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J Cancer Res Clin Oncol. 1991;117 Suppl 4:S148-53.

Metabolism and pharmacokinetics of oral and intravenous ifosfamide.

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Klinik für Innere Medizin, Medizinische Universität Lübeck, Federal Republic of Germany.


The initial metabolism of ifosfamide (IF) consists of two different pathways: enzymatic hydroxylation at carbon-4 forms the cytostatically active metabolite 4-OH-IF ("activated ifosfamide") whereas side-chain oxidation results in the liberation of chloroacetaldehyde, a compound with possible neurotoxic properties. The pharmacokinetics of ifosfamide and its activated form were investigated in 12 cancer patients, who received both oral and i.v. treatment in a randomized sequence on days 1 and 3 at a dose of 1 g/m2 (n = 7) or 1.5 g/m2 (n = 5). In 3 patients the pharmacokinetics of chloroacetaldehyde were also investigated. After oral application, ifosfamide absorption proceeded rapidly, the oral bioavailability was 0.92. Independent of the route of ifosfamide application on day 1, the terminal half-life on day 3 (when the drug was given by the alternative route) was decreased in 6 out of the 12 patients, thus indicating self-induction of hepatic metabolism. 4-OH-IF was already present 20 min after ifosfamide administration. In the individual patient the concentrations of 4-OH-IF were always higher after oral than after i.v. IF application: the mean p.o.:i.v. ratios for cmax and the area under the concentration/time curve were 2.3 and 1.7 respectively (P less than 0.05). In a first series of 3 patients the chloroacetaldehyde concentrations measured after oral ifosfamide application were about twice as high as those when the drug was given intravenously. These results indicate that (in comparison to the i.v. route) orally administered ifosfamide may be more cancerotoxic but also leads to higher levels of chloroacetaldehyde. This would explain the neurotoxic side-effects previously seen after oral administration of comparatively low ifosfamide doses.

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