Anticancer Drugs Gefitinib Oncology Pharmacology Physiotherapy

Gefitinib (Mechanism of Action)

In this article we will discuss Gefitinib (Mechanism of Action)

In this article, we will discuss Gefitinib (Mechanism of Action). So, let’s get started.


Gefitinib contain 250 mg of gefitinib and are available as brown film-coated tablets for daily oral administration. Gefitinib is an anilinoquinazoline with the chemical name 4-Quinazolinamine, N-(3-chloro-4-fluorophenyl)-7-methoxy-6-[3-4-morpholin) propoxy]. It has the molecular formula C22H24CIFN4O3, a relative molecular mass of 446.9 and is a white-colored powder. Gefitinib is a free base. The molecule has pKas of 5.4 and 7.2 and therefore ionizes progressively in solution as the pH falls. Gefitinib can be defined as sparingly soluble at pH 1, but is practically insoluble above pH 7, with the solubility dropping sharply between pH 4 and pH 6. In non-aqueous solvents, gefitinib is freely soluble in glacial acetic acid and dimethylsulphoxide, soluble in pyridine, sparingly soluble in tetrahydrofuran, and slightly soluble in methanol, ethanol (99.5%), ethyl acetate, propan-2-ol and acetonitrile.

The inactive ingredients of Gefitinib (IRESSA®) tablets are: Tablet core: Lactose monohydrate, microcrystalline cellulose, croscarmellose sodium, povidone, sodium lauryl sulfate and
magnesium stearate. Coating: Hydroxypropyl methylcellulose, polyethylene glycol 300, titanium dioxide, red ferric oxide and yellow ferric oxide.

Mechanism of Action

The mechanism of the clinical antitumor action of gefitinib is not fully characterized. Gefitinib inhibits the intracellular phosphorylation of numerous tyrosine kinases associated with transmembrane cell surface receptors, including the tyrosine kinases associated with the epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR-TK). EGFR is expressed on the cell surface of many normal cells and cancer cells. No clinical studies have been performed that demonstrate a correlation between EGFR receptor expression and response to gefitinib.


Gefitinib is absorbed slowly after oral administration with mean bioavailability of 60%. Elimination is by metabolism (primarily CYP 3A4) and excretion in feces. The elimination half-life is about 48 hours. Daily oral administration of gefitinib to cancer patients resulted in a 2-fold accumulation compared to single dose administration. Steady state plasma concentrations are achieved within 10 days.

Absorption and Distribution:

Gefitinib is slowly absorbed, with peak plasma levels occurring 3-7 hours after dosing and mean oral bioavailability of 60%. Bioavailability is not significantly altered by food. Gefitinib is extensively distributed throughout the body with a mean steady state volume of distribution of 1400 L following intravenous administration. In vitro binding of gefitinib to human plasma proteins (serum albumin and ╬▒1-acid glycoprotein) is 90% and is independent of drug concentrations.

Metabolism and Elimination:

Gefitinib undergoes extensive hepatic metabolism in humans, predominantly by CYP3A4. Three sites of biotransformation have been identified: metabolism of the N-
propoxymorpholino-group, demethylation of the methoxy-substituent on the quinazoline, and oxidative defluorination of the halogenated phenyl group.

Five metabolites were identified in human plasma. Only O-desmethyl gefitinib has exposure comparable to gefitinib. Although this metabolite has similar EGFR-TK activity to gefitinib in the isolated enzyme assay, it had only 1/14 of the potency of gefitinib in one of the cell-based assays.

Gefitinib is cleared primarily by the liver, with total plasma clearance and elimination half-life values of 595 mL/min and 48 hours, respectively, after intravenous administration. Excretion
is predominantly via the feces (86%), with renal elimination of drug and metabolites accounting for less than 4% of the administered dose.

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