Irinotecan is a key chemotherapeutic drug used to treat many tumors, including cervical and ovarian cancers; however, irinotecan can cause toxicity, particularly in the presence of uridine diphosphate glucuronosyltransferase 1A1 (UGT1A1) gene polymorphisms, which are associated with reduced enzyme activity. Here, we investigated the prevalence of three different variants of UGT1A1 (UGT1A1*6, UGT1A1*27 and UGT1A1*28) and their relationships with irinotecan-induced adverse events in patients with gynecologic cancer, who are treated with lower doses of irinotecan than patients with other types of solid tumors. Fifty-three female patients treated with irinotecan and 362 female patients not treated with irinotecan were screened for UGT1A1*6, UGT1A1*27 and UGT1A1*28. Homozygosity for UGT1A1*6 or heterozygosity for UGT1A1*6/*28 was associated with a high risk of severe absolute neutrophil count decrease or diarrhea (odds ratios: 16.03 and 31.33, respectively). In contrast, serum bilirubin levels were not associated with irinotecan toxicity. Homozygosity for UGT1A1*6/*6 and heterozygosity for UGT1A1*6/*28 were associated with an increased risk of absolute neutrophil count and/or diarrhea in Japanese gynecologic cancer patients, despite the lower doses of irinotecan used in these patients. UGT1A1*6 and UGT1A1*28 are potential predictors of severe absolute neutrophil decrease and diarrhea caused by low-dose irinotecan in gynecologic cancer patients.
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