The effects of food and divided dosing on the bioavailability of oral vinorelbine

Eric K. Rowinsky, V. Sol Lucas, Ai Ly Y. Hsieh, William A. Wargin, John A. Hohneker, Barbara Lubejko, Susan E. Sartorius, Ross C. Donehower

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The effects of food and divided dosing on the bioavailability of a liquid-filled gelatin capsule formulation of vinorelbine (Navelbine), a semisynthetic vinca alkaloid with broad clinical activity, was evaluated in patients with advanced solid tumors. A group of 13 patients were randomized to treatment with the oral formulation at the recommended phase II dose of 80 mg/m2 per week either in the fasting state or after ingestion of a standard meal. Patients were treated 1 week later in the alternate state relative to their first dose. The effects of divided dosing were assessed during the 3rd week, at which time vinorelbine was administered in two divided doses. After the completion of pharmacokinetic and bioavailability studies, patients received the oral formulation at a dose of 80 mg/m2 per week in two divided doses to evaluate the feasibility of chronic oral drug administration. Both manipulations resulted in small, albeit statistically significant, reductions in the relative bioavailability of this oral formulation. The relative bioavailability decreased by 22 ± 28% when treatment followed the ingestion of a standard meal, possibly due to a delay in gastrointestinal transit time. The mean time of maximum plasma concentration (T(max)) increased from 1.3 ± 1.6 h in the fasting state to 2.5 ± 1.6 h in the fed state, although this difference was not statistically significant. Similarly, the relative bioavailability declined by 16 ± 51% when vinorelbine was administered in two divided doses. An analysis of dose proportionality revealed disproportionate increases in dose-normalized C(max) and AUC values with single oral doses above 120 mg, which may account for this phenomenon. The high clearance of vinorelbine, which approaches hepatic blood flow, and the lack of dose proportionality after oral administration, indicate that there is a large first-pass effect which may be saturable, or nonlinear, above single doses of 120 mg. In addition, the toxicological and pharmacological characteristics of oral vinorelbine indicate that treatment after a standard meal or on a divided dosing schedule is safe. Chronic oral administration of the agent in two divided doses was also well tolerated. However, the small reduction in the relative bioavailability following the ingestion of a standard meal and with divided dosing suggest the need for further pharmacodynamic studies to determine if reductions in drug exposure of this magnitude may portend diminished antitumor activity.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)9-16
Number of pages8
JournalCancer Chemotherapy and Pharmacology
Issue number1-2
StatePublished - Dec 10 1996


  • Bioavailability
  • Divided dosing
  • Food
  • Navelbine
  • Oral
  • Pharmacokinetics
  • Vinorelbine

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Toxicology
  • Pharmacology
  • Cancer Research
  • Pharmacology (medical)


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