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U Arshad, M Taubert, M Kurlbaum, S Frechen, S Herterich, F Megerle, S Hamacher, M Fassnacht, U Fuhr and M Kroiss


Mitotane is used for the treatment of adrenocortical carcinoma. High oral daily doses of typically 1–6 g are required to attain therapeutic concentrations. The drug has a narrow therapeutic index and patient management is difficult because of a high volume of distribution, very long elimination half-life and drug interaction through induction of metabolizing enzymes. The present evaluation aimed at the development of a population pharmacokinetic model of mitotane to facilitate therapeutic drug monitoring (TDM).


Appropriate dosing information, plasma concentrations (1137 data points) and covariates were available from TDM of 76 adrenocortical carcinoma patients treated with mitotane. Using nonlinear mixed-effects modeling, a simple structural model was first developed, with subsequent introduction of metabolic autoinduction. Covariate data were analyzed to improve overall model predictability. Simulations were performed to assess the attainment of therapeutic concentrations with clinical dosing schedules.


A one-compartment pharmacokinetic model with first order absorption was found suitable to describe the data, with an estimated central volume of distribution of 6086 L related to a high interindividual variability of 81.5%. Increase in clearance of mitotane during treatment could be modeled by a linear enzyme autoinduction process. BMI was found to have an influence upon disposition kinetics of mitotane. Model simulations favor a high-dose regimen to rapidly attain therapeutic concentrations, with the first TDM suggested on day 16 of treatment to avoid systemic toxicity.


The proposed model describes mitotane pharmacokinetics and can be used to facilitate therapy by predicting plasma concentrations.

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Guido Di Dalmazi, Marcus Quinkler, Timo Deutschbein, Cornelia Prehn, Nada Rayes, Matthias Kroiss, Christina M Berr, Günter Stalla, Martin Fassnacht, Jerzy Adamski, Martin Reincke and Felix Beuschlein


Endogenous hypercortisolism is a chronic condition associated with severe metabolic disturbances and cardiovascular sequela. The aim of this study was to characterize metabolic alterations in patients with different degrees of hypercortisolism by mass-spectrometry-based targeted plasma metabolomic profiling and correlate the metabolomic profile with clinical and hormonal data.


Cross-sectional study.


Subjects (n = 149) were classified according to clinical and hormonal characteristics: Cushing’s syndrome (n = 46), adrenocortical adenomas with autonomous cortisol secretion (n = 31) or without hypercortisolism (n = 27). Subjects with suspicion of hypercortisolism, but normal hormonal/imaging testing, served as controls (n = 42). Clinical and hormonal data were retrieved for all patients and targeted metabolomic profiling was performed.


Patients with hypercortisolism showed lower levels of short-/medium-chain acylcarnitines and branched-chain and aromatic amino acids, but higher polyamines levels, in comparison to controls. These alterations were confirmed after excluding diabetic patients. Regression models showed significant correlation between cortisol after dexamethasone suppression test (DST) and 31 metabolites, independently of confounding/contributing factors. Among those, histidine and spermidine were also significantly associated with catabolic signs and symptoms of hypercortisolism. According to an discriminant analysis, the panel of metabolites was able to correctly classify subjects into the main diagnostic categories and to distinguish between subjects with/without altered post-DST cortisol and with/without diabetes in >80% of the cases.


Metabolomic profiling revealed alterations of intermediate metabolism independently associated with the severity of hypercortisolism, consistent with disturbed protein synthesis/catabolism and incomplete β-oxidation, providing evidence for the occurrence of metabolic inflexibility in hypercortisolism.

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M Terzolo, A E Baudin, A Ardito, M Kroiss, S Leboulleux, F Daffara, P Perotti, R A Feelders, J H deVries, B Zaggia, S De Francia, M Volante, H R Haak, B Allolio, A Al Ghuzlan, M Fassnacht and A Berruti


Mitotane plasma concentrations ≥14 mg/l have been shown to predict tumor response and better survival in patients with advanced adrenocortical carcinoma (ACC). A correlation between mitotane concentrations and patient outcome has not been demonstrated in an adjuvant setting.


To compare recurrence-free survival (RFS) in patients who reached and maintained mitotane concentrations ≥14 mg/l vs patients who did not.

Design and setting

Retrospective analysis at six referral European centers.


Patients with ACC who were radically resected between 1995 and 2009 and were treated adjuvantly with mitotane targeting concentrations of 14–20 mg/l.

Main outcome measures

RFS (primary) and overall survival (secondary).


Of the 122 patients included, 63 patients (52%) reached and maintained during a median follow-up of 36 months the target mitotane concentrations (group 1) and 59 patients (48%) did not (group 2). ACC recurrence was observed in 22 patients of group 1 (35%) and 36 patients in group 2 (61%). In multivariable analysis, the maintenance of target mitotane concentrations was associated with a significantly prolonged RFS (hazard ratio (HR) of recurrence: 0.418, 0.22–0.79; P=0.007), while the risk of death was not significantly altered (HR: 0.59, 0.26–1.34; P=0.20). Grades 3–4 toxicity was observed in 11 patients (9%) and was managed with temporary mitotane discontinuation. None of the patients discontinued mitotane definitively for toxicity.


Mitotane concentrations ≥14 mg/l predict response to adjuvant treatment being associated with a prolonged RFS. A monitored adjuvant mitotane treatment may benefit patients after radical removal of ACC.