioception that can interfere with daily activities (e.g., writing, buttoning, swallowing, and difficulty walking from impaired proprioception). These forms of neuropathy occurred in 48% of the study patients receiving oxaliplatin with 5‑fluorouracil/leucovorin. Persistent neuropathy can occur without any prior acute neuropathy event. The majority of the patients (80%) who developed grade 3 persistent neuropathy progressed from prior Grade 1 or 2 events. These symptoms may improve in some patients upon discontinuation of oxaliplatin.

In the adjuvant colon cancer trial, neuropathy was graded using a prelisted module derived from the Neuro-Sensory section of the National Cancer Institute Common Toxicity Criteria (NCI CTC) scale, Version 1, as follows:

Table 1 — NCI CTC Grading for Neuropathy in Adjuvant Patients

Grade Definition
Grade 0 No change or none
Grade 1 Mild paresthesias, loss of deep tendon reflexes
Grade 2 Mild or moderate objective sensory loss, moderate paresthesias
Grade 3 Severe objective sensory loss or paresthesias that interfere with function
Grade 4 Not applicable

Peripheral sensory neuropathy was reported in adjuvant patients treated with the oxaliplatin combination with a frequency of 92% (all grades) and 13% (grade 3). At the 28-day follow-up after the last treatment cycle, 60% of all patients had any grade (Grade 1=40%, Grade 2=16%, Grade 3=5%) peripheral sensory neuropathy decreasing to 39% at 6 months follow-up (Grade 1=31%, Grade 2=7%, Grade 3=1%) and 21% at 18 months of follow-up (Grade 1=17%, Grade 2=3%, Grade 3=1%).

In the advanced colorectal cancer studies, neuropathy was graded using a study-specific neurotoxicity scale, which was different from the NCI CTC scale, Version 2.0 (see below).

Table 2 — Grading Scale for Paresthesias/Dysesthesias in Advanced Colorectal Cancer Patients

Grade Definition
Grade 1 Resolved and did not interfere with functioning
Grade 2 Interfered with function but not daily activities
Grade 3 Pain or functional impairment that interfered with daily activities
Grade 4 Persistent impairment that is disabling or life-threatening

Overall, neuropathy was reported in patients previously untreated for advanced colorectal cancer in 82% (all grades) and 19% (grade 3/4), and in the previously treated patients in 74% (all grades) and 7% (grade 3/4) events. Information regarding reversibility of neuropathy was not available from the trial for patients who had not been previously treated for colorectal cancer.

Reversible Posterior Leukoencephalopathy Syndrome

Reversible Posterior Leukoencephalopathy Syndrome (RPLS, also known as PRES, Posterior Reversible Encephalopathy Syndrome) has been observed in clinical trials (< 0.1%) and postmarketing experience. Signs and symptoms of RPLS could be headache, altered mental functioning, seizures, abnormal vision from blurriness to blindness, associated or not with hypertension [see Adverse Reactions (6.2)]. Diagnosis of RPLS is based upon confirmation by brain imaging.

5.3 Severe Neutropenia

Grade 3 or 4 neutropenia occurred in 41 to 44% of patients with colorectal cancer treated with oxaliplatin in combination with 5-fluorouracil (5-FU) and leucovorin compared to 5% with 5-FU plus leucovorin alone. Sepsis, neutropenic sepsis and septic shock have been reported in patients treated with oxaliplatin, including fatal outcomes [see Adverse Reactions (6.1)]. Delay oxaliplatin until neutrophils are ≥ 1.5 x 109 /L. Withhold oxaliplatin for sepsis or septic shock. Dose reduce oxaliplatin after recovery from Grade 4 neutropenia or febrile neutropenia [see Dosage and Administration (2.2)].

5.4 Pulmonary Toxicity

Oxaliplatin has been associated with pulmonary fibrosis (<1% of study patients), which may be fatal. The combined incidence of cough and dyspnea was 7.4% (any grade) and <1% (grade 3) with no grade 4 events in the oxaliplatin plus infusional 5-fluorouracil/leucovorin arm compared to 4.5% (any grade) and no grade 3 and 0.1% grade 4 events in the infusional 5-fluorouracil/leucovorin alone arm in adjuvant colon cancer patients. In this study, one patient died from eosinophilic pneumonia in the oxaliplatin combination arm. The combined incidence of cough, dyspnea and hypoxia was 43% (any grade) and 7% (grade 3 and 4) in the oxaliplatin plus 5-fluorouracil/leucovorin arm compared to 32% (any grade) and 5% (grade 3 and 4) in the irinotecan plus 5-fluorouracil/leucovorin arm of unknown duration for patients with previously untreated colorectal cancer. In case of unexplained respiratory symptoms such as non-productive cough, dyspnea, crackles, or radiological pulmonary infiltrates, oxaliplatin should be discontinued until further pulmonary investigation excludes interstitial lung disease or pulmonary fibrosis.

5.5 Hepatotoxicity

Hepatotoxicity as evidenced in the adjuvant study, by increase in transaminases (57% vs. 34%) and alkaline phosphatase (42% vs. 20%) was observed more commonly in the oxaliplatin combination arm than in the control arm. The incidence of increased bilirubin was similar on both arms. Changes noted on liver biopsies include: peliosis, nodular regenerative hyperplasia or sinusoidal alterations, perisinusoidal fibrosis, and veno-occlusive lesions. Hepatic vascular disorders should be considered, and if appropriate, should be investigated in case of abnormal liver function test results or portal hypertension, which cannot be explained by liver metastases [see Clinical Trials Experience ( 6.1 )].

5.6 Cardiovascular Toxicity

QT prolongation and ventricular arrhythmias including fatal Torsade de Pointes have been reported in postmarketing experiences following oxaliplatin administration. ECG monitoring is recommended if therapy is initiated in patients with congestive heart failure, bradyarrhythmias, drugs known to prolong the QT interval, including Class Ia and III antiarrhythmics, and electrolyte abnormalities. Correct hypokalemia or hypomagnesemia prior to initiating oxaliplatin and monitor these electrolytes periodically during therapy. Avoid oxaliplatin in patients with congenital long QT syndrome [see Adverse Reactions (6.2)].

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