Covariate pharmacokinetic model building in oncology and its potential clinical relevance
Journal Paper/Review - Jan 25, 2012
When modeling pharmacokinetic (PK) data, identifying covariates is important in explaining interindividual variability, and thus increasing the predictive value of the model. Nonlinear mixed-effects modeling with stepwise covariate modeling is frequently used to build structural covariate models, and the most commonly used software-NONMEM-provides estimations for the fixed-effect parameters (e.g., drug clearance), interindividual and residual unidentified random effects. The aim of covariate modeling is not only to find covariates that significantly influence the population PK parameters, but also to provide dosing recommendations for a certain drug under different conditions, e.g., organ dysfunction, combination chemotherapy. A true covariate is usually seen as one that carries unique information on a structural model parameter. Covariate models have improved our understanding of the pharmacology of many anticancer drugs, including busulfan or melphalan that are part of high-dose pretransplant treatments, the antifolate methotrexate whose elimination is strongly dependent on GFR and comedication, the taxanes and tyrosine kinase inhibitors, the latter being subject of cytochrome p450 3A4 (CYP3A4) associated metabolism. The purpose of this review article is to provide a tool to help understand population covariate analysis and their potential implications for the clinic. Accordingly, several population covariate models are listed, and their clinical relevance is discussed. The target audience of this article are clinical oncologists with a special interest in clinical and mathematical pharmacology.