In Sarcoma 180 and L1210 ascites tumor models, the initial rate of methotrexate accumulation in tumor cells in the peritoneal cavity and in small intestine (intracellularly) after s.c. doses up to 800 mg/kg, showed saturation kinetics. These results and the fact that initial uptake in these tissues within this dosage range was inhibited to the expected relative extent by the simultaneous administration of leucovorin suggest that carrier mediation and not passive diffusion is the major route of drug entry at these extremely high doses. Maximum accumulation of intracellular drug occurred within 2 hr and reached much higher levels in small intestine than in tumor cells at the higher dosages. At a 3-mg/kg dose of methotrexate s.c., intracellular exchangeable drug levels persisted more than four times longer in L1210 cells than in small intestine, but differences in persistence (L1210 cell versus gut) diminished markedly with increasing dosage. At 96 mg/kg, the difference in persistence was less than 2-fold.

In small intestine and L1210 cells, the duration of inhibition of DNA synthesis at different dosages correlated with the extent to which exchangeable drug was retained. Toxic deaths occurred when inhibition in small intestine lasted longer than 25 to 30 hr. Recovery of synthesis in small intestine and L1210 cells occurred synchronously and only below dosages of 400 mg/kg. Within 24 hr after dosages of >24 mg/kg, the rate of tumor cell loss increased to a point characterized by a single exponential (t1/2 = 8.5 hr). The total cell loss, but not the rate of cell loss, was dose dependent.


Supported in part by Grants CA-08748 and RO 1-CA-16153 from the National Cancer Institute and Grant 132A from the American Cancer Society.

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