High plasma levels and effective lymphatic uptake of docetaxel in an orally available nanotransporter formulation

Taher Nassar, Suha Attili-Qadri, Oshrat Harush-Frenkel, Shimon Farber, Shimon Lecht, Philip Lazarovici, Simon Benita*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

36 Scopus citations


Docetaxel, an efficient chemotherapeutic drug, exhibits low and variable oral bioavailability due to the active efflux by P-glycoprotein (P-gp) and more so to CYP3A4 gut metabolism. Using a spray-drying technique, docetaxel was incorporated in PLGA [poly(lactic-co-glycolic acid)] nanocapsules (NC) which were embedded in entero-coated microparticles. An oral administration of the NC formulation elicited a higher absolute bioavailability than both a docetaxel solution (276%) and a free docetaxel NC formulation (400%) injected intravenously, a 5-mg/kg dose. The batches (B) I and II NC formulations elicited Cmax values that were 1,735% and 2,254%, respectively; higher than the Cmax value of the oral docetaxel solution combined with blank microparticles, a 10-mg/kg dose. No significant difference in AUC (area under curve) was observed between the batches. These unexpected results can be explained only if the pharmacokinetics of docetaxel had been modified. It was shown that NCs released from the microparticles penetrated the enterocytes, bypassing P-gp; apparently circumventing gut metabolism and accumulating within the lymphatic system from where both intact or biodegraded NCs and free docetaxel were progressively released into the circulation as plausibly supported by the fluorescent imaging results. Furthermore, the circulating docetaxel in plasma was unencapsulated and circulated either in free form or bound to albumin. Both free docetaxel NCs and microparticles exhibited in vitro efficacy on WRC 256 cells suggesting that the activity of docetaxel was not altered. This delivery concept has potential for clinical translation, perhaps allowing docetaxel chemotherapy to be switched from intravenous to oral delivery.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)3018-3028
Number of pages11
JournalCancer Research
Issue number8
StatePublished - 15 Apr 2011


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