The Effect of Phenobarbital on Cyclophosphamide Antitumor Activity

David S. Alberts, Theodoor van Daalen Wetters

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

42 Scopus citations


We have used the spleen colony assay system and survival duration studies in male DBA/2 mice with P388 leukemia to study the effects of microsomal enzyme induction by phenobarbital on the antileukemic activity and bone marrow toxicity of cyclophosphamide. Phenobarbital drinking water (0.5 mg/ml) was given for 7 days prior to cyclophosphamide (10 to 200 mg/kg i.p.). Average daily phenobarbital intake per mouse was 1.25 mg (equivalent to 4 mg/kg/day human dosage). Dose-response curves with and without phenobarbital pretreatment showed a constant 90% (1-log) reduction in the toxicity of cyclophosphamide to leukemic colony-forming units, whereas enzyme induction had no effect on the toxicity of the drug to normal bone marrow colony-forming units. Parallel survival studies confirmed the 1-log diminution in the antileukemic activity of cyclophosphamide in phenobarbital-pretreated mice. This phenobarbital-induced change in the antitumor activity of cyclophosphamide appears explainable on a pharmacokinetic basis. The Friedman and Boger assay for plasma alkylating metabolites showed that the reduction in the area under the plasma metabolite curve caused by enzyme induction exactly predicted the observed reduction in cyclophosphamide antitumor effect.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2785-2789
Number of pages5
JournalCancer Research
Issue number8
StatePublished - Aug 1976

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research


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