Integration of DNA sequencing with population pharmacokinetics to improve the prediction of irinotecan exposure in cancer patients


Irinotecan (CPT-11) is an anticancer agent widely used to treat adult solid tumours. Large interindividual variability in the clearance of irinotecan and SN-38, its active and toxic metabolite, results in highly unpredictable toxicity.


In 217 cancer patients treated with intravenous irinotecan single agent or in combination, germline DNA was used to interrogate the variation in 84 genes by next-generation sequencing. A stepwise analytical framework including a population pharmacokinetic model with SNP- and gene-based testing was used to identify demographic/clinical/genetic factors that influence the clearance of irinotecan and SN-38.


Irinotecan clearance was influenced by rs4149057 in SLCO1B1, body surface area, and co-administration of 5-fluorouracil/leucovorin/bevacizumab. SN-38 clearance was influenced by rs887829 in UGT1A1, pre-treatment total bilirubin, and EGFR rare variant burden. Within each UGT1A1 genotype group, elevated pre-treatment total bilirubin and/or presence of at least one rare variant in EGFR resulted in significantly lower SN-38 clearance. The model reduced the interindividual variability in irinotecan clearance from 38 to 34% and SN-38 clearance from 49 to 32%.


This new model significantly reduced the interindividual variability in the clearance of irinotecan and SN-38. New genetic factors of variability in clearance have been identified.

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