P-glycoprotein inhibition by the multidrug resistance-reversing agent MS-209 enhances bioavailability and antitumor efficacy of orally administered paclitaxel

Cancer Chemother Pharmacol. 2002 Apr;49(4):322-8. doi: 10.1007/s00280-001-0419-x. Epub 2002 Feb 1.


Purpose: Recent studies in humans and mice have demonstrated that intestinal P-glycoprotein plays a causative role in the limited absorption of orally administered paclitaxel. Multidrug resistance (MDR)-reversing agents, such as cyclosporin A and PSC 833, are known to increase the systemic exposure to orally administered paclitaxel by enhancing absorption in the intestinal tract and decreasing elimination via the biliary tract. In this study, we demonstrated that coadministration of the MDR-reversing agent MS-209, which is known to inhibit P-glycoprotein function by direct interaction, improved the bioavailability of orally administered paclitaxel and consequently enhanced its antitumor activity.

Methods: The pharmacokinetics of paclitaxel were examined by measuring [(3)H]paclitaxel in plasma drawn from rats and mice given the drug with or without MS-209. The influence of MS-209 on the intestinal transport of [(3)H]paclitaxel was studied using a human colorectal cancer cell line, Caco-2. The in vivo efficacy of orally administered paclitaxel in combination with MS-209 was further evaluated in B16 melanoma-bearing mice.

Results: The plasma concentration of [(3)H]paclitaxel following oral administration was significantly increased by coadministration of MS-209 at 100 mg/kg in both rats and mice. In rats, the AUC of [(3)H]paclitaxel following oral administration was strikingly increased (1.9-fold) by coadministration of MS-209, whereas the AUC of [(3)H]paclitaxel following i.v. injection was slightly increased (1.3-fold) by MS-209. The increase in apparent bioavailability of oral paclitaxel due to MS-209 was 1.4-fold. To demonstrate this enhancing action in vitro, we studied the influence of MS-209 on the transport of [(3)H]paclitaxel using Caco-2 cells, which is a well-known model of intestinal efflux. The transport of [(3)H]paclitaxel across the Caco-2 monolayer was markedly inhibited in the presence of MS-209, and the apparent K(i)of MS-209 for the active transport of [(3)H]paclitaxel was 0.4 microM. Moreover, paclitaxel administered orally at 100 mg/kg per day with MS-209 at 100 mg/kg per day showed significant antitumor activity in B16 melanoma-bearing mice, whereas paclitaxel administered orally alone at the same dose showed no antitumor activity. These results suggest that the coadministration of MS-209 improved low systemic exposure to paclitaxel through inhibition of P-glycoprotein, which is involved in drug excretion via the intestinal tract, resulting in a clear antitumor activity of paclitaxel administered orally.

Conclusion: The present study suggests that coadministration of MS-209 may be a useful way to improve the bioavailability of drugs not suitable for oral administration due to elimination via the intestinal tract.

MeSH terms

  • ATP Binding Cassette Transporter, Subfamily B, Member 1 / antagonists & inhibitors*
  • Administration, Oral
  • Animals
  • Antineoplastic Agents, Phytogenic / pharmacokinetics*
  • Biological Availability
  • Caco-2 Cells
  • Cyclosporine / pharmacology
  • Cyclosporins / pharmacology
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Melanoma, Experimental / drug therapy
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • Paclitaxel / administration & dosage
  • Paclitaxel / pharmacokinetics*
  • Quinolines / pharmacology*
  • Rats
  • Rats, Sprague-Dawley


  • ATP Binding Cassette Transporter, Subfamily B, Member 1
  • Antineoplastic Agents, Phytogenic
  • Cyclosporins
  • Quinolines
  • dofequidar
  • Cyclosporine
  • Paclitaxel
  • valspodar