The central nervous system toxicity and cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) pharmacokinetics of 3-[(4-amino-2-methyl-5-pyrimidinyl)ethyl]-1-(2-chloroethyl)-1-nitrosourea (ACNU) were determined in beagles and compared to those for three other nitrosoureas, 1-(2-chloroethyl)-3-(2,6-dioxo-3-piperidyl)-1-nitrosourea, 1,3-bis(2-chloroethyl)-1-nitrosourea, and chlorozotocin. Of the four drugs, ACNU was tolerated best and at doses of 0.2 to 0.8 mg/week for 8 consecutive weeks. We found that the average half-time for CSF elimination of ACNU was 18 min (range, 12 to 38 min). This value exceeded the known rate of ACNU decomposition in aqueous solution (28 to 29 min), implying that the disappearance of ACNU from CSF was due to hydrolytic decomposition and cellular entry and/or transcapillary loss across central nervous system capillaries. The drug exposure integral (C × t) of ACNU in the CSF after a “toxic dose low” of 0.8 mg in the dogs would achieve the equivalent of in vitro cell kills in excess of 3 logs for rat 9L and human glioma 126 cells. As a potential therapeutic agent for meningeal neoplasia, the major limiting factor may be that the CSF elimination of ACNU is rapid compared to its equilibration time from ventricle to spinal- and cerebral convexity-subarachnoid space. Based on these results, we have instituted clinical Phase I trials of intra-CSF ACNU.


Supported in part by Department of Health, Education and Welfare Grants CA-30571 and CA-13525 and a gift from Phi Beta Psi Sorority.

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