, Volume 39, Issue 6, pp 557-560

Plasma concentrations of polysorbate 80 measured in patients following administration of docetaxel or etoposide

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 Docetaxel (Taxotere, Rhone-Poulenc Rorer) and etoposide are water-insoluble drugs formulated with polysorbate 80 for intravenous administration. We have previously reported that surfactants, including polysorbate 80 and Cremophor EL, can reverse the multidrug resistance (MDR) phenotype in an experimental system and that plasma Cremophor EL concentrations measured following a 3-h infusion of paclitaxel were ≥1 μl/ml, sufficient to modulate MDR in vitro. The purpose of this study was to measure polysorbate 80 plasma concentrations in patients following intravenous administration of etoposide or docetaxel using a bioassay in which MDR-expressing cells are incubated with daunorubicin (DNR) plus 50/50 growth medium/plasma and equilibrium intracellular DNR fluorescence is measured by flow cytometry. In vitro experiments show maximal reversal of MDR at concentrations of 1.0–2.0 μl/ml and 50% reversal at 0.2–0.3 μl/ml. Patients received docetaxel at 75 mg/m2 (five patients) or 100 mg/m2 (four patients) (total dose 125–178 mg, containing 3.12–4.45 ml polysorbate 80) over 60 min. The median end-infusion polysorbate 80 concentration was 0.1 μl/ml (range 0.07–0.41 μl/ml). Only one patient had a level of >0.2 μl/ml. Five patients received intravenous etoposide at 120 mg/m2 over 45–120 min (total dose 180–250 mg, containing 0.67–0.93 ml polysorbate 80). In the end-infusion plasma sample, polysorbate 80 was not detectable (<0.06 μl/ml) in any patient. Plasma polysorbate 80 levels following an intravenous infusion of 120 mg/m2 etoposide or of docetaxel at doses used in Phase II trials, are insufficient to show modulation of MDR in vitro.

Received: 21 July 1996 / Accepted: 4 November 1996