Pharmacokinetics and safety of vitamin E δ-tocotrienol after single and multiple doses in healthy subjects with measurement of vitamin E metabolites

Cancer Chemother Pharmacol. 2016 Jul;78(1):157-65. doi: 10.1007/s00280-016-3048-0. Epub 2016 Jun 8.


Purpose: Vitamin E delta-tocotrienol (VEDT) has demonstrated chemopreventive and antineoplastic activity in preclinical models. The aim of our study was to determine the safety and pharmacokinetics of VEDT and its metabolites after single- and multiple-dose administrations in healthy subjects.

Methods: Thirty-six subjects received from 100 to 1600 mg of oral VEDT as a single dose or twice daily for 14 consecutive days. A 3 + 3 dose escalation design was utilized. Pharmacokinetic data were derived from high-performance liquid chromatography (HPLC) assays. Serial blood and urine samples were collected before and during VEDT administration, with serum and urine metabolites assessed using HPLC.

Results: No drug-related adverse events were observed. Pharmacokinetic parameters for single and multiple doses were, respectively, as follows (shown as range): time to maximum concentration of 4-9.3 and 4.7-7.3 h, maximum concentration of 795.6-3742.6 and 493.3-3746 ng/mL, half-life of 1.7-5.9 and 2.3-6.9 h, and 0-12 h area under the curve of 4518.7-20,781.4 and 1987.7-22,171.2 ng h/mL. Plasma tocotrienols were significantly increased after VEDT administration, indicating oral bioavailability of VEDT in humans. Plasma and urine levels of metabolites, δ-carboxyethyl hydroxychroman, and δ-carboxymethylbutyl hydroxychroman were elevated after VEDT administration in a dose-dependent manner and were 30-60 times significantly higher than δ-tocotrienol levels. VEDT can be safely administered at doses up to 1600 mg twice daily. Plasma VEDT concentrations were comparable to those obtained in VEDT-treated mice in which tumor growth was delayed.

Conclusions: Our results suggest that VEDT can be safely consumed by healthy subjects and achieve bioactive levels, supporting the investigation of VEDT for chemoprevention.

Keywords: Antitumor agent; Biomarker; Chemoprevention; Pancreatic cancer; Tocochromanol.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial, Phase I
  • Validation Study

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Animals
  • Antineoplastic Agents / administration & dosage*
  • Antineoplastic Agents / adverse effects
  • Antineoplastic Agents / pharmacokinetics
  • Area Under Curve
  • Chromatography, High Pressure Liquid / methods*
  • Dose-Response Relationship, Drug
  • Drug Administration Schedule
  • Female
  • Half-Life
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Mice
  • Middle Aged
  • Species Specificity
  • Vitamin E / administration & dosage
  • Vitamin E / adverse effects
  • Vitamin E / analogs & derivatives*
  • Vitamin E / pharmacokinetics
  • Young Adult


  • Antineoplastic Agents
  • Vitamin E
  • tocotrienol, delta