Extended thiopurine metabolite assessment during 6-thioguanine therapy for immunomodulation in crohn's disease

N. K.H. De Boer, L. J.J. Derijks, J. J. Keizer-Garritsen, L. H.J. Lambooy, W. Ruitenbeek, P. M. Hooymans, A. A. Van Bodegraven, D. J. De Jong

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The proposed metabolic advantage of 6-thioguanine (6-TG) is the direct conversion into the pharmacologically active 6-thioguaninenucleotides (6-TGN). The authors assessed metabolic characteristics of 6-TG treatment in patients with Crohn's disease (N= 7) on therapy with 20 mg 6-TG. 6-thioguanine- monophosphate (6-TGMP), 6-thioguanine-diphosphate (6-TGDP), and 6-thioguanine-triphosphate (6-TGTP) were measured by high-performance liquid chromatography analysis in erythrocytes. Thiopurine S-methyltransferase activity and total 6-TGN levels were determined by standard methods. High interindividual variance in metabolite measurements was observed. Main metabolites were 6-TGTP (median = 531 pmol/8 × 108 red blood cells) and 6-TGDP (median = 199 pmol/8 × 108 red blood cells). Traces of 6-TGMP (median = 39 pmol/8 × 108 red blood cells) and 6-TG (2 patients) could be detected. 6-TGN levels correlated with 6-TGTP levels (r = 0.929, P =.003) and with the sum of separate nucleotides (r = 0.929, P =.003). No correlations were established between TPMT activity (median = 13 pmol/h/107) and 6-TG metabolites. The 1-step metabolism of 6-TG still leads to high interindividual variance in metabolite concentrations. Total 6-TGN level monitoring may suffice for clinical practice.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)187-191
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of clinical pharmacology
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Feb 2007


  • 6-Thioguanine
  • 6-thioguaninenucleotides
  • Crohn's disease
  • Metabolism
  • Pharmacology
  • TPMT
  • Thiopurine

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