Predicting Pharmacokinetics and Drug Interactions in Patients from in Vitro and in Vivo Models: the Experience with 5,6-Dimethylxanthenone-4-Acetic Acid (DMXAA), an Anti-Cancer Drug Eliminated Mainly by Conjugation

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DMXAA, metabolism, cytochrome P450, glucuronidation

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The novel anti-tumor agent 5,6-dimethylxanthenone-4-acetic acid (DMXAA) was developed in the Auckland Cancer Society Research Center. Its pharmacokinetic properties have been investigated using both in vitro and in vivo models, and the resulting data extrapolated to patients. The metabolism of DMXAA has been extensively studied mainly using hepatic microsomes, which indicated that UGT1A9 and UGT2B7-catalyzed glucuronidation on its acetic acid side chain and to a lesser extent CYP1A2-catalyzed hydroxylation of the 6-methyl group are the major metabolic pathways, resulting in DMXAA acyl glucuronide (DMXAA-G) and 6-hydroxymethyl-5-methylxanthenone-4-acetic acid. The predominant metabolite in human urine (up to 60% of total dose) was identified as DMXAA-G, which was chemically reactive, undergoing hydrolysis, intramolecular rearrangement, and covalent binding to plasma proteins. In vivo formation of DMXAA–protein adducts were also observed in cancer patients receiving DMXAA treatment. The comparison of the in vitro human hepatic microsomal metabolism and inhibition of DMXAA by UGT and/or CYP substrates with animal species indicated species differences. Renal microsomes from all animal species examined had glucuronidation activity for DMXAA, but lower than the liver. In vitro–in vivo extrapolations based on human microsomal data indicated a 7-fold underestimation of plasma clearance in patients. In contrast, allometric scaling using in vivo data from the mouse, rat, and rabbit predicted a plasma clearance of 3.5 mL/min/kg, similar to that observed in patients (3.7 mL/min/kg). Based on in vitro metabolic inhibition studies, it appears possible to predict the effects on the plasma kinetic profile of DMXAA of drugs such as diclofenac, which are mainly metabolized by UGT2B7. However, it did not appear possible to predict the effect of thalidomide on the pharmacokinetics of DMXAA in patients based on in vitro inhibition and animal studies. These data indicate that preclincial pharmacokinetic studies using both in vitro and in vivo models play an important but different role in predicting pharmacokinetics and drug interactions in patients.

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Drug Metabolism Reviews, v. 34, issue 4, p. 751-790