Phase I trial of doxorubicin with cyclosporine as a modulator of multidrug resistance

Nancy L. Bartlett, Bert L. Lum, George A. Fisher, Nathalie A. Brophy, Mohamed N. Ehsan, Joanne Halsey, Branimir I. Sikic

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179 Scopus citations


Purpose: To study the effects of cyclosporine (CsA), a modulator of multidrug resistance (MDR), on the pharmacokinetics and toxicities of doxorubicin. Patients and Methods: Nineteen patients with incurable malignancies entered this phase I trial. Initially, patients received doxorubicin alone (60 or 75 mg/m2) as a 48-hour continuous intravenous (IV) infusion. Patients whose tumors did not respond received CsA as a 2-hour loading dose of 6 mg/kg and a 48-hour continuous infusion of 18 mg/kg/d with doxorubicin. Target CsA levels were 3,000 to 4,800 ng/mL (2.5 to 4.0 μmol/L). Doxorubicin doses were reduced to 40% of the prior dose without CsA, and then escalated until myelosuppression equivalent to that resulting from doxorubicin alone was observed. Doxorubicin pharmacokinetics were analyzed with and without CsA. Results: Thirteen patients received both doxorubicin alone and the combination of doxorubicin and CsA. Mean CsA levels were more than 2,000 ng/mL for all cycles and more than 3,000 ng/mL for 68% of cycles. Dose escalation of doxorubicin with CsA was stopped at 60% of the doxorubicin alone dose, as four of five patients at this dose level had WBC nadirs equivalent to those seen with doxorubicin alone. Nonhematologic toxicities were mild. Reversible hyperbilirubinemia occurred in 68% of doxorubicin/CsA courses. The addition of CsA to doxorubicin increased grade 1 and 2 nausea (87% v 47%) and vomiting (50% v 10%) compared with doxorubicin alone. There was no significant nephrotoxicity. Paired pharmacokinetics were studied in 12 patients. The addition of CsA increased the dose-adjusted area under the curve (AUC) of doxorubicin by 55%, and of its metabolite doxorubicinol by 350%. Conclusion: CsA inhibits the clearance of both doxorubicin and doxorubicinol. Equivalent myelosuppression was observed when the dose of doxorubicin with CsA was 60% of the dose of doxorubicin without CsA. Understanding these pharmacokinetic interactions is essential for the design and interpretation of clinical trials of MDR modulation, and should be studied with more potent MDR modulators.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)835-842
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Clinical Oncology
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 1994


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