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J Pharm Sci. 2010 Feb;99(2):1046-62. doi: 10.1002/jps.21860.

Oral sulfasalazine as a clinical BCRP probe substrate: pharmacokinetic effects of genetic variation (C421A) and pantoprazole coadministration.

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Clinical Pharmacology Modelling & Simulation, GlaxoSmithKline, Research Triangle Park, USA.


This study evaluated the utility of oral sulfasalazine as a probe substrate for Breast Cancer Resistance Protein (BCRP; ABCG2) activity by assessing the impact of genetic variation or coadministration of an inhibitor (pantoprazole) on plasma and urine pharmacokinetics of sulfasalazine and metabolites. Thirty-six healthy male subjects prescreened for ABCG2 421CC (reference activity), CA, and AA (lower activity) genotypes (N = 12 each) received a single 500 mg oral dose of enteric coated sulfasalazine alone, with 40 mg pantoprazole, or with 40 mg famotidine (gastrointestinal pH control) in a 3-period, single fixed sequence, crossover design. No significant difference in sulfasalazine or metabolite pharmacokinetics in 421AA or CA compared to 421CC subjects was found; however, high inter-subject variability was observed. Geometric mean (95% CI) sulfasalazine plasma AUC((0-infinity)) values were 32.1 (13.2, 78.1), 16.8 (7.15, 39.6) and 62.7 (33.4, 118) microg h/mL, and C(max) were 4.01 (1.62, 9.92), 1.70 (0.66, 4.40), and 6.86 (3.61, 13.0) microg/mL for CC, CA, and AA subjects, respectively. Pantoprazole and famotidine did not affect sulfasalazine pharmacokinetics in any genotypic cohort. These results suggest that the pharmacokinetics of oral, enteric-coated 500 mg sulfasalazine are not sufficiently sensitive to ABCG2 genetic variation or inhibitors to be useful as a clinical probe substrate of BCRP activity.

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