European Journal of Clinical Pharmacology

, Volume 74, Issue 12, pp 1575–1584 | Cite as

The role of solute carrier (SLC) transporters in actinomycin D pharmacokinetics in paediatric cancer patients

  • Hannah Yejin KimEmail author
  • Gareth J Veal
  • Fanfan Zhou
  • Alan V Boddy



Actinomycin D is used for treatment of paediatric cancers; however, a large inter-patient pharmacokinetic (PK) variability and hepatotoxicity are significant limitations to its use and warrant further investigation. Elimination of actinomycin D may be mediated by transporters, as the drug does not seem to undergo significant metabolism. We investigated the role of solute carrier (SLC) transporters in actinomycin D PK.


Fourteen key SLCs were screened through probe substrate uptake inhibition by actinomycin D in HEK293 cells. Uptake of actinomycin D was further studied in candidate SLCs by measuring intracellular actinomycin D using a validated LCMS assay. Pharmacogenetic analysis was conducted for 60 patients (Clinical trial: NCT00900354), who were genotyped for SNPs for OAT4 and PEPT2.


OAT4, OCT2, OCT3 and PEPT2 showed significantly lower probe substrate uptake (mean ± SD 75.0 ± 3.5% (p < 0.0001), 74.8 ± 11.2% (p = 0.001), 81.2 ± 14.0% (p = 0.0083) and 70.7 ± 5.7% (p = 0.0188)) compared to that of control. Intracellular accumulation of actinomycin D was greater compared to vector control in OAT4-transfected cells by 1.5- and 1.4-fold at 10 min (p = 0.01) and 20 min (p = 0.03), and in PEPT2-transfected cells by 1.5- and 1.7-fold at 10 min (p = 0.047) and 20 min (p = 0.043), respectively. Subsequent clinical study did not find a significant association between OAT4 rs11231809 and PEPT2 rs2257212 genotypes, and actinomycin D PK parameters such as clearance (CL) and volume of distribution (Vd).


Transport of actinomycin D was mediated by OAT4 and PEPT2 in vitro. There was a lack of clinical significance of OAT4 and PEPT2 genotypes as predictors of actinomycin D disposition in paediatric cancer patients.


Actinomycin D SLC transporters Pharmacokinetics Pharmacogenetics Cancer 



This work was supported by the University of Sydney, Australia, Cancer Research UK and the Experimental Cancer Medicine Centre Network.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.


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© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of Pharmacy, Faculty of Medicine and HealthThe University of SydneySydneyAustralia
  2. 2.Northern Institute of Cancer ResearchNewcastle UniversityNewcastleUK

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