Brain Distributional Kinetics of a Novel MDM2 Inhibitor SAR405838: Implications for Use in Brain Tumor Therapy

Drug Metab Dispos. 2019 Dec;47(12):1403-1414. doi: 10.1124/dmd.119.088716. Epub 2019 Oct 16.


Achieving an effective drug concentration in the brain is as important as targeting the right pathway when developing targeted agents for brain tumors. SAR405838 is a novel molecularly targeted agent that is in clinical trials for various solid tumors. Its application for tumors in the brain has not yet been examined, even though the target, the MDM2-p53 interaction, is attractive for tumors that could occur in the brain, including glioblastoma and brain metastases. In vitro and in vivo studies indicate that SAR405838 is a substrate of P-glycoprotein (P-gp). P-gp mediated active efflux at the blood-brain barrier plays a dominant role in limiting SAR405838 brain distribution. Even though the absence of P-gp significantly increases the drug exposure in the brain, the systemic exposure, including absorption and clearance processes, were unaffected by P-gp deletion. Model-based parameters of SAR405838 distribution across the blood-brain barrier indicate the CLout of the brain was approximately 40-fold greater than the CLin The free fraction of SAR405838 in plasma and brain were found to be low, and subsequent Kpuu values were less than unity, even in P-gp/Bcrp knockout mice. These results indicate additional efflux transporters other than P-gp and Bcrp may be limiting distribution of SAR405838 to the brain. Concomitant administration of elacridar significantly increased brain exposure, also without affecting the systemic exposure. This study characterized the brain distributional kinetics of SAR405838, a novel MDM2 inhibitor, to evaluate its potential in the treatment of primary and metastatic brain tumors. SIGNIFICANCE STATEMENT: This paper examined the brain distributional kinetics of a novel MDM2-p53 targeted agent, SAR405838, to see its possible application for brain tumors by using in vitro, in vivo, and in silico approaches. SAR405838 is found to be a substrate of P-glycoprotein (P-gp), which limits its distribution to the brain. Based on the findings in the paper, manipulation of the function of P-gp can significantly increase the brain exposure of SAR405838, which may give an insight on its potential benefit as a treatment for primary and metastatic brain cancer.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • ATP Binding Cassette Transporter, Subfamily B, Member 1 / genetics
  • ATP Binding Cassette Transporter, Subfamily B, Member 1 / metabolism
  • ATP Binding Cassette Transporter, Subfamily G, Member 2 / genetics
  • ATP Binding Cassette Transporter, Subfamily G, Member 2 / metabolism
  • Animals
  • Biological Transport
  • Blood-Air Barrier / metabolism
  • Brain / metabolism*
  • Brain Neoplasms / drug therapy*
  • Brain Neoplasms / metabolism
  • Dogs
  • Humans
  • Indoles / blood
  • Indoles / pharmacokinetics*
  • Indoles / pharmacology
  • Indoles / therapeutic use
  • Madin Darby Canine Kidney Cells
  • Mice, Transgenic
  • Models, Biological*
  • Neoplasm Proteins / genetics
  • Neoplasm Proteins / metabolism
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins c-mdm2 / antagonists & inhibitors*
  • Spiro Compounds / blood
  • Spiro Compounds / pharmacokinetics*
  • Spiro Compounds / pharmacology
  • Spiro Compounds / therapeutic use
  • Tissue Distribution
  • Tumor Suppressor Protein p53 / metabolism


  • ABCG2 protein, human
  • ATP Binding Cassette Transporter, Subfamily B, Member 1
  • ATP Binding Cassette Transporter, Subfamily G, Member 2
  • Indoles
  • Neoplasm Proteins
  • Spiro Compounds
  • Tumor Suppressor Protein p53
  • SAR405838
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins c-mdm2