Plasma protein binding of the investigational anticancer agent 2-methoxyestradiol

Nehal Lakhani, Alex Sparreboom, Jürgen Venitz, William L. Dahut, William D. Figg*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


2-Methoxyestradiol (2ME2) is an endogenously produced metabolite of estradiol currently being tested in phase I and II clinical trials as an anticancer agent. Here, we examined the role of protein binding as a possible determinant of the pharmacokinetic behavior of 2ME2. The distribution of 2ME2 in plasma was studied in vitro using plasma from healthy human volunteers and ex vivo using plasma from patients with cancer receiving the drug orally. The equilibrium dialysis method used to characterize plasma protein binding of 2ME2 utilized a tracer amount of [H]-2-methoxyestradiol on a 96-well microdialysis plate with a 5-kDa cutoff membrane and 250 μl of plasma. The time to equilibrium was approximately 24 h and the mean unbound fraction of 2ME2 (fu) over the observed concentration range in plasma of patients receiving 2ME2 orally was 0.019±0.0043. The mean fu was 0.027±0.0019 in plasma of healthy human volunteers. The binding was concentration independent, indicating a low-affinity, possibly nonspecific and nonsaturable process. The binding was also unaffected by the presence of 2-methoxyestrone, one of the major metabolites of 2ME2. 2ME2 was found to bind in decreasing order to plasma>albumin>α1-acid glycoprotein>sex-hormone-binding globulin. Plasma concentration-time profiles of total 2ME2 and unbound 2ME2 concentrations in a patient with cancer receiving 2ME2 as a single oral dose were parallel to each other. Thus, indicating that plasma protein binding is not an important consideration in pharmacokinetic monitoring of 2ME2.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)977-983
Number of pages7
JournalAnti-Cancer Drugs
Issue number8
StatePublished - Sep 2006
Externally publishedYes


  • 2-methoxyestradiol
  • Equilibrium dialysis
  • Protein binding


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