A rapid and sensitive liquid chromatography/tandem mass spectrometry (LC-MS/MS) method has been developed and validated for the quantitative determination of cabazitaxel, a novel tubulin-binding taxane, in 100 μl aliquots of human lithium heparinized plasma with deuterated cabazitaxel as internal standard. The sample extraction and cleaning-up involved a simple liquid-liquid extraction with 20 μl aliquots of 4% ammonium hydroxide, 100 μl aliquots of acetonitrile and 1 ml aliquots of n-butylchloride. Chromatographic separations were achieved on a reversed phase C₁₈ column eluted at a flow-rate of 0.20 ml/min on a gradient of acetonitrile. The overall cycle time of the method was 5 min, with cabazitaxel eluting at 3.0 min. The multiple reaction monitoring transitions were set at 836>555 (m/z), and 842>561 (m/z) for cabazitaxel and the internal standard, respectively. The calibration curves were linear over the range of 1.00-100 ng/ml with the lower limit of quantitation validated at 1.00 ng/ml. The within-run and between-run precisions, also at the level of the LLQ, were within 8.75%, while the accuracy ranged from 88.5 to 94.1%. As dilution of samples prior to extraction resulted in a loss of cabazitaxel of approximately 6.5% per dilution step, a second calibration curve ranging from 40.0 to 4000 ng/ml was validated and was also linear. The within-run and between-run precisions in this range were within 4.99%, while the accuracy ranged from 95.8 to 100.3%. The method was successfully applied to samples derived from a clinical study.
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