Afatinib is a highly selective, irreversible inhibitor of EGFR and HER-2. It is orally administered for the treatment of patients with EGFR mutation-positive types of metastatic NSCLC. We investigated whether afatinib is a substrate for the multidrug efflux transporters ABCB1 and ABCG2 and whether these transporters influence oral availability and brain and other tissue accumulation of afatinib.
We used in vitro transport assays to assess human (h)ABCB1-, hABCG2- or murine (m)Abcg2-mediated transport of afatinib. To study the single and combined roles of Abcg2 and Abcb1a/1b in oral afatinib disposition, we used appropriate knockout mouse strains.
Afatinib was transported well by hABCB1, hABCG2 and mAbcg2 in vitro. Upon oral administration of afatinib, Abcg2−/−, Abcb1a/1b−/− and Abcb1a/1b−/−;Abcg2−/− mice displayed a 4.2-, 2.4- and 7-fold increased afatinib plasma AUC0-24 compared with wild-type mice. Abcg2-deficient strains also displayed decreased afatinib plasma clearance. At 2 h, relative brain accumulation of afatinib was not significantly altered in the single knockout strains, but 23.8-fold increased in Abcb1a/1b−/−;Abcg2−/− mice compared to wild-type mice.
Abcg2 and Abcb1a/1b restrict oral availability and brain accumulation of afatinib. Inhibition of these transporters may therefore be of clinical importance for patients with brain (micro)metastases positioned behind an intact blood-brain barrier.