Cytochrome P450 isozymes 3A4 and 2B6 are involved in the in vitro human metabolism of thiotepa to TEPA

Cancer Chemother Pharmacol. 2002 Jun;49(6):461-7. doi: 10.1007/s00280-002-0453-3. Epub 2002 Apr 23.


Purpose: To establish the cytochrome P450 (CYP) isozymes involved in the metabolism of the alkylating agent, thiotepa, to the pharmacologically active metabolite, TEPA.

Methods: In vitro chemical inhibition studies were conducted by incubating thiotepa and pooled human hepatic microsomes in the presence of known inhibitors to CYP1A2, CYP2A6, CYP2C8, CYP2C9, CYP2C19, CYP2D6, CYP2E1, and CYP3A4. Studies were also performed with cloned, expressed CYP3A4, CYP2A6, CYP2E1 and CYP2B6 microsomes, and anti-CYP2B6 monoclonal antibody.

Results: Known CYP3A4 inhibitors reduced TEPA production. Inhibition with CYP2E1 inhibitors was inconsistent. All other inhibitors produced little or no change in TEPA formation. Cloned, expressed CYP2B6 and CYP3A4 microsomes catalyzed TEPA formation, whereas CYP2A6 and CYP2E1 did not. Incubation of thiotepa with anti-CYP2B6 antibody and cloned, expressed CYP2B6 microsomes resulted in reductions in the formation of TEPA, but no change in TEPA formation occurred in human liver microsomes.

Conclusions: Thiotepa is metabolized in human liver microsomes by CYP3A4 (major) and CYP2B6 (minor). There is a potential for CYP-mediated drug interactions with thiotepa. Pharmacokinetic variability of thiotepa may be related to expression of hepatic CYP isozymes.

MeSH terms

  • Antibodies / pharmacology
  • Antineoplastic Agents, Alkylating / metabolism*
  • Aryl Hydrocarbon Hydroxylases*
  • Cytochrome P-450 CYP2B6
  • Cytochrome P-450 CYP3A
  • Cytochrome P-450 Enzyme Inhibitors
  • Cytochrome P-450 Enzyme System / metabolism*
  • Enzyme Inhibitors / pharmacology
  • Humans
  • Isoenzymes / antagonists & inhibitors
  • Isoenzymes / metabolism
  • Kinetics
  • Microsomes, Liver / drug effects
  • Microsomes, Liver / enzymology*
  • Mixed Function Oxygenases / antagonists & inhibitors
  • Mixed Function Oxygenases / metabolism*
  • Oxidoreductases, N-Demethylating / antagonists & inhibitors
  • Oxidoreductases, N-Demethylating / metabolism*
  • Thiotepa / antagonists & inhibitors
  • Thiotepa / metabolism*
  • Transfection
  • Triethylenephosphoramide / metabolism*


  • Antibodies
  • Antineoplastic Agents, Alkylating
  • Cytochrome P-450 Enzyme Inhibitors
  • Enzyme Inhibitors
  • Isoenzymes
  • Cytochrome P-450 Enzyme System
  • Thiotepa
  • Mixed Function Oxygenases
  • Aryl Hydrocarbon Hydroxylases
  • CYP2B6 protein, human
  • CYP3A protein, human
  • Cytochrome P-450 CYP2B6
  • Cytochrome P-450 CYP3A
  • CYP3A4 protein, human
  • Oxidoreductases, N-Demethylating
  • Triethylenephosphoramide