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Eur J Cancer. 2003 Mar;39(5):580-6.

Epirubicin in patients with liver dysfunction: development and evaluation of a novel dose modification scheme.

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Breast Oncology Unit, GKT School of Medicine, Guy's Hospital, London, UK.


This study aimed to develop an epirubicin dose modification scheme in women with breast cancer and liver dysfunction. We first identified target areas under the concentration-time curve (AUCs) of 2400 and 1600 ng/ml.h from pharmacokinetic studies in 15 women with normal liver tests. In a second group of 16 women with abnormal liver biochemistry, the relationship between raised asparate aminotransferase (AST) and epirubicin clearance was: dose=AUC (97.5-34.2xlog AST). Adaptive dosing was evaluated prospectively in a third group of 41 women with serum AST > or =2xnormal+/-raised bilirubin. The median AUCs were 2444 and 1608 ng/ml.h, close to the high and low target AUCs, respectively. Variability in AUC was lower with adaptive dosing than in a fourth group given an unadjusted dose of epirubicin (coefficient of variation=25.8, 30.0 and 46.5%, respectively; P=0.06). Epirubicin dosing based on AST is safe and may reduce pharmacokinetic variability.

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