Arzneimittelforschung 2012; 62(12): 677-681
DOI: 10.1055/s-0032-1331166
Original Article
© Georg Thieme Verlag KG Stuttgart · New York

Pharmacokinetic and Myocardial Enzyme Profiles of Two Administration Routes of Epirubicin in Breast Cancer Patients

R.-X. Yang1, H.-X. Ren1, L. Zhuang1, C.-L. Gao1, C. Dong1, C.-X Luo1, X.-N. Wang1, E.-F. Feng2, J.-C. He2
  • 1Chemotherapy Research Center, Yunnan Provincial Tumor Hospital, Kunming Medical University, Kunming, China
  • 2Department of Pharmacy, Kunming General Hospital of Chengdu Military Command, Kunming, China
Further Information

Publication History

received 30 June 2012

accepted 31 October 2012

Publication Date:
30 November 2012 (eFirst)



To evaluate the changes in myocardial enzymes and plasma epirubicin concentration following administration by micro-pump (MP) and intravenous drip (ID) in breast cancer patients.


11 self-controlled breast cancer patients were recruited for a trial with epirubicin administration by MP for 48 h and by ID for 1 h during 2 cycles of treatment. Plasma concentration of epirubicin at different time points was determined using LC-MS/MS. The levels of myocardial enzymes before and after chemotherapy were compared. Another group of patients receiving epirubicin by ID (n=4) or MP (n=9) were monitored for 4 months.


8 patients completed the self-controlled study. The peak concentration of epirubicin in the MP group and the ID group were 21.84±18.85 ng/mL and 294.80±225.54 ng/mL, respectively. The MP group had a longer duration (54~60 h) of plasma concentration of epirubicin not less than 10 ng/mL than that of the ID group (8~14 h). There was significant difference for the alteration of myocardial enzymes before and after chemotherapy (p<0.05) in the ID group, whereas the MP group showed no significant difference (p>0.05). The increased range of myocardial enzymes after chemotherapy in the ID group was larger than that of the MP group and the difference was significant (p<0.05). There is an increased cardiotoxicity in patients receiving epirubicin by ID during the 4-month trial.


Administration of epirubicin by MP maintained an effective drug concentration for a longer period of time than by ID. The higher peak plasma concentration observed following epirubicin administration by ID may lead to cardiac toxicity.