Variability in the pharmacokinetics of cyclophosphamide, methotrexate and 5-fluorouracil in women receiving adjuvant treatment for breast cancer

Cancer Chemother Pharmacol. 1994;33(6):472-6. doi: 10.1007/BF00686503.


A total of 23 women with stage II breast cancer receiving adjuvant cyclophosphamide, methotrexate and 5-fluorouracil had detailed pharmacokinetic monitoring performed on the first and third courses of therapy. The area under the concentration time curve (AUC) of each of these three drugs varied by a factor of 3-4 among patients. No systematic change in pharmacokinetics between the first and third courses was seen for cyclophosphamide, methotrexate or 5-fluorouracil, and the mean AUC for each of the three drugs did not change. However, significant intrapatient variability in drug pharmacokinetics was observed for all three drugs such that the AUC, clearance and half-life in an individual on the third course could not be reliably predicted from data generated on the first course. On the basis of these results, cyclophosphamide, methotrexate, and 5-fluorouracil pharmacokinetic data from one treatment would not be useful information from which the doses of subsequent courses could be determined.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Antineoplastic Combined Chemotherapy Protocols / pharmacokinetics*
  • Antineoplastic Combined Chemotherapy Protocols / therapeutic use
  • Breast Neoplasms / drug therapy
  • Breast Neoplasms / metabolism*
  • Chemotherapy, Adjuvant
  • Cyclophosphamide / pharmacokinetics
  • Female
  • Fluorouracil / pharmacokinetics
  • Humans
  • Methotrexate / pharmacokinetics
  • Middle Aged


  • Cyclophosphamide
  • Fluorouracil
  • Methotrexate

Supplementary concepts

  • CMF regimen