Tissue levels of WR-1065, the active metabolite of amifostine (Ethyol), are equivalent following intravenous or subcutaneous administration in cynomolgus monkeys.

PMID 15557777


Amifostine (Ethyol) is a cytoprotective drug approved for the reduction of xerostomia in head and neck cancer when administered to patients receiving postoperative radiation therapy. Although amifostine is approved for intravenous infusion, the off-label subcutaneous route of administration has become more prevalent. Although human patient data indicate higher plasma bioavailability of the active metabolite (WR-1065) following intravenous compared to subcutaneous administration, there are no corresponding data showing human tissue levels of WR-1065 following either route of administration due to the difficulty in obtaining human specimens. In our study we compared plasma and tissue pharmacokinetics of WR-1065 in primates following both routes of administration. Monkeys received amifostine at a dose of 260 mg/m2 either intravenously or subcutaneously. Plasma samples were analyzed for total WR-1065 by reverse-phase high-pressure liquid chromatography (HPLC) and fluorescence detection up to 4 h after amifostine administration. Tissues were analyzed for free WR-1065 by reverse-phase HPLC and electrochemical detection 30 and 60 min after administration. Following intravenous administration, plasma WR-1065 levels peaked rapidly and showed a bi-exponential decline, while following subcutaneous administration WR-1065 levels rose slowly and declined exponentially. The relative plasma bioavailability of WR-1065 given subcutaneously was lower at 30 and 60 min. Interestingly, after 30 min, tissues showed equal or slightly greater concentrations of WR-1065 following subcutaneous administration. Levels following 60 min were comparable following both routes. The plasma bioavailability studies performed in primates confirm human plasma data. Expanding the study to evaluate primate tissue levels of WR-1065 revealed that despite lower plasma bioavailability following subcutaneous administration, tissue levels of the active metabolite were surprisingly greater than or equal to those measured in animals that received the drug intravenously. These studies strengthen the argument for subcutaneous administration of amifostine in radiation oncology.

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WR-1065, ≥98% (HPLC)
C5H14N2S · 2HCl