Methimazole – Hyperthyroidism Treatment


(meth im’ a zole)


To examine the doable pharmacokinetic and pharmacodynamic interactions between irinotecan and methimazole.


A affected person handled for colorectal most cancers with single agent irinotecan acquired methimazole co-treatment for Graves’ illness. Irinotecan pharmacokinetics and unintended effects have been adopted throughout a complete of 4 programs (two programs with and two programs with out methimazole).


Plasma concentrations of the lively irinotecan metabolite SN-38 and its inactive metabolite SN-38-Glucuronide have been each greater (a imply improve of 14 and 67%, respectively) with methimazole co-treatment, in comparison with irinotecan monotherapy. As a consequence, the imply SN-38 glucuronidation charge elevated with 47% throughout concurrent remedy. Other doable confounding elements didn’t change over time. Specific adversarial occasions as a consequence of methimazole co-remedy weren’t seen.


Additional in vitro experiments recommend that these outcomes will be defined by induction of UGT1A1 by methimazole, resulting in greater SN-38G concentrations. The prescribed mixture of those medication could result in extremely poisonous intestinal SN-38 ranges. We due to this fact advise physicians to be very cautious in combining methimazole with common irinotecan doses, particularly in sufferers who’re susceptible to irinotecan toxicity.

Keywords: Irinotecan, Methimazole, Drug interplay, UGT1A, Diarrhea, SN-38, CYP3A


Irinotecan is extensively used within the remedy of superior colorectal most cancers [1]. It is a professional-drug of the lively compound SN-38 and is metabolized by cytochrome P450 3A (CYP3A) into inactive metabolites (Fig. 1a). In the liver, uridine diphosphate glucuronosyltransferase 1A (UGT1A) is able to inactivating SN-38 to its glucuronide type SN-38G, which facilitates excretion from the circulation [2]. In the intestines, SN-38G will be remodeled again into SN-38 by bacterial β-glucuronidase. The metabolism of irinotecan is sophisticated by a number of drug-transporting proteins concerned within the elimination of the drug (i.e. ATP-binding cassette transporters) [3]. Besides genetic alterations within the UGT1A gene, additionally environmental elements are identified to affect its metabolism [3–5]. For occasion, cigarette smoking could induce its metabolism, thereby reducing the systemic publicity to SN-38 [6].

An external file that holds a picture, illustration, etc. Object name is 280_2010_1414_Fig1_HTML.jpg

Pharmacokinetics of irinotecan and metabolites. a Irinotecan is transformed into its 1,000 instances extra lively metabolite SN38 by carboxylesterases (CES), that are predominately discovered within the liver. The affinity for this response is low, since solely a fraction of irinotecan is immediately transformed into SN38. Competing with the formation of SN38 is the CYP3A-mediated inactivation of irinotecan into the metabolites APC and NPC. In flip, carboxylesterases even have the flexibility to transform each of those compounds into SN38SN38 is glucuronidated by UGT1A into its inactive metabolite SN38G. In the intestines, β-glucuronidase-producing micro organism can reverse this latter response, and thus reactivate SN38, which causes the dose-limiting toxicity diarrhea. Area below the plasma focus versus time curves for irinotecan (b), NPC (c), APC (d), SN-38 (e), and SN-38G (f) throughout all 4 chemotherapy programs. The open and closed symbols describe the 2 programs with methimazole and the 2 programs with out methimazole co-remedy, respectively

Here, we report on a affected person who used methimazole whereas being handled with irinotecan chemotherapy. We hypothesized that methimazole might significantly affect irinotecan metabolism, as pre-scientific information recommend that methimazole inhibits CYP3A [7] and induces sure UGT1A subtypes [8], each being essential enzyme methods concerned within the elimination of irinotecan and its metabolites. By performing extra in vitro experiments, we examined our speculation.

Materials and strategies

Our affected person was a cigarette smoking 53-year-outdated male, with domestically superior colorectal most cancers. Six months previous to the beginning of irinotecan remedy, he was handled for hyperthyroidism as a consequence of Graves’ illness utilizing a mix of methimazole and levothyroxine. Other each day medicines have been acetaminophen, fentanyl, pantoprazole, carbasalate calcium, metoclopramide, and dexamethasone. During two three-weekly programs of irinotecan, the affected person took a each day dose of 30 mg methimazole. Two weeks after the second chemotherapy course, methimazole was stopped and the affected person was handled with radioiodine (I-131) as a definitive remedy for Graves’ hyperthyroidism. Without delay, the next programs of irinotecan have been administered. After written knowledgeable consent, plasma pharmacokinetics of irinotecan and its metabolites have been collected throughout a complete of 4 programs. Patient-related elements (i.e. co-treatment, smoking standing), laboratory values and toxicities have been carefully monitored, UGT1A1*28 genotype was decided, and lively hormone three,5,three′-triiodothyronine (T3), and thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH, thyrotropin) ranges have been decided to exclude doable confounding results of various thyroid standing.

During and after the 90-min intravenous infusions of irinotecan (350 mg/m2), blood was drawn at particular time-factors [6]. Plasma concentrations of irinotecan, NPC, APC, SN-38, and SN-38G have been decided utilizing validated chromatography strategies [9, 10]. Individual plasma pharmacokinetics have been estimated utilizing non-compartmental analyses (WinNonLin 5.Zero, Pharsight, CA). At weekly outpatient visits, toxicities have been scored.

Methods for the extra in vitro experiments are described intimately within the “Appendix” part.


The space below the plasma focus–time curve (AUC) of irinotecan didn’t differ between the programs with or with out methimazole co-remedy (imply 16.1 μg × h/mL; Fig. 1b; Table 1). However, plasma concentrations of each SN-38 and SN-38G have been greater in the course of the programs with methimazole (Fig. 1e, f). With methimazole, the imply SN-38 AUC was 14% greater than with out methimazole (125 ng × h/mL vs. 110 ng × h/mL). In the presence of methimazole, the imply SN-38G AUC was 67% greater (1,255 ng × h/mL vs. 753 ng × h/mL). Consequently, a imply 47% elevated relative extent of glucuronidation, which is the ratio of SN-38G over SN-38 (imply, 10.1 vs. 6.85), was discovered in the course of the mixture remedy programs. The publicity to the CYP3A metabolites APC (imply three,Zero18 ng × h/mL; Fig. 1d) and NPC (imply 32.three ng × h/mL; Fig. 1c) was not totally different between the programs with or with out methimazole.

Table 1

Baseline traits, pharmacokinetics, chemistry, and toxicities throughout 4 remedy programs with irinotecan

Irinotecan course 1 2 three four
Methimazole Yes Yes No No
TSH (Zero.four–four.three mU/L)a Zero.Zero 2.6 Zero.Zero Zero.Zero
T3 (1.four–2.5 nmol/L) 1.54 2.11 2.14 2.86
Dose irinotecan (mg) 660 660 660 660
AUC(Zero–56 h) irinotecan (μg × h/mL) 16.6 16.Zero 15.eight 16.Zero
AUC(Zero–56 h) APC (ng × h/mL) three,227 2,919 three,Zero28 2,897
AUC(Zero–eight h) NPC (ng × h/mL) 31.9 32.four 32.2 32.5
AUC(Zero–56 h) SN-38 (ng × h/mL) 117 133 106 114
AUC(Zero–56 h) SN-38G (ng × h/mL) 1,301 1,209 728 777
REG 11.1 9.09 6.87 6.82
Bilirubin (Zero–16 U/L) 5 6 7 6
Alkaline phosphatase (Zero–119 U/L) 189 182 176 152
γ-Glutamyltransferase (Zero–49 U/L) 60 42 34 33
AST (Zero–36 U/L) 20 21 18 16
ALT (Zero–40 U/L) 24 23 24 18
Neutrophil nadir (×109/L) four.7 four.1 four.1 four.Zero
Diarrhea (grade)b 1 Zero Zero Zero

TSH Thyroid stimulating hormone, T3 lively hormone three,5,three′-triiodothyronine, AUC space below the plasma focus versus time curve, SN38 lively metabolite of irinotecan; SN38Gdetoxified metabolite of SN-38, REG relative extent of glucuronidation, AST aspartate aminotransferase, ALT alanine aminotransferase

aNormal values between brackets. For TSH and T3, technique of weekly values inside a interval of three weeks have been given

bGrading in line with National Cancer Institute—Common Terminology Criteria for Adverse Events model three.Zero

Except for methimazole, co-treatment didn’t change in the course of the studied programs and likewise smoking habits of the affected person (15–20 cigarettes per day) didn’t change. The affected person seemed to be wild-sort (TA6/TA6) for UGT1A1*28, that means that UGT1A1 perform was not lowered primarily based on this acquainted genetic polymorphism [3]. Thyroid hormone ranges different in the course of the assessed programs (Table 1), with a transient however clear hyperthyroidism in the course of the fourth course. Nevertheless, a correlation between thyroid perform and systemic chemotherapy ranges couldn’t be established. Irinotecan-related toxicity was delicate throughout all programs. The absolute neutrophil rely nadir was related in all programs (imply four.2 × 109/L).

In the in vitro experiments, simultaneous incubation of human liver microsomes with irinotecan and methimazole resulted in a barely decreased formation of NPC and APC (each 16% diminished in comparison with incubation within the absence of methimazole; Appendix Fig. 2a). Control experiments during which irinotecan was mixed with fluconazole, a identified potent CYP3A-inhibitor, resulted in a robust inhibition of NPC and APC formation (78 and 74% inhibition, respectively, in comparison with experiments within the absence of fluconazole; Appendix Fig. 2a). No impact of methimazole on SN-38 formation was seen. In addition, SN-38G formation didn’t lower in the course of the co-incubation of microsomes with methimazole and SN-38, whereas a discount of 43% was noticed throughout simultaneous incubation of SN-38 with the UGT1A1 inhibitor ketoconazole.

An external file that holds a picture, illustration, etc. Object name is 280_2010_1414_Fig2_HTML.jpg

In order to find out whether or not methimazole is able to inducing UGT1A1 expression, a HCT 116 colorectal carcinoma cell-line was cultured within the presence of varied concentrations of methimazole (25–100 μM) for ~48 h after which UGT1A1 mRNA ranges have been measured by quantitative RT-PCR. Appendix Fig. 2b shows the outcomes of the experiment displaying a 15–18-fold induction of UGT1A1 mRNA ranges by methimazole in comparison with untreated management cells. The lowest focus of methimazole (25 μM) gave rise to the very best induction ranges after 48 h, whereas the upper concentrations (50 and 100 μM) already confirmed strongly elevated UGT1A1 ranges after 24 h that appear to return to regular in a focus-dependent method after an extended incubation interval.

Our in vitro exams during which the transport of mitoxantrone by ABCG2 was studied confirmed that methimazole in concentrations as much as 100 μM didn’t have an effect on the efflux of mitoxantrone. In distinction, the identified ABCG2 inhibitor Ko-143 diminished the efflux of mitoxantrone, thereby inflicting accumulation of the drug.


In the present case, elements identified to considerably alter irinotecan pharmacokinetics didn’t change over time, apart from using methimazole. As a relationship between thyroid standing and plasma concentrations of chemotherapy was not discovered, a doable affect of thyroid hormone on UGT1A exercise might be very restricted in our case [11]. Therefore, we assume that the intra-affected person variations in pharmacokinetics discovered over the programs are primarily attributable to methimazole.

Irinotecan drug-concentrations assessed within the programs with out methimazole are throughout the low-regular vary of literature information [6, 12, 13], probably as a consequence of sufferers’ smoking habits. As SN-38 ranges are solely reasonably elevated, whereas SN-38G concentrations are a lot greater within the presence of methimazole, our scientific information assist the pre-scientific literature describing mixed results of CYP3A-inhibition and UGT1A-induction by methimazole [7, 8]. However, inhibition of CYP3A was not confirmed by decrease systemic concentrations of NPC and APC within the programs with methimazole. In addition, our in vitro experiments couldn’t decide an essential impact of methimazole on CYP3A exercise. Therefore, we now have to conclude that the involvement of CYP3A might be restricted within the noticed pharmacokinetic alterations throughout methimazole uncovered programs.

UGT1A induction in flip will result in elevated SN-38G ranges, catalyzing SN-38 transformation into SN-38G. This is expressed by the upper glucuronidation charge in the course of the mixture remedy. Although the precise mechanism of irinotecan-induced delayed-onset diarrhea is unclear, there’s consensus that intestinal toxicity is brought on by native reactivation of SN-38 from SN-38G by β-glucuronidase-producing micro organism within the intestine [14, 15]. Therefore, greater SN-38G ranges because of methimazole co-remedy might doubtlessly result in extra intestinal toxicity, since greater systemic SN-38G concentrations might trigger elevated intestinal SN-38 ranges when SN-38G is excreted within the intestine and is de-glucuronidated by intestinal micro organism. This was additionally proven in a inhabitants-pharmacokinetic mannequin of irinotecan, during which the AUC of SN-38G was correlated with diarrhea scores (P < Zero.005) [16]. In addition, it was proven that co-remedy with the antibiotic neomycin reduces the fecal β-glucuronidase exercise and fecal SN-38G/SN-38 ratio, thereby decreasing the incidence of diarrhea [17].

In our view, it’s believable that the impact of upper SN-38G ranges in our affected person didn’t end in extra diarrhea as a result of this affected person already had a low pharmacokinetic and toxicity profile, most probably due to his smoking habits and wild-sort UGT1A1*28 genotype [6]. However, in sufferers who’re extra susceptible to toxicity, greater SN-38G ranges because of concomitant methimazole use, might doubtlessly result in extreme diarrhea.

One can’t formally rule out the chance that extra mechanisms contribute to the noticed scientific phenotype. For occasion, methimazole may intrude with ABC-transporters concerned within the efflux of the irinotecan metabolites, resulting in accumulation of SN-38 and SN-38G. However, there is no such thing as a literature obtainable indicating that methimazole is a substrate or inhibitor of ABC-transporters. Moreover, our experiments confirmed that therapeutic concentrations of methimazole don’t have an effect on ABCG2-mediated transport.


Although the precise rationalization for our findings is topic for additional examine, the mix of irinotecan and methimazole may doubtlessly result in elevated toxicity as a consequence of greater systemic SN-38 and SN-38G concentrations. Reactivation of excessive concentrations SN-38G by bacterial enzymes within the bowel is doubtlessly harmful in that respect and will result in native toxicity. We due to this fact advise physicians to watch out in combining methimazole with common irinotecan doses, particularly in sufferers who’re susceptible to irinotecan toxicity.


We thank P. de Bruijn, P. van Kuijk, and A. W. M. Boersma for performing in vitro experiments and analytical measurements.

Conflicts of curiosity We don’t have any conflicts of curiosity or disclosures. There was additionally no monetary assist to carry out the in vitro experiments.

Open Access This article is distributed below the phrases of the Creative Commons Attribution Noncommercial License which allows any noncommercial use, distribution, and replica in any medium, supplied the unique creator(s) and supply are credited.



Methods of in vitro experiments

In vitro experiments have been carried out to check the consequences of methimazole on the metabolism of irinotecan and SN-38. Pooled human liver microsomes have been incubated for 30 min with irinotecan (10 μM) within the presence or absence of methimazole (37.5 μM) or fluconazole (25 μM; CYP3A inhibitor) primarily based on the strategy described by Slatter et al. [18]. The experiment was carried out on four separate events. In every experiment, microsomal proteins (1 mg/mL) have been incubated in triplicate. In addition, pooled human liver microsomes have been incubated for 30 min with SN-38 (5 μM) within the presence or absence of methimazole (37.5 μM) or ketoconazole (25 μM; UGT1A inhibitor) primarily based on the strategy described by Yong et al. [19]. This experiment was carried out on separate events, throughout which microsomal proteins (Zero.eight mg/mL) have been incubated in triplicate. Experiments have been terminated by the addition of a perchloric acid/methanol answer. Irinotecan and metabolite concentrations from these experiments have been measured, utilizing the strategies talked about earlier (Fig. 2).

HCT116 colorectal carcinoma cells have been cultured in Glutamax™ containing Hepes-buffered RPMI 1640 medium supplemented with 10% fetal calf serum (Gibco BRL, Paisley, UK), 100 U/mL penicillin and 100 μg/mL streptomycin at 37°C in a humidified ambiance containing 5% CO2. HCT116 cultures of 60% confluence have been cultured within the presence of methimazole (25, 50, and 100 μM) or Zero.1% (v/v) MeOH as a solute management. After 5, 24 or 48 h, whole RNA was extracted utilizing RNA-Bee (Tel-TEST Temco, Inc. Friendswood, TX). Relative UGT1A1 mRNA expression ranges have been measured by actual-time RT-PCR utilizing the Taqman Universal Master combine and Assay-On-Demand merchandise from Applied Biosystems (UGT1A1 assay ID: Hs02511055-s1). The human glyceraldehyde-three-phosphate dehydrogenase (GAPDH assay ID: 4310884E; VIC/TAMRA) was used for normalization. Reactions have been run on an ABI PRISM 7900 sequence detector system (Applied Biosystems, Foster City, CA) utilizing the next biking circumstances: 50°C for two min, 95°C for 10 min adopted by 40 cycles of 95°C for 15 s, and 60°C for 1 min.

Hek293 cells transfected with pcDNA3 (HEK293/neo) or wild-sort BCRP/ABCG2-R482R (HEK293/R) have been cultured below related circumstances as HCT116. To examine whether or not ABCG2 exercise is affected by methimazole, we analyzed the intracellular accumulation of mitoxantrone (a well-known ABCG2 substrate) within the presence of methimazole. A cell suspension of 106 cells of HEK293/neo or HEK293/R in RPMI1640 medium with out additional dietary supplements was incubated within the presence of three μM mitoxantrone at 37°C for 90 min with or with out the addition of 10, 25, 50, 100 μM methimazole or 200 nM of the fumitremorgin C analog Ko-143. The mitoxantrone accumulation (fluorescence depth) was decided by move cytometry as described beforehand [20].


1. Vanhoefer U, Harstrick A, Achterrath W, Cao S, Seeber S, Rustum YM. Irinotecan within the remedy of colorectal most cancers: scientific overview. J Clin Oncol. 2001;19:1501–1518.[PubMed]
2. Di Paolo A, Bocci G, Danesi R, Del Tacca M. Clinical pharmacokinetics of irinotecan-primarily based chemotherapy in colorectal most cancers sufferers. Curr Clin Pharmacol. 2006;1:311–323. doi: 10.2174/157488406778249307. [PubMed] [CrossRef]
three. Innocenti F, Kroetz DL, Schuetz E, Dolan ME, Ramirez J, Relling M, Chen P, Das S, Rosner GL, Ratain MJ. Comprehensive pharmacogenetic evaluation of irinotecan neutropenia and pharmacokinetics. J Clin Oncol. 2009;27:2604–2614. doi: 10.1200/JCO.2008.20.6300. [PMC free article] [PubMed] [CrossRef]
four. Jong FA, Sparreboom A, Verweij J, Mathijssen RH. Lifestyle habits as a contributor to anti-most cancers remedy failure. Eur J Cancer. 2008;44:374–382. doi: 10.1016/j.ejca.2007.12.Zero12. [PubMed] [CrossRef]
5. Mathijssen RH, Verweij J, Bruijn P, Loos WJ, Sparreboom A. Effects of St. John’s wort on irinotecan metabolism. J Natl Cancer Inst. 2002;94:1247–1249. [PubMed]
6. Bol JM, Mathijssen RH, Loos WJ, Friberg LE, Schaik RH, Jonge MJ, Planting AS, Verweij J, Sparreboom A, Jong FA. Cigarette smoking and irinotecan remedy: pharmacokinetic interplay and results on neutropenia. J Clin Oncol. 2007;25:2719–2726. doi: 10.1200/JCO.2006.09.6115. [PubMed] [CrossRef]
7. Guo Z, Raeissi S, White RB, Stevens JC. Orphenadrine and methimazole inhibit a number of cytochrome P450 enzymes in human liver microsomes. Drug Metab Dispos. 1997;25:390–393. [PubMed]
eight. Visser TJ, Kaptein E, Gijzel A, Herder WW, Cannon ML, Bonthuis F, Greef WJ. Effects of thyroid standing and thyrostatic medication on hepatic glucuronidation of lodothyronines and different substrates in rats. Endocrine. 1996;four:78–85. doi: 10.1007/BF02738878. [PubMed] [CrossRef]
9. Bruijn P, Willems EW, Loos WJ, Verweij J, Sparreboom A. Indirect dedication of the irinotecan metabolite 7-ethyl-10-O-glucuronyl-camptothecin in human samples. Anal Biochem. 2004;328:84–86. doi: 10.1016/j.ab.2004.01.007. [PubMed] [CrossRef]
10. Sparreboom A, Bruijn P, Jonge MJ, Loos WJ, Stoter G, Verweij J, Nooter Okay. Liquid chromatographic dedication of irinotecan and three main metabolites in human plasma, urine and feces. J Chromatogr B Biomed Sci Appl. 1998;712:225–235. doi: 10.1016/S0378-4347(98)00147-9. [PubMed] [CrossRef]
11. Steenbergen W, Fevery J, Vos R, Leyten R, Heirwegh KP, Groote J. Thyroid hormones and the hepatic dealing with of bilirubin. I. Effects of hypothyroidism and hyperthyroidism on the hepatic transport of bilirubin mono- and diconjugates within the Wistar rat. Hepatology. 1989;9:314–321. doi: 10.1002/hep.1840090225. [PubMed] [CrossRef]
12. Kehrer DF, Mathijssen RH, Verweij J, Bruijn P, Sparreboom A. Modulation of irinotecan metabolism by ketoconazole. J Clin Oncol. 2002;20:3122–3129. doi: 10.1200/JCO.2002.08.177. [PubMed] [CrossRef]
13. Tobin PJ, Beale P, Noney L, Liddell S, Rivory LP, Clarke S. A pilot examine on the protection of mixing chrysin, a non-absorbable inducer of UGT1A1, and irinotecan (CPT-11) to deal with metastatic colorectal most cancers. Cancer Chemother Pharmacol. 2006;57:309–316. doi: 10.1007/s00280-005-0053-Zero. [PubMed] [CrossRef]
14. Takasuna Okay, Hagiwara T, Hirohashi M, Kato M, Nomura M, Nagai E, Yokoi T, Kamataki T. Involvement of beta-glucuronidase in intestinal microflora within the intestinal toxicity of the antitumor camptothecin by-product irinotecan hydrochloride (CPT-11) in rats. Cancer Res. 1996;56:3752–3757. [PubMed]
15. Takasuna Okay, Hagiwara T, Hirohashi M, Kato M, Nomura M, Nagai E, Yokoi T, Kamataki T. Inhibition of intestinal microflora beta-glucuronidase modifies the distribution of the lively metabolite of the antitumor agent, irinotecan hydrochloride (CPT-11) in rats. Cancer Chemother Pharmacol. 1998;42:280–286. doi: 10.1007/s002800050818. [PubMed] [CrossRef]
16. Xie R, Mathijssen RH, Sparreboom A, Verweij J, Karlsson MO. Clinical pharmacokinetics of irinotecan and its metabolites in relation with diarrhea. Clin Pharmacol Ther. 2002;72:265–275. doi: 10.1067/mcp.2002.126741. [PubMed] [CrossRef]
17. Kehrer DF, Sparreboom A, Verweij J, Bruijn P, Nierop CA, Schraaf J, Ruijgrok EJ, Jonge MJ. Modulation of irinotecan-induced diarrhea by cotreatment with neomycin in most cancers sufferers. Clin Cancer Res. 2001;7:1136–1141. [PubMed]
18. Slatter JG, Su P, Sams JP, Schaaf LJ, Wienkers LC. Bioactivation of the anticancer agent CPT-11 to SN-38 by human hepatic microsomal carboxylesterases and the in vitro evaluation of potential drug interactions. Drug Metab Dispos. 1997;25:1157–1164.[PubMed]
19. Yong WP, Ramirez J, Innocenti F, Ratain MJ. Effects of ketoconazole on glucuronidation by UDP-glucuronosyltransferase enzymes. Clin Cancer Res. 2005;11:6699–6704. doi: 10.1158/1078-0432.CCR-05-0703. [PubMed] [CrossRef]
20. Burger H, Tol H, Boersma AW, Brok M, Wiemer EA, Stoter G, Nooter Okay. Imatinib mesylate (STI571) is a substrate for the breast most cancers resistance protein (BCRP)/ABCG2 drug pump. Blood. 2004;104:2940–2942. doi: 10.1182/blood-2004-04-1398. [PubMed] [CrossRef]