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Invest New Drugs. 2001 May;19(2):113-23.

Determinants of paclitaxel uptake, accumulation and retention in solid tumors.

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College of Pharmacy, The Ohio State University, Columbus, USA.


This report addresses the determinants of the rate and extent of paclitaxel accumulation in tumors. In a 2-dimensional system such as monolayers where the drug is directly in contact with tumor cells, drug accumulation is determined by the extracellular-to-intracellular concentration gradient, the drug binding to extracellular and intracellular macromolecules, the presence of the mdrl p-glycoprotein (Pgp). and the time-dependent and drug concentration-dependent changes in tubulins and cell density. Intracellular pharmacokinetic models were developed to depict the effects of these parameters. Computer simulation results indicate that at the clinically relevant concentration range of 1 to 1,000 nM, (a) the binding affinity and the number of intracellular saturable drug binding sites are important for drug accumulation at low and high extracellular concentrations, respectively, (b) saturation in the drug binding to the high affinity intracellular binding sites (e.g., tubulin/microtubule) occurs at extracellular drug concentration above 100 nM, (c) treatment with 1,000 nM paclitaxel for >4 hr results in increased levels of tubulin/microtubule and consequently increased intracellular drug accumulation, whereas the continued cell proliferation after treatment with low drug concentrations results in reduced intracellular accumulation, and (d) saturation of Pgp in mdr1-transfected cells occurs at the high end of the clinically relevant concentration range. In a 3-dimensional system such as the solid tumor histocultures, which contain tumor cells as well as stromal cells, the drug accumulation into the inner cell layers is determined by the unique properties of solid tumors, including tumor cell density and spatial arrangement of tumor and stromal tissues. Most interestingly, drug penetration is modulated by the drug-induced apoptosis; the reduced cell density due to apoptosis results in an enhancement of the rate of drug penetration into the inner cell layers of solid tumors. In conclusion, the uptake, accumulation, and retention of paclitaxel in solid tumors are determined by (a) factors that are independent of biological changes in tumor cells induced by paclitaxel, i.e., ratio of extracellular and intracellular concentrations, and drug binding to extracellular and intracellular macromolecules, and (b) factors that are dependent on the time- and drug concentration-dependent biological changes induced by paclitaxel, i.e., induction of apoptosis, enhancement of tubulin/microtubule production, and induction of Pgp expression.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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