Pharmacokinetics and effects on plasma retinol concentrations of 13-cis-retinoic acid in melanoma patients

F. Formelli, E. Cavadini, L. Mascheroni, F. Belli, N. Cascinelli

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The pharmacokinetics of 13-cis-retinoic acid (13cisRA) and its effects on retinol plasma levels were investigated after the first and the last doses in melanoma patients, who participated in a study run to assess tolerance over a long period of a treatment schedule of 13cisRA associated with recombinant interferon α2a (rIFN-α2a). Melanoma patients with regional node metastases after radical surgery were randomized to be treated for 3 months with rIFN-α2a, 3 x 106 IU s.c. every other day, associated with oral 13cisRA at doses of 20 mg day-1 (five patients) or 40 mg every other day (seven patients). Maximum 13cisRA blood concentrations usually occurred 4 h after drug administration, with average values of 406 and 633 ng ml-1 (i.e. 1.3 and 2.1 μM) after the 20 and 40 mg dose respectively. The average half-life (t(1/2)) was approximately 30 h. The maximum concentration, the t(1/2) and the area under the concentration-time curves from 0 to 48 h (AUG0-48) of 13cisRA did not change after multiple dosing, whereas the AUG0-48 of its major blood metabolite, 4-oxo-13-cis-retinoic acid, increased. Immediately after 13cisRA treatment, retinol plasma levels started to decline and they reached the lowest values (approximately 20% reduction) shortly after the time of maximum 13cisRA concentrations (i.e. 4-12 h after drug intake). Afterwards, values returned to baseline. The amount of retinol reduction in time was correlated with 13cisRA maximum concentrations.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1655-1660
Number of pages6
JournalBritish Journal of Cancer
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - 1997


  • 13-cis-retinoic acid
  • Melanoma
  • Pharmacokinetics
  • Retinol

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cancer Research
  • Oncology


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