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Invest New Drugs. 1995;13(2):113-6.

Preclinical pharmacokinetics and antitumor activity of imexon.

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  • 1College of Medicine, Department of Pharmacology, Arizona Cancer Center, Tucson 85724, USA.


Imexon is an aziridine compound originally studied for immune-enhancing effects on lymphocytes. The drug was well-tolerated in humans and was shown to be active in a variety of animal tumor models. Recently, imexon has demonstrated antitumor activity in human multiple myeloma cell lines in vitro. The pharmacokinetics of the compound using normal phase HPLC assay were studied in normal mice and in dogs with mast cell tumors. Doses of 100 mg/kg given intraperitoneally produced peak plasma levels over 100 micrograms/ml in mice and the drug was rapidly eliminated with half lives of 8 minutes (alpha phase) and 29 minutes (beta phase). Only 20% of an oral imexon dose was absorbed in the mouse. In dogs, the alpha and beta phase half lives ranged from 18-26 minutes and 91-110 minutes, respectively. Peak levels over 100 micrograms/ml were obtained following intravenous doses of 12.5 mg/kg and 25 mg/kg. Imexon was active in mice bearing either P-388 or L-1210 leukemia, but not in mice with B-16 melanoma. These results suggest that cytotoxic drug concentrations can be obtained in vivo and that imexon is active in lymphoproliferative tumors.

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