Review of UCN-01 development: A lesson in the importance of clinical pharmacology

Eiichi Fuse, Takashi Kuwabara, Alex Sparreboom, Edward A. Sausville, William D. Figg*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

106 Scopus citations


UCN-01 is a protein kinase inhibitor under development as a novel anticancer drug. The initial pharmacologic features in patients were not predicted from preclinical experiments. The distribution volume and the systemic clearance were much lower than those in experimental animals (mice, rats, and dogs), and the elimination half-life was unusually long (>200 hours). The unbound fraction in human plasma was also much smaller than that in dogs, rats and mice, as was the binding of UCN-01 to human alpha-1 acid glycoprotein much stronger than that to human serum albumin or human γ-globulin. The association constants for alpha-1 acid glycoprotein and human plasma were approximately 8 × 108(mol/L)-1, indicating extremely high affinity. In this review article, the authors discuss the pharmacologic features of UCN-01 across species and provide a perspective on how this information could be applied prospectively to the future development of this agent.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)394-403
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Clinical Pharmacology
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 2005
Externally publishedYes


  • Anticancer drug
  • Drug development
  • Pharmacology
  • UCN-01


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