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Ther Drug Monit. 2007 Jun;29(3):265-70.

Insights, challenges, and future directions in irinogenetics.

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Section of Oncology, Department of Medicine, Asan Medical Center, University of Ulsan, Seoul, Korea.


Irinotecan is widely used in the treatment of metastatic colorectal cancer and extensive small-cell lung cancer. Its use is limited by severe toxicities such as neutropenia and delayed-type diarrhea. Irinotecan is converted to its active metabolite SN-38. SN-38 is further metabolized to SN-38G by various hepatic and extrahepatic UGT1A isozymes, mainly UGT1A1. Impaired glucuronidation activity of the UGT1A1 enzyme has been linked with elevated levels of SN-38, leading to toxicities. UGT1A1*28 involves an extra TA repeat in the UGT1A1 promoter region and is the variant most frequently contributing to interpatient variability in irinotecan pharmacokinetics and toxicities. This information led to the revision of the irinotecan label by the US Food and Drug Administration. Recently, UGT1A1*6 seems to contribute to the risk of toxicity of irinotecan in Asian patients. The pharmacogenetics of irinotecan (irinogenetics) is one of few promising examples of the application of pharmacogenetics to individualized drug therapy. This review summarizes ongoing studies and unanswered questions on irinogenetics.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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