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Cancer Chemother Pharmacol. 2001 Jun;47(6):541-4.

A difference between the rat and mouse in the pharmacokinetic interaction of 5,6-dimethylxanthenone-4-acetic acid with thalidomide.

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  • 1Department of Pharmacology and Clinical Pharmacology, The University of Auckland School of Medicine, New Zealand.



Coadministration of thalidomide, cyproheptadine or diclofenac has been shown to increase the area under the plasma concentration-time curve (AUC) of the novel antitumour agent 5,6-dimethylxanthenone-4-acetic acid (DMXAA) in mice. The aim of this study was to further investigate these pharmacokinetic DMXAA-drug interactions in the rat model.


The effects of coadministration of L-thalidomide, cyproheptadine or diclofenac on the pharmacokinetics of DMXAA were investigated in male Wistar Kyoto rats. The effects of L-thalidomide, cyproheptadine and diclofenac on microsomal metabolism and plasma protein binding of DMXAA were also investigated.


No significant alteration in the plasma concentration profile for DMXAA was observed following L-thalidomide pretreatment in rats. In contrast, when combined with diclofenac or cyproheptadine, the plasma AUC of DMXAA was significantly (P<0.05) increased by 48% and 88% and the T1/2 by 36% and 107%, respectively, compared to controls. Both diclofenac and cyproheptadine at 500 microM caused a significant inhibition of DMXAA metabolism in rat liver microsomes. In contrast, L-thalidomide had no or little inhibitory effect on DMXAA metabolism in rat liver microsomes except for causing a 32% decrease in 6methylhydroxylation at 500 microM. None of the drugs had a significant effect on the plasma protein binding of DMXAA in the rat.


These studies showed that coadministration of L-thalidomide did not alter the plasma DMXAA AUC in rats, in contrast to previous studies in mice, whereas diclofenac and cyproheptadine significantly reduced the plasma clearance of DMXAA in rats in a similar manner to their effect in mice. The cause of the species difference in the pharmacokinetic response to thalidomide by DMXAA is unknown, and indicates difficulties in predicting the outcome of such a combination in patients.

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