Advanced in silico modeling explains pharmacokinetics and biodistribution of temoporfin nanocrystals in humans

J Control Release. 2019 Aug 28;308:57-70. doi: 10.1016/j.jconrel.2019.06.029. Epub 2019 Jun 24.


Foscan®, a formulation comprising temoporfin dissolved in a mixture of ethanol and propylene glycol, has been approved in Europe for palliative photodynamic therapy of squamous cell carcinoma of the head and neck. During clinical and preclinical studies it was observed that considering the administration route, the drug presents a rather atypical plasma profile as plasma concentration peaks delayed. Possible explanations, as for example the formation of a drug depot or aggregation after intravenous administration, are discussed in current literature. In the present study an advanced in silico model was developed and evaluated for the detailed description of Foscan® pharmacokinetics. Therefore, in vitro release data obtained from experiments with the dispersion releaser technology investigating dissolution pressures of various release media on the drug as well as in vivo data obtained from a clinical study were included into the in silico models. Furthermore, precipitation experiments were performed in presence of biorelevant media and precipitates were analyzed by nanoparticle tracking analysis. Size analysis and particle fraction were also incorporated in this model and a sensitivity analysis was performed. An optimal description of the in vivo situation based on in vitro release and particle characterization data was achieved, as demonstrated by an absolute average fold error of 1.21. This in vitro-in vivo correlation provides an explanation for the pharmacokinetics of Foscan® in humans.

Keywords: Drug delivery nanomedicine; Foscan(®); Nanocarrier; Nanocrystal; Nanomaterial; Pharmacokinetics; Physiologically-based pharmacokinetic (PBPK) modeling; Temoporfin; dialysis; dispersion releaser; dissolution; in silico; in vitro-in vivo correlation (IVIVC); mTHPC; release.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Antineoplastic Agents / administration & dosage*
  • Antineoplastic Agents / pharmacokinetics
  • Computer Simulation*
  • Delayed-Action Preparations
  • Drug Liberation
  • Ethanol / chemistry
  • Head and Neck Neoplasms / drug therapy
  • Humans
  • Mesoporphyrins / administration & dosage*
  • Mesoporphyrins / pharmacokinetics
  • Nanoparticles*
  • Particle Size
  • Propylene Glycol / chemistry
  • Squamous Cell Carcinoma of Head and Neck / drug therapy
  • Tissue Distribution


  • Antineoplastic Agents
  • Delayed-Action Preparations
  • Mesoporphyrins
  • Ethanol
  • Propylene Glycol
  • temoporfin