A semimechanistic-physiologic population pharmacokinetic/pharmacodynamic model for neutropenia following pemetrexed therapy Journal Articles uri icon

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  • PURPOSE: The objectives of these analyses were to (1) develop a semimechanistic-physiologic population pharmacokinetic/pharmacodynamic (PK/PD) model to describe neutropenic response to pemetrexed and to (2) identify influential covariates with respect to pharmacodynamic response. PATIENTS AND METHODS: Data from 279 patients who received 1,136 treatment cycles without folic acid or vitamin B12 supplementation during participation in one of eight phase II cancer trials were available for analysis. Starting doses were 500 or 600 mg pemetrexed per m2 body surface area (BSA), administered as 10-min intravenous infusions every 21 days (1 cycle). The primary analyses included 105 patients (279 cycles) for which selected covariates-including vitamin deficiency marker data (i.e., homocysteine, cystathionine, methylmalonic acid, and methylcitrate [I, II, and total] plasma concentrations)-were available. Classical statistical multivariate regression analyses and a semimechanistic-physiologic population PK/PD model were used to evaluate neutropenic response to single-agent pemetrexed administration. RESULTS: The timecourse of neutropenia following single-agent pemetrexed administration was adequately described by a semimechanistic-physiologic model. Population estimates for system-based model parameters (i.e., baseline neutrophil count, mean transit time, and the feedback parameter), which mathematically represent current understanding of the process and physiology of hematopoiesis, were consistent with previously reported values. The population PK/PD model included homocysteine, cystathionine, albumin, total protein, and BSA as covariates relative to neutropenic response. CONCLUSION: These results support the programmatic decision to introduce folic acid and vitamin B12 supplementation during pemetrexed clinical development as a means of normalizing patient homocysteine levels, thereby managing the risk of severe neutropenia secondary to pemetrexed administration. The current results also suggest that the addition of vitamin B6 supplementation to normalize patient cystathionine levels may further decrease the incidence of grade 4 neutropenia following pemetrexed administration. The results also suggest the use of folic acid as a means of lessening hematologic toxicity following administration of cytotoxic agents other than antifolates.


  • Latz, Jane E
  • Karlsson, Mats O
  • Rusthoven, James
  • Ghosh, Atalanta
  • Johnson, Robert D

publication date

  • April 2006

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