Simultaneous quantification of abemaciclib and its active metabolites in human and mouse plasma by UHPLC-MS/MS.


Abemaciclib is the third cyclin-dependent kinase 4 and 6 inhibitor approved for the treatment of advanced or metastatic breast cancer. In humans, abemaciclib is extensively metabolized by CYP3A4 with the formation of three active metabolites: N-desethylabemaciclib (M2), hydroxyabemaciclib (M20) and hydroxy-N-desethylabemaciclib (M18). These metabolites showed similar potency compared to the parent drug and were significantly abundant in plasma circulation. Thus, M2, M20, and M18 may contribute to the clinical activity of abemaciclib. For this reason, an UHPLC-MS/MS method for the simultaneous quantification of abemaciclib and its active metabolites in human and mouse plasma was developed and validated to support further clinical or preclinical investigations on this drug. Samples were processed by protein precipitation with acetonitrile, followed by supernatant dilution and filtration. Chromatographic separation was performed on a Kinetex C18 column (150 × 2.1 mm ID, 2.6 μm) using gradient elution with 10 mM ammonium bicarbonate in water (eluent A) and in methanol-water (9:1, v/v, eluent B). This method was selective, linear, accurate and precise within the range of 1-600 ng/mL for abemaciclib, 0.5-300 ng/mL for M2 and M20, and 0.2-120 ng/mL for M18. Furthermore, stability of the analytes in human and mouse plasma samples in several conditions was demonstrated. Finally, this assay was successfully used in a preclinical pharmacokinetic study, where abemaciclib and its active metabolites were identified and quantified. Inter-species differences between human and mouse samples were encountered, especially in the formation of M20, where isomers of this compound were detected in mouse plasma, but not in human plasma. This was confirmed by high resolution-mass spectrometry (HR-MS) measurements.

More about this publication

Journal of pharmaceutical and biomedical analysis
  • Volume 203
  • Pages 114225
  • Publication date 05-09-2021

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