New findings in the pharmacokinetic, metabolic, and drug-resistance aspects of mitomycin C

Robert T. Dorr

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61 Scopus citations


The pharmacokinetics of mitomycin C are reviewed from reports using specific and sensitive high-performance liquid chromatography (HPLC) assays. These studies demonstrate a rapid, biphasic elimination pattern for the drug: α half-life of 8 minutes and β, or terminal, half-life of 48 minutes. Urinary elimination of intact drug is minimal (8% to 10% of a dose), whereas biliary drug levels may exceed those in the plasma. There was no evidence of dose dependent pharmacokinetics over a wide range of doses and patient populations, including pediatric solid tumor patients. Metabolic studies with mitomycin C have demonstrated an absolute requirement for reductive enzymatic activation of the drug to mono- and bifunctional alkylating species. The preferred DNA target for covalent attachment by mitomycin C was found to be the N2 position of guanine. Chemical metabolites of activated mitomycin C were also demonstrated to include 2, 7 diaminomitosene and its cis- and trans-1-hydroxy or 1-phosphate analogues. Also, there was no evidence for hypoxic cell selectivity for mitomycin C in several human tumor cell lines, although some animal tumors unequivocally display this phenomenon. Finally, there are new observations of the development of the multidrug-resistance phenotype in mitomycin C-treated L-1210 cells in vitro. These cells became collaterally resistant to anthracyclines and vinca alkaloids and expressed the P-glycoprotein in cell membranes. The implications of these findings for mitomycin C use in solid tumors in humans is discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)32-41
Number of pages10
JournalSeminars in Oncology
Issue number3 SUPPL. 4
StatePublished - Jun 1988

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Hematology
  • Oncology


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