Doxorubicin (DOX) is a cytotoxic drug which has remained as an essential component of chemotherapy regiment for breast cancer. The cardiotoxicity of DOX is related to the accumulation of its main metabolite doxorubicinol (DOXOL) in the cardiac tissue. Although the pharmacokinetics of DOX shows high interindividual variability, there are no significant covariates to improve dose adjustment. The present study reports the pharmacokinetics of both DOX and DOXOL in a homogeneous population of young female patients with breast cancer (n = 12) making use of a standardized drug association, evaluated in the very first chemotherapy cycle, using plasma and urine data that allowed the calculation of the renal clearance of DOX, the formation clearance of DOXOL and the hepatic clearance of DOX. The extensive data availability also made it possible to estimate the hepatic extraction ratio of DOX for the investigated population, as well as to determine DOXOL unbound fraction in plasma for the first time in humans. DOX and DOXOL simultaneous analysis in plasma, plasma ultrafiltrate, and urine were performed by liquid chromatography coupled to mass spectrometry (LC-MS/MS). The pharmacokinetics profile of both DOX and DOXOL showed high variability (geometric coefficient of variation of area under the plasma concentration versus time curve extrapolated to infinity was approximately 215 %). The geometrics means were 0.26 for DOXOL/DOX AUC ratio, 15 % and 17 % for unbound fractions of DOX and DOXOL, respectively, 30.70 L⋅h for total clearance, 0.66 L⋅h for renal clearance, 29.97 L⋅h for hepatic clearance and 0.39 L⋅h for the formation clearance of the metabolite DOXOL. The 95 % confidence interval of the estimated hepatic extraction ratio of DOX ranged from 0.14 to 0.79, which characterizes DOX as a drug of low, intermediate or high hepatic extraction ratio.
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