Simultaneous quantification of ten cytotoxic drugs by a validated LC-ESI-MS/MS method

Anal Bioanal Chem. 2010 Dec;398(7-8):3033-42. doi: 10.1007/s00216-010-4243-1. Epub 2010 Oct 7.


A liquid chromatography separation with electrospray ionisation and tandem mass spectrometry detection method was developed for the simultaneous quantification of ten commonly handled cytotoxic drugs in a hospital pharmacy. These cytotoxic drugs are cytarabine, gemcitabine, methotrexate, etoposide phosphate, cyclophosphamide, ifosfamide, irinotecan, doxorubicin, epirubicin and vincristine. The chromatographic separation was carried out by RPLC in less than 21 min, applying a gradient elution of water and acetonitrile in the presence of 0.1% formic acid. MS/MS was performed on a triple quadrupole in selected reaction monitoring mode. The analytical method was validated to determine the limit of quantification (LOQ) and quantitative performance: lowest LOQs were between 0.25 and 2 ng mL(-1) for the ten investigated cytotoxic drugs; trueness values (i.e. recovery) were between 85% and 110%, and relative standard deviations for both repeatability and intermediate precision were always inferior to 15%. The multi-compound method was successfully applied for the quality control of pharmaceutical formulations and for analyses of spiked samples on potentially contaminated surfaces.

Publication types

  • Validation Study

MeSH terms

  • Antineoplastic Agents / analysis*
  • Chromatography, High Pressure Liquid / methods*
  • Humans
  • Quality Control
  • Spectrometry, Mass, Electrospray Ionization / methods*
  • Tandem Mass Spectrometry / methods*


  • Antineoplastic Agents