Recent experiments in mice have demonstrated that the systemic exposure to p.o. administered paclitaxel is significantly enhanced with coadministration of the P-glycoprotein blocker SDZ PSC 833 (J. van Asperen et al, Br. J. Cancer, 76: 1181-1183, 1997). To facilitate further research on the feasibility of a clinically effective oral formulation of paclitaxel, it is important to know whether cotreatment with a commonly applied and commercially available P-glycoprotein blocker, e.g., cyclosporin A, has a similar effect. Here, we present a detailed study about the effects of cyclosporin A on the pharmacokinetics of p.o. and i.v. administered paclitaxel. Female FVB mice received a combined treatment of 5 or 10 mg/kg paclitaxel (either i.v. or p.o.) plus 0, 10, or 50 mg/kg cyclosporin A (p.o.). The plasma concentrations of paclitaxel were determined at several time points after drug administration using high-performance liquid chromatography. Calculated relative to the area under the plasma concentration-time curve of i.v. administered paclitaxel in mice treated without cyclosporin A, the oral bioavailability of paclitaxel increased from 9.3% up to 67% with coadministration of cyclosporin A. The bioavailability in mice cotreated with 10 or 50 mg/kg cyclosporin A appeared to be similar. The effect of cyclosporin A on the systemic exposure to p.o. administered paclitaxel was the result of both a significantly decreased clearance and an increased uptake. A histological examination revealed that the enhanced absorption was not caused by gastrointestinal toxicity. We conclude that cyclosporin A and SDZ PSC 833 are equally effective in increasing the systemic exposure to p.o. administered paclitaxel. These data are promising for the development of a clinically useful oral formulation of this cytostatic drug and indicate that cyclosporin A is a suitable agent for further research of this concept.