Functionally overlapping roles of Abcg2 (Bcrp1) and Abcc2 (Mrp2) in the elimination of methotrexate and its main toxic metabolite 7-hydroxymethotrexate in vivo.



Abcc2 and Abcg2 together are major determinants of MTX and 7OH-MTX pharmacokinetics. Variations in ABCC2 and/or ABCG2 activity due to polymorphisms or coadministered inhibitors may therefore substantially affect the therapeutic efficacy and toxicity in patients treated with MTX.


Compared with wild-type, the plasma areas under the curve (AUC) for MTX were 1.6-fold and 2.0-fold higher in Abcg2(-/-) and Abcc2(-/-) mice, respectively, and 3.3-fold increased in Abcc2;Abcg2(-/-) mice. The biliary excretion of MTX was 23-fold reduced in Abcc2;Abcg2(-/-) mice, and the MTX levels in the small intestine were dramatically decreased. Plasma levels of 7OH-MTX were not significantly altered in Abcg2(-/-) mice, but the areas under the curve were 6.2-fold and even 12.4-fold increased in Abcc2(-/-) and Abcc2;Abcg2(-/-) mice, respectively. This indicates that Abcc2 compensates for Abcg2 deficiency but that Abcg2 can only partly compensate for Abcc2 absence. Furthermore, 21-fold decreased biliary 7OH-MTX excretion in Abcc2;Abcg2(-/-) mice and substantial 7OH-MTX accumulation in the liver and kidney were seen. We additionally found that in the absence of Abcc2, Abcg2 mediated substantial urinary excretion of MTX and 7OH-MTX.


ABCC2 (MRP2) and ABCG2 (BCRP) transport various endogenous and exogenous compounds, including many anticancer drugs, into bile, feces, and urine. We investigated the possibly overlapping roles of Abcg2 and Abcc2 in the elimination of the anticancer drug methotrexate (MTX) and its toxic metabolite 7-hydroxymethotrexate (7OH-MTX).


We generated and characterized Abcc2;Abcg2(-/-) mice, and used these to determine the overlapping roles of Abcc2 and Abcg2 in the elimination of MTX and 7OH-MTX after i.v. administration of 50 mg/kg MTX.

More about this publication

Clinical cancer research : an official journal of the American Association for Cancer Research
  • Volume 15
  • Issue nr. 9
  • Pages 3084-93
  • Publication date 01-05-2009

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