Is sunitinib a Narrow Therapeutic Index Drug? – A systematic review and in vitro toxicology-analysis of Sunitinib vs. Imatinib in cells from different tissues

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Abstract

Narrow Therapeutic Index Drugs (NTIDs) are characterized by a small range between therapeutic and toxicological effect. Missing international harmonized definition for NTIDs the EMA does not even have a definition of NTIDs in contrast to the U.S. FDA, Health Canada, and the Japanese NIHS. Sunitinib, a tyrosine kinase inhibitor (TKI), indicated for the treatment of certain cancer types, will be running off-patent soon. Falling into the category of NTID would have a major impact on regulatory requirements for generic applications. Our analyses of metadata revealed numerous arguments in favor of a NTID designation. We used in vitro experiments to also give initial experimental answers. Five cell types of different tissue origin were examined for determination of IC50-values in cell viability assays. For comparison, the first-in-class TKI Imatinib was used as reference non-NTID drug. In addition, apoptotic proteins were investigated with respect to their expression and phosphorylation status. These in vitro experiments showed systematically higher toxicity of Sunitinib compared to Imatinib and a different expression and phosphorylation pattern of apoptotic proteins. In vitro data can only give preliminary results and further experiments with clinical blood samples and tumor biopsies are needed to finally clarify NTID status of Sunitinib.

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