Liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometric assay for therapeutic drug monitoring of the EGFR inhibitors afatinib, erlotinib and osimertinib, the ALK inhibitor crizotinib and the VEGFR inhibitor nintedanib in human plasma from non-small cell lung cancer patients

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Abstract

A new method for the quantitative analysis by liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry (LC–MS/MS) of five tyrosine kinase inhibitors (afatinib, crizotinib, osimertinib, erlotinib and nintedanib) used in the treatment of non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) was developed and validated in human plasma. Separation was performed on an Accucore® C18 (2.1×50mm; 2.6μm) column using a gradient elution of water acidified with 0.1% (v/v) formic acid (A) and acetonitrile containing 0.1% (v/v) formic acid (B) at a flow rate of 500μL/min. The analytes were detected in the selected reaction monitoring mode of a triple quadrupole mass spectrometer after positive ionization with heated electrospray interface. After addition of three isotopically labeled internal standards, plasma pretreatment consisted in a simple protein precipitation. This method presented satisfactory results in terms of sensitivity, specificity, precision (intra- and inter-assay coefficient of variation from 2.6% to 10.6%), accuracy (from 96.1% to 108.5%), recovery and matrix effects. The lower limit of quantification and the linearity of these five tyrosine kinases inhibitors are suitable with the expected concentrations in clinical practice. This new bioanalytical method can be used in daily clinical practice for therapeutic drug monitoring of these tyrosine kinase inhibitors in NSCLC patients.

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