The tyrphostin 4-(3-chloroanilino)-6,7-dimethoxyquinazoline (AG1478) is a potent and specific inhibitor of EGFR tyrosine kinase whose favourable preclinical profile supports progression towards clinical trials. Microphysiometric evaluation revealed a short (<24 min) effective inhibition of cellular receptor response to EGF challenge in BaF/ERX cells indicating a need to maintain sustained levels of inhibitor. Initial pharmacokinetic evaluation in mice of novel AG1478 formulations in a beta-cyclodextrin (Captisol) showed monoexponential elimination from plasma (half-life 30 min) following subcutaneous administration. A two-fold dose escalation gave a 2.4-fold increase in the total AUC. Bolus i.v. and 6 h continuous infusion were investigated in rats to mimic a more clinically relevant administration regimen. Drug elimination following bolus i.v. administration was biphasic (terminal elimination half-life 30-48 min). The linear relationship between dose and AUC(0-->infinity) (r2=0.979) enabled the prediction of infusion rates and doses for sustained delivery using continuous 6 h infusions, where steady state was reached in 120 min. Plasma levels of AG1478>10 microM were achieved over the duration of the infusion. At the lowest dose, plasma drug levels after the cessation of infusion declined with a half-life of approximately 43 min. EGFR activity, measured both by autophosphorylation and downstream signalling, was inhibited in a dose-dependent manner by injection of AG1478 in mice bearing xenografts of the human glioblastoma cell line U87MG.delta2-7, which expresses a constitutively active variant of the EGF receptor. Taken together, these experiments provide essential data to assess the anti-tumour efficacy of AG1478 and will assist in the rational design of dose regimens for clinical studies.