Cancer Chemotherapy and Pharmacology

, Volume 54, Issue 1, pp 79–84 | Cite as

Hyperthermia modifies pharmacokinetics and tissue distribution of intraperitoneal melphalan in a rat model

  • O. Glehen
  • O. A. Stuart
  • F. Mohamed
  • P. H. Sugarbaker
Original Article


Background and objectives

Peritoneal surface malignancy is a common manifestation of failure of treatment for abdominal cancers. Best results of treatment have been achieved with complete cytoreduction followed by heated intraoperative chemotherapy. Melphalan is a chemotherapeutic agent that shows increased pharmacological activity with heat. But the combination of intraperitoneal administration and heat have never been tested for this drug. The purpose of this study was to evaluate the effect of hyperthermia on the pharmacokinetics and tissue distribution of intraperitoneal melphalan in a rodent model.


Melphalan was given by the intraperitoneal route to 20 Sprague-Dawley rats at a dose of 12 mg/kg over 90 min. Rats were randomized into two groups according to the temperature of the peritoneal perfusate: group NT received normothermic (33.5°C) melphalan; group HT received hyperthermic (42°C) melphalan. During the course of intraperitoneal chemotherapy, peritoneal fluid and blood were sampled at 5, 15, 30, 60 and 90 min. At the end of procedure, the rats were killed and tissues samples (heart, liver, ileum, jejunum, colon, omentum, and abdominal wall) were collected. Concentrations of melphalan were determined in peritoneal fluid, plasma, and tissues by high-performance liquid chromatography.


The area under the curve (AUC) of peritoneal fluid melphalan was significantly lower in the HT group than in the NT group (P=0.001), whereas no significant difference in plasma AUC was found. AUC ratios (AUC peritoneal fluid/AUC plasma) were 12.1 for the NT group and 12.3 for the HT group. The mean time to reach the plasma peak was shorter in the HT group than in the NT group (P=0.004). The HT group exhibited increased melphalan concentrations in all intraabdominal tissues. These differences were significant for the ileum (P=0.03) and jejunum (P=0.04).


Hyperthermia affected the pharmacokinetics of intraperitoneal melphalan by decreasing the AUC of peritoneal fluid melphalan without increasing the plasma AUC. It increased intraabdominal tissue concentrations.


Hyperthermia Melphalan Intraperitoneal chemotherapy Pharmacokinetics 



We acknowledge Fondation de France for their support to Olivier Glehen.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2004

Authors and Affiliations

  • O. Glehen
    • 1
  • O. A. Stuart
    • 2
  • F. Mohamed
    • 2
  • P. H. Sugarbaker
    • 2
  1. 1.Surgical DepartmentCentre Hospitalo-Universitaire Lyon SudPierre BéniteFrance
  2. 2.Washington Cancer InstituteWashington DCUSA

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