Variability in the pharmacokinetics of epirubicin: a population analysis

Cancer Chemother Pharmacol. 1992;29(5):391-5. doi: 10.1007/BF00686009.


Population pharmacokinetic analysis of the anticancer agent epirubicin was carried out using the program NONMEM. Data were available from 36 patients aged 20-73 years, of whom 23 were women. All subjects exhibited normal liver and renal function. Epirubicin was given as a short-term i.v. infusion over the dose range of 25-100 mg/m2, and an average of 11 plasma samples/subject were taken for a period of up to 72 h after each dose. A Two compartment model was fitted to the data, characterised by the parameters clearance, volume of the central compartment, alpha and beta. Clearance was tested as a linear function of various demographic and/or biochemical features. A significant proportion of the variability in clearance could be attributed to sex, and also to age in women. For example, a 25-year-old man would display an average clearance of 95 l/h, whereas a 70-year-old woman would exhibit an average clearance of 64 l/h. Such differences in clearance might be important in the selection of epirubicin dose regimens.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aging / blood
  • Aging / drug effects
  • Breast Neoplasms / blood
  • Breast Neoplasms / drug therapy
  • Chromatography, High Pressure Liquid
  • Epirubicin / administration & dosage
  • Epirubicin / blood
  • Epirubicin / pharmacokinetics*
  • Female
  • Hodgkin Disease / blood
  • Hodgkin Disease / drug therapy
  • Humans
  • Linear Models
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Models, Biological
  • Sarcoma / blood
  • Sarcoma / drug therapy
  • Sex Characteristics
  • Time Factors


  • Epirubicin