Multidrug resistance (MDR)-1-P-glycoprotein (P-gp) is a drug-transporting protein that is abundantly present in biliary ductal cells and epithelial cells lining the gastrointestinal tract. Here, we have determined the role of P-gp in the metabolic disposition of the antineoplastic agent docetaxel (Taxotere) in humans. Pharmacokinetic profiles were evaluated in five cancer patients receiving treatment cycles with docetaxel alone (100 mg/m2 i.v. over a 1-h period) and in combination with a new potent inhibitor of P-gp activity, R101933 (200-300 mg b.i.d.). The terminal disposition half-life and total plasma clearance of docetaxel were not altered by treatment with oral R101933 (P > or = 0.27). The cumulative fecal excretion of docetaxel, however, was markedly reduced from 8.47 +/- 2.14% (mean +/- SD) of the dose with the single agent to less than 0.5% in the presence of R101933 (P = 0.0016). Levels of the major cytochrome P450 3A4-mediated metabolites of docetaxel in feces were significantly increased after combination treatment with R101933 (P = 0.010), indicating very prominent and efficient detoxification of reabsorbed docetaxel into hydroxylated compounds before reaching the systemic circulation. It is concluded that intestinal P-gp plays a principal role in the fecal elimination of docetaxel by modulating reabsorption of the drug after hepatobiliary secretion. In addition, the results indicate that inhibition of P-gp activity in normal tissues by effective modulators, and the physiological and pharmacological consequences of this treatment, cannot be predicted based on plasma drug monitoring alone.

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Clinical Cancer Research
Erasmus MC: University Medical Center Rotterdam

van Zuylen, L., Verweij, J., Nooter, K., Brouwer, E., Stoter, G., & Sparreboom, A. (2000). Role of intestinal P-glycoprotein in the plasma and fecal disposition of docetaxel in humans. Clinical Cancer Research. Retrieved from