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Optimizing anticancer therapeutics needs to account for variable drug responses in heterogeneous cell populations within the tumor as well as in organs of toxicity. To address cell heterogeneity, we propose a multiscale modeling approach—from in vitro to preclinical and clinical studies—to develop cell-type–specific pharmacokinetic–pharmacodynamic (PK-PD) models. A physiologically based mechanistic modeling approach integrating data from aqueous solutions, U87 glioma cells, mice, and cancer patients was utilized to characterize the brain disposition of temozolomide (TMZ), the cornerstone of chemotherapy against glioblastoma multiforme. The final model represented intracellular normal brain and brain tumor compartments in which TMZ pH-dependent conversion to the DNA-alkylating species leads to the formation of DNA adducts that serve as an entry point for a PD model. This multiscale protocol can be extended to account for TMZ PK-PD in different cell populations, thus providing a critical tool to personalize TMZ-based chemotherapy on a cell-type–specific basis.

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CPT: Pharmacometrics & Systems Pharmacology, v. 3, issue 4, p. 1-11