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Clinical Pharmacokinetics of Tyrosine Kinase Inhibitors: Implications for Therapeutic Drug Monitoring

Research output: Contribution to journalLiterature reviewpeer-review

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)562-587
Number of pages26
JournalTherapeutic Drug Monitoring
Issue number5
PublishedOct 2013

King's Authors


The treatment of many malignancies has been improved in recent years by the introduction of molecular targeted therapies. These drugs interact preferentially with specific targets that are mutated and/or overexpressed in malignant cells. A group of such targets are the tyrosine kinases, against which a number of inhibitors (tyrosine kinase inhibitors, TKIs) have been developed. Imatinib, a TKI with targets that include the breakpoint cluster region-Abelson (bcr-abl) fusion protein kinase and mast/stem cell growth factor receptor kinase (c-Kit), was the first clinically successful drug of this type and revolutionized the treatment and prognosis of chronic myeloid leukemia and gastrointestinal stromal tumors. This success paved the way for the development of other TKIs for the treatment of a range of hematological malignancies and solid tumors. To date, 14 TKIs have been approved for clinical use and many more are under investigation. All these agents are given orally and are substrates of a range of drug transporters and metabolizing enzymes. In addition, some TKIs are capable of inhibiting their own transporters and metabolizing enzymes, making their disposition and metabolism at steady-state unpredictable. A given dose can therefore give rise to markedly different plasma concentrations in different patients, favoring the selection of resistant clones in the case of subtherapeutic exposure, and increasing the risk of toxicity if dosage is excessive. The aim of this review was to summarize current knowledge of the clinical pharmacokinetics and known adverse effects of the TKIs that are available for clinical use and to provide practical guidance on the implications of these data in patient management, in particular with respect to therapeutic drug monitoring.

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