Extensive metabolism and hepatic accumulation of gemcitabine after multiple oral and intravenous administration in mice.


In a clinical study with oral gemcitabine (2',2'-difluorodeoxycytidine, dFdC), we found that gemcitabine was hepatotoxic and extensively metabolized to 2',2'-difluorodeoxyuridine (dFdU) after continuous oral dosing. The main metabolite dFdU had a long terminal half-life after oral administration. Our hypothesis was that dFdU and/or phosphorylated metabolites of gemcitabine accumulated in the liver after multiple oral dosing. In this study, mice were treated with oral or i.v. dFdC at a single dose (1qdx1d) or at multiple doses once daily for 7 days (1qdx7d) or seven times daily (7qdx1d). Blood, liver, kidneys, and lungs were collected at several time points. Urine samples were collected after i.v. dFdC, and peripheral blood mononuclear cells were collected 7qdx1d dosing of dFdC. The nucleosides dFdC and dFdU as well as the nucleotides gemcitabine monophosphate (dFdC-MP), diphosphate, and triphosphate (dFdC-TP) and dFdU monophosphate, diphosphate (dFdU-DP), and triphosphate (dFdU-TP) were simultaneously quantified by high-performance liquid chromatography with ultraviolet and radioisotope detection. We demonstrate that phosphorylated metabolites of both dFdC and dFdU are formed in mice, primarily consisting of dFdC-MP, dFdC-TP, and dFdU-TP. Multiple dosing of dFdC leads to substantial hepatic and renal accumulation of dFdC-TP and dFdU-TP, which have a more pronounced liver accumulation after oral than after i.v. dosing. The presence of dFdC-MP, dFdC-TP, and dFdU-TP in plasma and urine suggests efflux of these potentially toxic metabolites. Our results show that dFdU, dFdC-TP, and dFdU-TP accumulate in the liver after multiple dosing of dFdC in mice and might be associated with hepatotoxicity of oral dFdC in patients.

More about this publication

Drug metabolism and disposition: the biological fate of chemicals
  • Volume 36
  • Issue nr. 8
  • Pages 1606-15
  • Publication date 01-08-2008

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