Therapeutic Drug Monitoring of Oral Anti-Hormonal Drugs in Oncology

Stefanie L. Groenland, Merel van Nuland, Remy B. Verheijen, Jan H.M. Schellens, Jos H. Beijnen, Alwin D.R. Huitema, Neeltje Steeghs

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

39 Citations (Scopus)


Oral anti-hormonal drugs are essential in the treatment of breast and prostate cancer. It is well known that the interpatient variability in pharmacokinetic exposure is high for these agents and exposure–response relationships exist for many oral anti-hormonal drugs. Yet, they are still administered at fixed doses. This could lead to underdosing and thus suboptimal efficacy in some patients, while other patients could be overdosed resulting in unnecessary side effects. Therapeutic drug monitoring (TDM), individualized dosing based on measured blood concentrations of the drug, could therefore be a valid option to further optimize treatment. In this review, we provide an overview of relevant clinical pharmacokinetic and pharmacodynamic characteristics of oral anti-hormonal drugs in oncology and translate these into practical guidelines for TDM. For some agents, TDM targets are not well established yet and as a reference the median pharmacokinetic exposure could be targeted (exemestane: minimum plasma concentration (C min ) 4.1 ng/mL and enzalutamide: C min 11.4 mg/L). However, for most drugs, exposure–efficacy analyses could be translated into specific targets (abiraterone: C min 8.4 ng/mL, anastrozole: C min 34.2 ng/mL, and letrozole: C min 85.6 ng/mL). Moreover, prospective clinical trials have shown TDM to be feasible for tamoxifen, for which the exposure–efficacy threshold of its active metabolite endoxifen is 5.97 ng/mL. Based on the available data, we therefore conclude that individualized dosing based on drug concentrations is feasible and promising for oral anti-hormonal drugs and should be developed further and implemented into clinical practice.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)299-308
Number of pages10
JournalClinical Pharmacokinetics
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 5 Mar 2019
Externally publishedYes


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