Skin ulceration potential without therapeutic anticancer activity for epipodophyllotoxin commercial diluents

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10 Scopus citations


The epipodophyllotoxin derivatives, etoposide (VP-16) and teniposide (VM-26), are highly lipophilic anticancer drugs supplied with novel commercial solvent systems. A BALB/c mouse skin toxicity model was used to evaluate the ulcerative potential of intradermal (ID) VP-16 and its lipophilic solvent system along with the main ingredient of the VM-26 solvent, polyethoxylated castor oil (PECO). ID VP-16 caused dose-dependent ulceration following 0.17 mg, 0.33 mg (50 mg/M2) or 1.0 mg (150 mg/M2). Both normal saline (0.05 ml ID) and hyaluronidase (7.5 u ID) were effective as local VP-16 antidotes, presumably by diluting out the extravasated drug. The VP-16 solvent alone was as toxic as the 1.0 mg (undiluted) ID VP-16 injection. ID PECO was mildly ulcerative in mouse skin. When given to P-388 lymphocytic leukemia-bearing mice, both VP-16 (24 mg/kg IP for 3 doses) and VM-26 (8 mg/kg IP for 2 doses) were active, producing increased life spans (ILS) of 160% and 90%, respectively. The solvents, given IP at the same schedule, did not increase or decrease the life span of tumor-bearing mice, but did increase morbidity. In an in vitro human tumor clonogenic assay (WiDr colon carcinoma and HEC-1A endometrial carcinoma in soft agar), both VP-16 and VM-26 showed moderate to complete inhibition of tumor colony forming units (TCFUs) by continuous exposure. 1-h drug exposures were marginally active at reducing TCFUs. None of the epipodohyllotoxin diluents at clinical concentrations reduced TCFUs. At very high concentrations, both epipodophyllotoxins were cytotoxic. They were more effective at reducing TCFUs when plated as a continuous exposure rather than a 1-h exposure.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)151-159
Number of pages9
JournalInvestigational New Drugs
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jun 1983


  • epipodophyllotoxin
  • etoposide
  • skin ulceration
  • teniposide

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Pharmacology
  • Pharmacology (medical)


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