Transport of treosulfan and temozolomide across an in-vitro blood-brain barrier model
In vitro, treosulfan (TREO) has shown high effectiveness against malignant gliomas. However, a first clinical trial for newly diagnosed glioblastoma did not show any positive effect. Even though dosing and timing might have been the reasons for this failure, it might also be that TREO does not reach the brain in sufficient amount. Surprisingly, there are no published data on TREO uptake into the brain of patients, despite extensive research on this compound. An in-vitro blood-brain barrier (BBB) model consisting of primary porcine brain capillary endothelial cells was used to determine the transport of TREO across the cell monolayer. Temozolomide (TMZ), the most widely used cytotoxic drug for malignant gliomas, served as a reference. An HPLC-ESI-MS/MS procedure was developed to detect TREO and TMZ in cell culture medium. Parallel to the experimental approach, the permeability of TREO and the reference substance across the in-vitro BBB was estimated on the basis of their physicochemical properties. The detection limit was 30 nmol/l for TREO and 10 nmol/l for TMZ. Drug transport was measured in two directions: influx, apical-to-basolateral (A-to-B), and efflux, basolateral-to-apical (B-to-A). For TREO, the A-to-B permeability was lower (1.6%) than the B-to-A permeability (3.0%). This was in contrast to TMZ, which had higher A-to-B (13.1%) than B-to-A (7.2%) permeability values. The in-vitro BBB model applied simulated the human BBB properly for TMZ. It is, therefore, reasonable to assume that the values for TREO are also meaningful. Considering the lack of noninvasive, significant alternative methods to study transport across the BBB, the porcine brain capillary endothelial cell model was efficient to collect first data for TREO that explain the disappointing clinical results for this drug against cerebral tumors.