Pharmacokinetic and pharmacodynamic study of doxorubicin in children with cancer: results of a “European Pediatric Oncology Off-patents Medicines Consortium” trial

Miriam Krischke, Georg Hempel, Swantje Völler, Nicolas André, Maurizio D’Incalci, Gianni Bisogno, Wolfgang Köpcke, Matthias Borowski, Ralf Herold, Alan V. Boddy, Joachim Boos

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Purpose: Doxorubicin is a key component in many pediatric oncology treatment regimens; still pharmacology data on which current dosing regimens are based are very limited. Methods: We conducted a multinational pharmacokinetic study investigating age dependency of doxorubicin metabolism and elimination in children with cancer. One hundred and one patients treated with doxorubicin according to a cancer-specific national or European therapeutic trial were recruited. Doses of doxorubicin ranged from 10.4 to 57.7 mg/m2. Blood samples for measurement of doxorubicin and its metabolite doxorubicinol were collected after two administrations, with five samples collected in children <3 years and eight in children ≥3 years. A population pharmacokinetic approach was used for analysis, including pharmacogenetic covariates. Natriuretic peptides and cardiac troponins were measured to evaluate their role as early indicators of cardiotoxicity. Results: Age dependence of doxorubicin clearance was demonstrated, with children less than 3 years having a statistically significant lower clearance (21.1 ± 5.8 l/h/m2) than older children (26.6 ± 6.7 l/h/m2) (p = 0.0004) after correcting for body surface area. No effect of the investigated genetic polymorphisms on the pharmacokinetics could be observed. Although natriuretic peptides were transiently elevated after each doxorubicin administration and troponin levels increased with increasing doxorubicin exposure, only limited correlation could be observed between their blood levels and doxorubicin pharmacokinetics. Conclusion: In the European framework of funding and regulatory support, an add-on study to existing therapeutic trials was developed. The pediatric need concerning missing PK data could be addressed with limited burden for the patients. Empirically used dose adaptations for infants were generally found to be justified based on our PK analyses.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-10
Number of pages10
JournalCancer Chemotherapy and Pharmacology
Publication statusAccepted/In press - Oct 21 2016


  • Cancer
  • Cardiotoxicity
  • Children
  • Doxorubicin
  • Pharmacokinetic

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Toxicology
  • Pharmacology
  • Cancer Research
  • Pharmacology (medical)


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