Pharmacokinetics of HD-MTX in infants, children, and adolescents with non- B acute lymphoblastic leukemia

M. G. Donelli, M. Zucchetti, A. Robatto, V. Perlangeli, M. D'Incalci, G. Masera, M. R. Rossi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


A retrospective pharmacokinetic analysis was done of methotrexate serum levels after high-dose treatment (HD-MTX, four cycles at two-week intervals of 5 g/sq.1m. over 24 h i.v.) in children with non B acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) with the specific aim of seeking differences in patients of different ages, including infants under one year. A total of 122 children (seven infants aged 3 months-1 year, 26 children aged 1-3 years, 68 children aged 3-10 years and 21 adolescents aged 10-15 years) with normal liver and renal function, receiving consolidation therapy at the Pediatric Clinic of Monza between May 1988 and April 1992, were enrolled in this study. MTX was given as an intravenous infusion in 24 h and serum concentrations were measured up to al least 72 h after the start of infusion by an enzyme immunoassay (TDX Abbot, Dallas, TX) in order to modulate folinic acid rescue. Pharmacokinetic analysis of MTX levels according to a two-compartment open model indicated that, compared to all children up to 10 years old, in adolescents older than 10 years the drug reached higher concentrations in serum and was cleared at a lower rate. Steady-state levels and AUC were from 60% higher to more than double and the total clearance of the compound, expressed either per square meter surface area or per kg body weight, in each cycle was significantly lower in adolescents >10 years of age, sometimes being only one-third of the clearance in infants (0.2 vs. 0.6 1/h/kg and 6.6 vs. 10.7 1/h/sq.m). The relationship between each age and systemic clearance was highly significant as measured by regression analysis. Methotrexate systemic clearance progressively decreased as a function of age. Subsequent treatments did not induce changes in MTX pharmacokinetics. These data suggest that the better tolerance of HD-MTX in children may have a pharmacokinetic basis. The faster elimination of MTX in infants, who usually show the worst prognosis, suggests that full doses could be safely used in order to maximize the antileukemic effect without a high risk of toxicity.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)154-159
Number of pages6
JournalMedical and Pediatric Oncology
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1995


  • child
  • MTX
  • pharmacokinetics

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research


Dive into the research topics of 'Pharmacokinetics of HD-MTX in infants, children, and adolescents with non- B acute lymphoblastic leukemia'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this