A Semi-Mechanistic Population Pharmacokinetic/Pharmacodynamic Model of Bortezomib in Pediatric Patients with Relapsed/Refractory Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia

Clin Pharmacokinet. 2020 Feb;59(2):207-216. doi: 10.1007/s40262-019-00803-y.


Introduction: The pharmacokinetics (PK) of the 20S proteasome inhibitor bortezomib are characterized by a large volume of distribution and a rapid decline in plasma concentrations within the first hour after administration. An increase in exposure was observed in the second week of treatment, which has previously been explained by extensive binding of bortezomib to proteasome in erythrocytes and peripheral tissues. We characterized the nonlinear population PK and pharmacodynamics (PD) of bortezomib in children with acute lymphoblastic leukemia.

Methods: Overall, 323 samples from 28 patients were available from a pediatric clinical study investigating bortezomib at an intravenous dose of 1.3 mg/m2 twice weekly (Dutch Trial Registry number 1881/ITCC021). A semi-physiological PK model for bortezomib was first developed; the PK were linked to the decrease in 20S proteasome activity in the final PK/PD model.

Results: The plasma PK data were adequately described using a two-compartment model with linear elimination. Increased concentrations were observed in week 2 compared with week 1, which was described using a Langmuir binding model. The decrease in 20S proteasome activity was best described by a direct effect model with a sigmoidal maximal inhibitory effect, representing the relationship between plasma concentrations and effect. The maximal inhibitory effect was 0.696 pmol AMC/s/mg protein (95% confidence interval 0.664-0.728) after administration.

Conclusion: The semi-physiological model adequately described the nonlinear PK and PD of bortezomib in plasma. This model can be used to further optimize dosing of bortezomib.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial, Phase II
  • Comparative Study
  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Administration, Intravenous
  • Adolescent
  • Bortezomib / administration & dosage
  • Bortezomib / blood
  • Bortezomib / pharmacokinetics*
  • Bortezomib / therapeutic use
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Dose-Response Relationship, Drug
  • Erythrocytes / drug effects*
  • Erythrocytes / metabolism
  • Feasibility Studies
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Male
  • Models, Biological
  • Precursor Cell Lymphoblastic Leukemia-Lymphoma / drug therapy*
  • Precursor Cell Lymphoblastic Leukemia-Lymphoma / metabolism
  • Proteasome Inhibitors / administration & dosage
  • Proteasome Inhibitors / blood
  • Proteasome Inhibitors / pharmacokinetics*
  • Proteasome Inhibitors / therapeutic use
  • Recurrence


  • Proteasome Inhibitors
  • Bortezomib