Effect of Cremophor EL on the pharmacokinetics, antitumor activity and toxicity of doxorubicin in mice

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Cremophor EL (CR) is a solubilizing agent and a modulator of P-glycoprotein (P-gp)-mediated anticancer multidrug resistance. The present study was undertaken to evaluate whether doxorubicin (Dox) pharmacokinetics, therapeutic activity and cardiotoxicity in Swiss albino mice is modified when combined with CR treatment. CR (2.5 ml/kg, i.p) given simultaneously with Dox (20 mg/kg, i.p.) increased Dox levels in plasma, heart, liver and kidneys of healthy mice. Using an Ehrlich ascites carcinoma (EAC)-bearing mice experimental model, CR (2.5 ml/kg) improved the survival and antitumor activity of Dox. The enhanced antitumor activity of Dox was related to a significant increase in EAC tumor cellular Dox content by CR. Furthermore, CR (1 μg/ml) potentiated the in vitro cytotoxicity of Dox in cultured EAC cells. In healthy mice, Dox-induced mortality was markedly reduced by simultaneous treatment with CR. CR enhanced DOX-induced increase in plasma lactate dehydrogenase, creatine phosphokinase (CPK) and CPK-MB isozyme activities, as well as the cardiac malondialdehyde level. CR also increased Dox-induced focal necrotic myocardial lesions. These findings suggest that CR increased DOX antitumor activity and cardiotoxicity as a result of enhancing its bioavailability, and decreased Dox-induced mortality in mice by a mechanism not yet defined.

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