Purpose: To describe 5-fluorouracil (5FU) pharmacokinetics, myelotoxicity and respective covariates using a simultaneous nonlinear mixed effect modelling approach.
Methods: Thirty patients with gastrointestinal cancer received 5FU 650 or 1000 mg/m2/day as 5-day continuous venous infusion (14 of whom also received cisplatin 20 mg/m2/day). 5FU and 5-fluoro-5,6-dihydrouracil (5FUH2) plasma concentrations were described by a pharmacokinetic model using NONMEM. Absolute leukocyte counts were described by a semi-mechanistic myelosuppression model. Covariate relationships were evaluated to explain the possible sources of variability in 5FU pharmacokinetics and pharmacodynamics.
Results: Total clearance of 5FU correlated with body surface area (BSA). Population estimate for total clearance was 249 L/h. Clearances of 5FU and 5FUH2 fractionally changed by 77%/m2 difference from the median BSA. 5FU central and peripheral volumes of distribution were 5.56 L and 28.5 L, respectively. Estimated 5FUH2 clearance and volume of distribution were 121 L/h and 96.7 L, respectively. Baseline leukocyte count of 6.86 × 109/L, as well as mean leukocyte transit time of 281 h accounting for time delay between proliferating and circulating cells, was estimated. The relationship between 5FU plasma concentrations and absolute leukocyte count was found to be linear. A higher degree of myelosuppression was attributed to combination therapy (slope = 2.82 L/mg) with cisplatin as compared to 5FU monotherapy (slope = 1.17 L/mg).
Conclusions: BSA should be taken into account for predicting 5FU exposure. Myelosuppression was influenced by 5FU exposure and concomitant administration of cisplatin.
Keywords: 5-Fluorouracil; Myelosuppression; Pharmacodynamics; Pharmacogenetics; Pharmacokinetics.