Busulfan is the only agent used in myeloablative regimens for hematopoietic stem cell transplantation for which therapeutic drug monitoring (TDM) has been widely used. Studies of oral busulfan (Bu) indicate wide intrapatient and interpatient variations in pharmacokinetic (PK) behavior, particularly in children. Dose adjustments of oral Bu based on TDM to bring exposures within established therapeutic ranges have been shown to reduce toxicity and improve outcomes. Intravenous (IV) Bu is becoming more widely used and has much more predictable PK. Outcomes with IV Bu appear to be superior to those achieved using oral Bu without TDM. However there is still at least a threefold variation in exposures achieved by the same dose of IV Bu in different individuals and a small proportion of patients will experience toxic exposures with current dosing regimens. Therapeutic monitoring with appropriate dose adjustment is therefore recommended for all patients treated with regimens containing high doses of Bu. Giving IV Bu at a fixed rate to adults will narrow the range of exposures but more work is needed to establish the best dosing regimen to bring as many exposures as possible within the target range. Studies of test dosing of IV Bu show that this strategy is more accurate when test and treatment doses are infused at the same rate. Finally, targeting exposures to the upper end of the therapeutic range may provide a safe approach to exploiting dose-intensity for the treatment of some malignancies.
Keywords: Busulfan, hematopoietic stem cell (HSCs), therapeutic drug monitoring (TDM), Intravenous (IV) Bu, malignancies
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