Rapid discrimination and quantification analysis of five antineoplastic drugs in aqueous solutions using Raman spectroscopy

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The aim of this study was to assess the ability of Raman spectroscopy to discriminate and quantify five antineoplastic drugs in an aqueous matrix at low concentrations before patient administration.

Five antineoplastic drugs were studied at therapeutic concentrations in aqueous 0.9% sodium chloride: 5-fluorouracil (5FU), gemcitabine (GEM), cyclophophamide (CYCLO), ifosfamide (IFOS) and doxorubicin (DOXO). All samples were packaged in glass vials and analyzed using Raman spectrometry from 400 to 4000 cm−1. Discriminant analyses were performed using Partial Least Squares Discriminant Analysis (PLS-DA) and quantitative analyses using PLS regression.

The best discrimination model was obtained using hierarchical PLS-DA models including three successive models for concentrations higher than the lower limit of quantification (0% of fitting and cross-validation error rate with an excellent accuracy of 100%). According to these hierarchical discriminative models, 90.8% (n = 433) of external validation samples were correctly predicted, 2.5% (n = 12) were misclassified and 6.7% (n = 32) of the external validation set were not assigned. The quantitative analysis was characterized by the RMSEP that ranged from 0.23 mg/mL for DOXO to 3.05 mg/mL for 5FU. The determination coefficient (R2) was higher than 0.9994 for all drugs evaluated except for 5FU (R2 = 0.9986).

This study provides additional information about the potential value of Raman spectroscopy for real-time quality control of cytotoxic drugs in hospitals. In some situations, this technique therefore constitutes a powerful alternative to usual methods with ultraviolet (UV) detection to ensure the correct drug and the correct dose in solutions before administration to patients and to limit exposure of healthcare workers during the analytical control process.

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