Virtual Clinical Studies to Examine the Probability Distribution of the AUC at Target Tissues Using Physiologically-Based Pharmacokinetic Modeling: Application to Analyses of the Effect of Genetic Polymorphism of Enzymes and Transporters on Irinotecan Induced Side Effects

Pharm Res. 2017 Aug;34(8):1584-1600. doi: 10.1007/s11095-017-2153-z. Epub 2017 Apr 10.


Purpose: To establish a physiologically-based pharmacokinetic (PBPK) model for analyzing the factors associated with side effects of irinotecan by using a computer-based virtual clinical study (VCS) because many controversial associations between various genetic polymorphisms and side effects of irinotecan have been reported.

Methods: To optimize biochemical parameters of irinotecan and its metabolites in the PBPK modeling, a Cluster Newton method was introduced. In the VCS, virtual patients were generated considering the inter-individual variability and genetic polymorphisms of enzymes and transporters.

Results: Approximately 30 sets of parameters of the PBPK model gave good reproduction of the pharmacokinetics of irinotecan and its metabolites. Of these, 19 sets gave relatively good description of the effect of UGT1A1 *28 and SLCO1B1 c.521T>C polymorphism on the SN-38 plasma concentration, neutropenia, and diarrhea observed in clinical studies reported mainly by Teft et al. (Br J Cancer. 112(5):857-65, 20). VCS also indicated that the frequency of significant association of biliary index with diarrhea was higher than that of UGT1A1 *28 polymorphism.

Conclusion: The VCS confirmed the importance of genetic polymorphisms of UGT1A1 *28 and SLCO1B1 c.521T>C in the irinotecan induced side effects. The VCS also indicated that biliary index is a better biomarker of diarrhea than UGT1A1 *28 polymorphism.

Keywords: Cluster Newton method; inter-individual variability; irinotecan(CPT-11); neutropenia; physiologically-based pharmacokinetic modeling; virtual clinical study.

MeSH terms

  • Antineoplastic Agents / adverse effects*
  • Antineoplastic Agents / pharmacokinetics*
  • Area Under Curve
  • Camptothecin / adverse effects
  • Camptothecin / analogs & derivatives*
  • Camptothecin / pharmacokinetics
  • Genotype
  • Glucuronosyltransferase / genetics
  • Glucuronosyltransferase / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Irinotecan
  • Liver-Specific Organic Anion Transporter 1 / genetics
  • Liver-Specific Organic Anion Transporter 1 / metabolism
  • Models, Biological*
  • Polymorphism, Genetic*
  • Probability


  • Antineoplastic Agents
  • Liver-Specific Organic Anion Transporter 1
  • Irinotecan
  • UGT1A1 enzyme
  • Glucuronosyltransferase
  • Camptothecin