At the early stage of drug discovery, thousands of new chemical entities (NCEs) may be screened before a single candidate can be identified for development. Determining the role of CYP enzymes in the metabolism of a compound and evaluating the effect of NCEs on human CYP activities are key issues in pharmaceutical development as they may explain inter-subject variability, drug-drug interactions, non-linear pharmacokinetics and toxic effects. Reliable methods for determining enzyme activities are needed to characterize an individual CYP enzyme and to obtain a tool for the evaluation of its role in drug metabolism in humans. Different liquid chromatography tandem mass spectrometry methodologies have been developed for the fast and routine analysis of major in vivo and in vitro CYPs enzyme activities. The high sensitivity and selectivity of mass spectrometry allow traditional assays to be minimized, thus saving time, efforts and money. Therefore this technology has become the method of choice for the fast assessment of CYP enzyme activities in early drug discovery development. Our intention herein is to review the most recent approaches that have been developed to quickly assess CYPs activities using in vitro models and liquid chromatography coupled with mass spectrometry, as well as their application in early drug discovery.
Keywords: HPLC-MS/MS, CYP activities, mass spectrometry, ADME, HTS, substrates cocktail
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