P-glycoprotein, CYP3A, and plasma carboxylesterase determine brain disposition and oral availability of the novel taxane cabazitaxel (jevtana) in mice

Seng Chuan Tang, Anita Kort, Ka Lei Cheung, Hilde Rosing, Tatsuki Fukami, Selvi Durmus, Els Wagenaar, Jeroen J M A Hendrikx, Miki Nakajima, Bart J M Van Vlijmen, Jos H. Beijnen, Alfred H. Schinkel*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


We aimed to clarify the roles of the multidrug-detoxifying proteins ABCB1, ABCG2, ABCC2, and CYP3A in oral availability and brain accumulation of cabazitaxel, a taxane developed for improved therapy of docetaxel-resistant prostate cancer. Cabazitaxel pharmacokinetics were studied in Abcb1a/1b, Abcg2, Abcc2, Cyp3a, and combination knockout mice. We found that human ABCB1, but not ABCG2, transported cabazitaxel in vitro. Upon oral cabazitaxel administration, total plasma levels were greatly increased due to binding to plasma carboxylesterase Ces1c, which is highly upregulated in several knockout strains. Ces1c inhibition and in vivo hepatic Ces1c knockdown reversed these effects. Correcting for Ces1c effects, Abcb1a/1b, Abcg2, and Abcc2 did not restrict cabazitaxel oral availability, whereas Abcb1a/1b, but not Abcg2, dramatically reduced cabazitaxel brain accumulation (>10-fold). Coadministration of the ABCB1 inhibitor elacridar completely reversed this brain accumulation effect. After correction for Ces1c effects, Cyp3a knockout mice demonstrated a strong (six-fold) increase in cabazitaxel oral availability, which was completely reversed by transgenic human CYP3A4 in intestine and liver. Cabazitaxel markedly inhibited mouse Ces1c, but human CES1 and CES2 only weakly. Ces1c upregulation can thus complicate preclinical cabazitaxel studies. In summary, ABCB1 limits cabazitaxel brain accumulation and therefore potentially therapeutic efficacy against (micro)metastases or primary tumors positioned wholly or partly behind a functional blood-brain barrier. This can be reversed with elacridar coadministration, and similar effects may apply to ABCB1-expressing tumors. CYP3A4 profoundly reduces the oral availability of cabazitaxel. This may potentially be greatly improved by coadministering ritonavir or other CYP3A inhibitors, suggesting the option of patient-friendly oral cabazitaxel therapy.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3714-3723
Number of pages10
JournalMolecular Pharmaceutics
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - 28 Aug 2015


  • Brain accumulation
  • Cabazitaxel
  • Carboxylesterase
  • P-glycoprotein
  • Pharmacokinetics


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