Pharmacodynamic modeling of cardiac biomarkers in breast cancer patients treated with anthracycline and trastuzumab regimens

J Pharmacokinet Pharmacodyn. 2018 Jun;45(3):431-442. doi: 10.1007/s10928-018-9579-8. Epub 2018 Feb 10.


Trastuzumab is associated with cardiotoxicity, manifesting as a decrease of the left-ventricular ejection fraction (LVEF). Administration of anthracyclines prior to trastuzumab increases risk of cardiotoxicity. High-sensitive troponin T and N-terminal-pro-brain natriuretic peptide (NT-proBNP) are molecular markers that may allow earlier detection of drug-induced cardiotoxicity. In this analysis we aimed to quantify the kinetics and exposure-response relationships of LVEF, troponin T and NT-proBNP measurements, in patients receiving anthracycline and trastuzumab. Repeated measurements of LVEF, troponin T and NT-proBNP and dosing records of anthracyclines and trastuzumab were available from a previously published clinical trial. This trial included 206 evaluable patients with early breast cancer. Exposure to anthracycline and trastuzumab was simulated based on available dosing records and by using a kinetic-pharmacodynamic (K-PD) and a fixed pharmacokinetic (PK) model from literature, respectively. The change from baseline troponin T was described with a direct effect model, affected by simulated anthracycline concentrations, representing myocyte damage. The relationship between trastuzumab and LVEF was described by an indirect effect compartment model. The EC50 for LVEF decline was significantly affected by the maximum troponin T concentration after anthracycline treatment, explaining 15.1% of inter-individual variability. In this cohort, NT-proBNP changes could not be demonstrated to be related to anthracycline or trastuzumab treatment. Pharmacodynamic models for troponin T and LVEF were successfully developed, identifying maximum troponin T concentration after anthracycline treatment as a significant determinant for trastuzumab-induced LVEF decline. These models can help identify patients at risk of drug-induced cardiotoxicity and optimize cardiac monitoring strategies.

Keywords: Anthracyclines; Breast cancer; Cardiac biomarkers; Pharmacodynamics; Pharmacometrics; Trastuzumab.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Anthracyclines / therapeutic use*
  • Antineoplastic Agents, Immunological / therapeutic use*
  • Biomarkers, Tumor / metabolism*
  • Breast Neoplasms / drug therapy*
  • Breast Neoplasms / metabolism*
  • Cardiotoxicity / metabolism
  • Female
  • Heart Ventricles / metabolism*
  • Humans
  • Middle Aged
  • Muscle Cells / drug effects
  • Muscle Cells / metabolism
  • Natriuretic Peptide, Brain / metabolism
  • Peptide Fragments / metabolism
  • Trastuzumab / therapeutic use*
  • Troponin T / metabolism


  • Anthracyclines
  • Antineoplastic Agents, Immunological
  • Biomarkers, Tumor
  • Peptide Fragments
  • Troponin T
  • pro-brain natriuretic peptide (1-76)
  • Natriuretic Peptide, Brain
  • Trastuzumab