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Drug Metab Dispos. 2011 Aug;39(8):1338-44. doi: 10.1124/dmd.111.038794. Epub 2011 May 12.

Impact of abcc2 [multidrug resistance-associated protein (MRP) 2], abcc3 (MRP3), and abcg2 (breast cancer resistance protein) on the oral pharmacokinetics of methotrexate and its main metabolite 7-hydroxymethotrexate.

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  • 1Division of Molecular Biology, The Netherlands Cancer Institute, Amsterdam, The Netherlands.


The ATP-binding cassette (ABC) transporters ABCC2 [multidrug resistance-associated protein (MRP) 2], ABCC3 (MRP3), and ABCG2 (breast cancer resistance protein) are involved in the efflux of potentially toxic compounds from the body. We have shown before that ABCC2, ABCC3, and ABCG2 together influence the pharmacokinetics of the anticancer and antirheumatic drug methotrexate (MTX) and its toxic metabolite 7-hydroxymethotrexate (7OH-MTX) after intravenous MTX administration. We now have used Abcc2;Abcc3;Abcg2(-/-) and corresponding single and double knockout mice to investigate the relative impact of these transporters on MTX and 7OH-MTX pharmacokinetics after oral MTX administration (50 mg/kg). The plasma areas under the curve (AUC(plasma)) in Abcg2(-/-) and Abcc2;Abcg2(-/-) mice were 1.7- and 3.0-fold higher than those in wild-type mice, respectively, suggesting additive effects of Abcc2 and Abcg2 on oral MTX pharmacokinetics. However, the AUC(plasma) in Abcc2;Abcc3;Abcg2(-/-) mice was not different from that in wild-type mice, indicating that Abcc3 protein is necessary for increased MTX plasma concentrations in the absence of Abcc2 and/or Abcg2. Furthermore, 2 h after administration, MTX liver levels were increased in Abcg2-deficient strains and MTX kidney levels were 2.2-fold increased in Abcc2;Abcg2(-/-) mice compared with those in wild-type mice. The absence of Abcc2 and/or Abcg2 also led to significantly increased liver and kidney levels of 7OH-MTX. Our results suggest that inhibition of ABCG2 and/or ABCC2, genetic polymorphisms or mutations reducing expression or activity of these proteins may increase the oral availability of MTX. Such conditions may also present risk factors for increased MTX-related toxicity in patients treated with oral MTX.

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