NSC 743400 is a novel synthetic indenoisoquinoline analog under development as an anticancer agent. It is a potent topoisomerase I inhibitor with potential therapeutic advantages over FDA-approved camptothecin derivatives. In preparation for clinical development of NSC 743400, we determined the pharmacokinetics after administration to rats and dogs. NSC 743400 was administered intravenously at a dose of 12 or 24 mg/m(2) to rats (single bolus) or 10, 50, 100, 215, 430, or 646 mg/m(2) (intravenous infusion) or 860 or 1720 mg/m(2) (orally) to dogs. Intravenously administered NSC 743400 was eliminated from both species with an estimated t 1/2 of 2-5 h in rat and 6-14 h in dog. Elimination t 1/2 increased with dose in dog. Area under the plasma concentration-versus-time curve (AUC) was comparable in both species, at about 300-400 h ng/mL for the approximately 10 mg/m(2) dose groups. Overall, AUC values increased proportionally with dose for both species but had evidence of more than proportional exposure at the highest doses. Oral dosing resulted in variable drug absorption. The pharmacokinetic data were used to plan first-in-human clinical trials.