Whole-body physiologically based pharmacokinetic model for nutlin-3a in mice after intravenous and oral administration

Drug Metab Dispos. 2011 Jan;39(1):15-21. doi: 10.1124/dmd.110.035915. Epub 2010 Oct 14.


Nutlin-3a is an MDM2 inhibitor that is under investigation in preclinical models for a variety of pediatric malignancies, including retinoblastoma, rhabdomyosarcoma, neuroblastoma, and leukemia. We used physiologically based pharmacokinetic (PBPK) modeling to characterize the disposition of nutlin-3a in the mouse. Plasma protein binding and blood partitioning were assessed by in vitro studies. After intravenous (10 and 20 mg/kg) and oral (50, 100, and 200 mg/kg) dosing, tissue concentrations of nutlin-3a were determined in plasma, liver, spleen, intestine, muscle, lung, adipose, bone marrow, adrenal gland, brain, retina, and vitreous fluid. The PBPK model was simultaneously fit to all pharmacokinetic data using NONMEM. Nutlin-3a exhibited nonlinear binding to murine plasma proteins, with the unbound fraction ranging from 0.7 to 11.8%. Nutlin-3a disposition was characterized by rapid absorption with peak plasma concentrations at approximately 2 h and biphasic elimination consistent with a saturable clearance process. The final PBPK model successfully described the plasma and tissue disposition of nutlin-3a. Simulations suggested high bioavailability, rapid attainment of steady state, and little accumulation when administered once or twice daily at dosages up to 400 mg/kg. The final model was used to perform simulations of unbound tissue concentrations to determine which dosing regimens are appropriate for preclinical models of several pediatric malignancies.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Administration, Oral
  • Animals
  • Biological Availability
  • Blood Proteins / metabolism
  • Dose-Response Relationship, Drug
  • Drug Evaluation, Preclinical
  • Female
  • Imidazoles / administration & dosage*
  • Imidazoles / blood
  • Imidazoles / pharmacokinetics*
  • Imidazoles / pharmacology
  • Injections, Intravenous
  • Male
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • Piperazines / administration & dosage*
  • Piperazines / blood
  • Piperazines / pharmacokinetics*
  • Piperazines / pharmacology
  • Protein Binding
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins c-mdm2 / antagonists & inhibitors
  • Tissue Distribution


  • Blood Proteins
  • Imidazoles
  • Piperazines
  • nutlin 3
  • Mdm2 protein, mouse
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins c-mdm2