Plasma protein binding of phenylacetate and phenylbutyrate, two novel antineoplastic agents

Sophia Boudoulas, Richard M. Lush, Natalie A. McCall, Dvorit Samid, Eddie Reed, William D. Figg*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Scopus citations


Phenylacetate and phenylbutyrate, two novel inducers of tumor cytostasis and differentiation, are currently in clinical thais for the treatment of cancer in adults. The purpose of our study was to evaluate the plasma protein-binding characteristics of phenylacetate and phenylbutyrate in the plasma of normal volunteers and that of patients with cancer. Drug plasma protein-binding analysis was examined using three separate devices: a micropartition system and two equilibrium dialysis systems, all of which exhibited similar results. Phenylacetate and phenylbutyrate concentrations were determined by high-performance liquid chromatography. Both drugs exhibited concentration-dependent binding. Our results showed sodium phenylacetate to have a higher free fraction than sodium phenylbutyrate at corresponding concentrations (>0.442 ± 0.008 and >0.188 ± 0.001, respectively). Plasma pH did not greatly affect protein binding of either drug. As albumin concentration decreased, an increase in free fraction of both drugs was observed, however α1-acid glycoprotein showed no change in free fraction as its concentration increased. Patients with cancer with lower levels of albumin showed an increase in free fraction with both phenylacetate and phenylbutyrate. When phenylacetate and phenylbutyrate were added together in plasma, the free fraction of phenylacetate increased, whereas the phenylbutyrate free fraction slightly decreased. We conclude that phenylacetate and phenylbutyrate have high free fractions that change with varying albumin levels and when both phenylacetate and phenylbutyrate are present together in plasma.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)714-720
Number of pages7
JournalTherapeutic Drug Monitoring
Issue number6
StatePublished - 1996
Externally publishedYes


  • Dialysis
  • Free fraction
  • Phenylacetate
  • Phenylbutyrate
  • Protein binding
  • Ultrafiltrate


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