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Mass Spectrom Rev. 2005 Nov-Dec;24(6):887-917.

Liquid chromatography-mass spectrometry for the quantitative bioanalysis of anticancer drugs.

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Department of Pharmacy & Pharmacology, The Netherlands Cancer Institute/Slotervaart Hospital, Louwesweg 6, 1066 EC Amsterdam, The Netherlands.


The monitoring of anticancer drugs in biological fluids and tissues is important during both pre-clinical and clinical development and often in routine clinical use. Traditionally, liquid chromatography (LC) in combination with ultraviolet (UV), fluorescence, or electrochemical detection is employed for this purpose. The successful hyphenation of LC and mass spectrometry (MS), however, has dramatically changed this. MS detection provides better sensitivity and selectivity than UV detection and, in addition, is applicable to a significantly larger group of compounds than fluorescence or electrochemical detection. Therefore, LC-MS has now become the method of first choice for the quantitative bioanalysis of many anticancer agents. There are still, however, a lot of new developments to be expected in this area, such as the introduction of more sensitive and robust mass spectrometers, high-throughput analyses, and further optimization of the coupled LC systems. Many articles have appeared in this field in recent years and are reviewed here. We conclude that LC-MS is an extremely powerful tool for the quantitative analysis of anticancer drugs in biological samples.

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