Preclinical assessment of the interactions between the antiretroviral drugs, ritonavir and efavirenz, and the tyrosine kinase inhibitor erlotinib

John F. Deeken, Jan H. Beumer, Nicole M. Anders, Teresia Wanjiku, Milan Rusnak, Michelle A. Rudek

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Scopus citations


Purpose: Prevalence of non-AIDS-defining cancers (NADCs) has increased in the era of potent antiretroviral treatments. Incidence rates of NADCs now exceed AIDS-defining cancers in HIV-positive patients. Treatment of NADCs may be complicated by interactions between antiretrovirals and chemotherapy mostly via inhibition or induction of CYP3A4. Erlotinib is used to treat non-small cell lung and pancreatic cancer and is primarily metabolized by CYP3A4 into multiple products including the active metabolite (OSI-420). Preclinical in vivo assessment was performed to gain a better understanding of CYP3A4-mediated interactions between antiretrovirals and erlotinib. Methods: Erlotinib (50 mg/kg p.o.) was administered to male FVB mice in the presence and absence of dexamethasone (10 mg/kg p.o. QDx4), efavirenz (25 mg/kg p.o. QDx4), ketoconazole (50 mg/kg p.o.), or ritonavir (12.5 mg/kg p.o.). Blood samples were collected to characterize exposure (AUC). Results: Administration of erlotinib with CYP3A4 inducers (dexamethasone) and inhibitors (ketoconazole and ritonavir) resulted in significant alterations in erlotinib exposure. Ketoconazole and ritonavir resulted in a 1.7- and 3.0-fold increase in erlotinib AUC, respectively, while dexamethasone results in a 0.6-fold decrease in erlotinib AUC. The CYP3A4 inducer efavirenz did not have a significant effect on erlotinib exposure. Conclusion: CYP3A4 inducers and inhibitors altered the exposure of erlotinib. Until a definitive clinical trial is performed, erlotinib should be used with caution in patients on a ritonavir-containing antiretroviral regimen, while standard doses may be appropriate for patients on an efavirenz-containing antiretroviral regimen.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)813-819
Number of pages7
JournalCancer Chemotherapy and Pharmacology
Issue number4
StatePublished - Oct 22 2015


  • AIDS
  • Drug interaction
  • Efavirenz
  • Erlotinib
  • Ritonavir

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Toxicology
  • Pharmacology
  • Cancer Research
  • Pharmacology (medical)


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