Plasma kinetics of oral retinol in cancer patients

G. E. Goodman, D. S. Alberts, Y. M. Peng, J. Beaudry, S. A. Leigh, T. E. Moon

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Scopus citations


Concurrent with a phase I trial of retinol in patients with advanced cancer, we studied the plasma kinetics of both retinol and its major metabolites, retinyl palmitate and retinyl stearate. Retinol was administered to 12 patients in daily oral doses of 60,000, 100,000, 150,000, or 200,000 units/m2. Patients remained on treatment until the development of dose-limiting toxic effects or disease progression. Retinoid plasma kinetics were studied on the first day of treatment, at Weeks 2 and 4, and every 2-3 months thereafter as long as the patient remained on therapy. A high-performance liquid chromatography assay was used to quantitate the plasma concentration of both retinol and its fatty acid esters. There was no significant change in the plasma retinol concentration up to 24 hours after a single oral dose of retinol (P > 0.05). However, the plasma concentration of retinyl palmitate and retinyl stearate markedly increased with a mean time to peak plasma concentration of 4.3 ± 0.7 hours. Retinyl palmitate rapidly disappeared from the plasma with an initial phase half-life of 2.2 ± 0.9 hours. The terminal phase half-life appeared prolonged and could not be accurately determined. Retinyl stearate was detected in the plasma of all patients with plasma concentrations paralleling and ranging from 20% to 40% those of retinyl palmitate. With prolonged retinol administration, peak plasma retinyl palmitate concentrations increased with both increasing retinol dose (P < 0.001) and increasing duration of treatment (P = 0.001). In three patients with low pretreatment plasma retinol concentrations, daily retinol administration was associated with a rise in plasma retinol concentration. Because only one patient developed serious toxic effects and all patients had markedly increased plasma concentrations of retinyl esters, no conclusion could be made about the relationship between plasma retinyl ester concentration and retinol toxicity.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1125-1133
Number of pages9
JournalCancer Treatment Reports
Issue number9
StatePublished - 1984

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research


Dive into the research topics of 'Plasma kinetics of oral retinol in cancer patients'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this