PK/PD modeling based on NO-ET homeostasis for improving management of sunitinib-induced hypertension in rats

Authors: Hao-chen Liu1, Xiao-ting Zhou1, Yun-si Zheng1, Hua He1, Xiao-quan Liu1
1 Center of Drug Metabolism and Pharmacokinetics, China Pharmaceutical University, Nanjing 210009, China
Correspondence to: Hua He:, Xiao-quan Liu:,
DOI: 10.1038/s41401-019-0331-8
Received: 22 July 2019
Accepted: 4 November 2019
Advance online: 13 January 2020


Sunitinib is an oral small molecule multitargeted tyrosine kinase inhibitor, which is currently used to treat severe cancers. Clinical research has shown that patients treated with sunitinib develop hypertension. As soon as sunitinib-induced hypertension appears, it is usual to administer anti-hypertension agent. But this treatment may cause acute blood pressure fluctuation which may lead to additional cardiovascular risk. The aim of this study is to establish a mathematical model for managing sunitinib-induced hypertension and blood pressure fluctuation. A mechanism-based PK/PD model was developed based on animal experiments. Then this model was used to perform simulations, thus to propose an anti-hypertension indication, according to which the anti-hypertension treatment might yield relative low-level AUC and fluctuation of blood pressure. The simulation results suggest that the anti-hypertension agent may yield low-level AUC and fluctuation of blood pressure when relative ET-1 level ranges from −15%to 5% and relative NO level is more than 10% compared to control group. Finally, animal experiments were conducted to verify the simulation results. Macitentan (30 mg/kg) was administered based on the above anti-hypertension indication. Compared with the untreated group, the optimized treatment significantly reduced the AUC of blood pressure; meanwhile the fluctuation of blood pressure in optimized treatment group was 70% less than that in immediate treatment group. This work provides a novel model with potential translational value for managing sunitinib-induced hypertension.
Keywords: sunitinib; hypertension; blood pressure fluctuation; PK/PD modeling; simulation; macitentan

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