Clinical Investigation of Coproporphyrins as Sensitive Biomarkers to Predict Mild to Strong OATP1B-Mediated Drug–Drug Interactions

  • Annett Kunze
  • Emmanuel Njumbe Ediage
  • Lieve Dillen
  • Mario Monshouwer
  • Jan Snoeys
Original Research Article



Coproporphyrin (CP) I and III have recently been proposed as endogenous clinical biomarkers to predict organic anion-transporting polypeptide 1B (OATP1B)-mediated drug–drug interactions (DDIs). In the present study, we first investigated the in vitro selectivity of CPI and CPIII towards drug uptake and efflux transporters. We then assessed the in vivo biomarker sensitivity towards OATP1B inhibition.


To assess transporter selectivity, incubations with CPI and CPIII were performed in vitro, using single transporter-expressing and control systems. Furthermore, CPI and CPIII plasma concentrations were determined from participants of three independent clinical trials who were administered with either a strong, moderate, or mild clinical OATP1B inhibitor.


Our results show that CPI and CPIII are substrates of OATP1B1, OATP1B3, the multidrug resistance-associated protein (MRP) 2, and MRP3. No substrate interaction was shown for other prominent drug transporters that have been associated with clinical DDIs. Results from clinical studies demonstrated that changes in CPI and CPIII plasma levels were predictive for moderate (two to threefold area under the concentration–time curve [AUC] increase) and strong (≥ fivefold increases) clinical OATP1B inhibition. Furthermore, CPI, but not CPIII, concentration changes were predictive for a mild clinically observed DDI where CPI AUC increases of 1.4-fold were comparable with those observed for pitavastatin as victim drug (AUC increases of 1.5-fold).


Our results demonstrate the selectivity of CPI and CPIII towards the OATP1B/MRP pathway, and the herein reported data further underline the potential of CPI and CPIII as selective and sensitive clinical biomarkers to quantify OATP1B-mediated DDIs.



The authors thank Sophie Jonkers for assistance in vesicle studies, Drs. Loeckie de Zwart and Marie-Emilie Willemin for assisting in the pharmacokinetic data analysis, and Dr. Frank Jacobs for reviewing the manuscript. We also thank all clinical project team representatives and Janssen colleagues who supported this study.

Compliance with Ethical Standards


This study was funded by Janssen Pharmaceuticals.

Conflicts of interest

Annett Kunze, Emmanuel Njumbe Ediage, Lieve Dillen, Mario Monshouwer and Jan Snoeys are full-time employees of Janssen Pharmaceuticals.

Ethical approval

All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.

Informed consent

Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the study.

Supplementary material

40262_2018_648_MOESM1_ESM.doc (114 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (DOC 114 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Janssen Pharmaceutical Companies of Johnson & JohnsonBeerseBelgium

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