Gemtuzumab ozogamicin is currently approved to treat CD33-positive acute myeloid leukemia (AML) in first relapse in patients older than age 60 years. The objective of this study was to characterize the pharmacokinetics of gemtuzumab ozogamicin in pediatric patients with relapsed or refractory AML. The study population comprised 29 subjects younger than age 18 with AML in first relapse. Dosages of 6, 7.5, and 9 mg/m(2) were administered during the study. Pharmacokinetic parameters were determined following each dose for hP67.6, total calicheamicin derivatives, and unconjugated calicheamicin derivatives. hP67.6 pharmacokinetic parameters had a consistent and statistically significant change between the first and second doses. Increases in AUC and decreases in both CL and V(ss) from the first dose to the second dose were consistent with those of the adult population. Changes between dose periods for total calicheamicin derivatives and unconjugated calicheamicin derivatives were consistent with those of hP67.6. Changes in pharmacokinetic parameters between dose periods are attributed to saturation of CD33 binding sites and diminished clearance resulting from a lower peripheral blast burden and antigen. Children receiving 9 mg/m(2) had the following hP67.6 pharmacokinetic parameters: C(max), 3.47+/-1.04 mg/L; AUC, 136 +/- 107 mg x h/L; CL, 0.12 +/- 0.15 L/h/m(2); V(ss), 6.5 +/- 5.5 L; and t(1/2), 64 +/- 44 h after their first dose. Mean pharmacokinetic values are similar to values reported in adults. Individual children demonstrated large intersubject variability, similar to adults. The pharmacokinetics of gemtuzumab ozogamicin in pediatric patients closely follow the profile and variability of adult patients.