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Afinitor (Everolimus) - Description and Clinical Pharmacology



AFINITOR (everolimus), an inhibitor of mTOR, is an antineoplastic agent.

The chemical name of everolimus is (1R,9S,12S,15R,16E,18R,19R,21R,23S,24E,26E,28E,30S,32S,35R)-1,18- dihydroxy-12-{(1R)-2-[(1S,3R,4R)-4-(2-hydroxyethoxy)-3-methoxycyclohexyl]-1-methylethyl}-19,30-dimethoxy-15,17,21,23,29,35-hexamethyl-11,36-dioxa-4-aza-tricyclo[,9]hexatriaconta-16,24,26,28-tetraene-2,3,10,14,20-pentaone.

The molecular formula is C53H83NO14 and the molecular weight is 958.2. The structural formula is

AFINITOR is supplied as tablets for oral administration containing 5 mg and 10 mg of everolimus together with butylated hydroxytoluene, magnesium stearate, lactose monohydrate, hypromellose, crospovidone and lactose anhydrous as inactive ingredients.


Mechanism of Action

Everolimus is an inhibitor of mTOR (mammalian target of rapamycin), a serine-threonine kinase, downstream of the PI3K/AKT pathway. The mTOR pathway is dysregulated in several human cancers. Everolimus binds to an intracellular protein, FKBP-12, resulting in an inhibitory complex formation and inhibition of mTOR kinase activity. Everolimus reduced the activity of S6 ribosomal protein kinase (S6K1) and eukaryotic elongation factor 4E-binding protein (4E-BP), downstream effectors of mTOR, involved in protein synthesis. In addition, everolimus inhibited the expression of hypoxia-inducible factor (e.g., HIF-1) and reduced the expression of vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF). Inhibition of mTOR by everolimus has been shown to reduce cell proliferation, angiogenesis, and glucose uptake in in vitro and/or in vivo   studies.


QT/QTc P rolongation P otential

In a randomized, placebo-controlled, crossover study, 59 healthy subjects were administered a single oral dose of AFINITOR (20 mg and 50 mg) and placebo. There is no indication of a QT/QTc prolonging effect of AFINITOR in single doses up to 50 mg.

Exposure Response R elationships

Markers of protein synthesis show that inhibition of mTOR is complete after a 10 mg daily dose.



In patients with advanced solid tumors, peak everolimus concentrations are reached 1 to 2 hours after administration of oral doses ranging from 5 mg to 70 mg. Following single doses, Cmax is dose-proportional between 5 mg and 10 mg. At doses of 20 mg and higher, the increase in Cmax is less than dose-proportional, however AUC shows dose-proportionality over the 5 mg to 70 mg dose range. Steady-state was achieved within two weeks following once-daily dosing.

Food effect: Based on data in healthy subjects taking 1 mg everolimus tablets, a high-fat meal reduced Cmax and AUC by 60% and 16%, respectively. No data are available with AFINITOR 5 mg and 10 mg tablets.


The blood-to-plasma ratio of everolimus, which is concentration-dependent over the range of 5 to 5000 ng/mL, is 17% to 73%. The amount of everolimus confined to the plasma is approximately 20% at blood concentrations observed in cancer patients given AFINITOR 10 mg/day. Plasma protein binding is approximately 74% both in healthy subjects and in patients with moderate hepatic impairment.


Everolimus is a substrate of CYP3A4 and PgP. Following oral administration, everolimus is the main circulating component in human blood. Six main metabolites of everolimus have been detected in human blood, including three monohydroxylated metabolites, two hydrolytic ring-opened products, and a phosphatidylcholine conjugate of everolimus. These metabolites were also identified in animal species used in toxicity studies, and showed approximately 100-times less activity than everolimus itself.

In vitro, everolimus competitively inhibited the metabolism of CYP3A4 and was a mixed inhibitor of the CYP2D6 substrate dextromethorphan. The mean steady-state Cmax following an oral dose of 10 mg daily is more than 12-fold below the Ki-values of the in vitro inhibition. Therefore, an effect of everolimus on the metabolism of CYP3A4 and CYP2D6 substrates is unlikely.


No specific excretion studies have been undertaken in cancer patients. Following the administration of a 3 mg single dose of radiolabelled everolimus in patients who were receiving cyclosporine, 80% of the radioactivity was recovered from the feces, while 5% was excreted in the urine. The parent substance was not detected in urine or feces. The mean elimination half-life of everolimus is approximately 30 hours.

Patients with Renal I mpairment

Approximately 5% of total radioactivity was excreted in the urine following a 3 mg dose of [14C]-labeled everolimus. In a population pharmacokinetic analysis which included 170 patients with advanced cancer, no significant influence of creatinine clearance (25 – 178 mL/min) was detected on oral clearance (CL/F) of everolimus  [see Use in Specific Populations].

Patients with Hepatic I mpairment

The average AUC of everolimus in eight subjects with moderate hepatic impairment (Child-Pugh class B) was twice that found in eight subjects with normal hepatic function. AUC was positively correlated with serum bilirubin concentration and with prolongation of prothrombin time and negatively correlated with serum albumin concentration. A dose reduction for patients with Child-Pugh class B hepatic impairment is recommended. AFINITOR should not be used in patients with severe (Child-Pugh class C) hepatic impairment as the impact of severe hepatic impairment on everolimus exposure has not been assessed  [see Dosage and Administration ,   Warnings and Precautions (5.6) and Use in Specific Populations (8.7) ].

Effects of A ge and G ender

In a population pharmacokinetic evaluation in cancer patients, no relationship was apparent between oral clearance and patient age or gender.


Based on a cross-study comparison, Japanese patients (n = 6) had on average exposures that were higher than non-Japanese patients receiving the same dose.

Based on analysis of population pharmacokinetics, oral clearance (CL/F) is on average 20% higher in Black patients than in Caucasians.

The significance of these differences on the safety and efficacy of everolimus in Japanese or Black patients has not been established.


Carcinogenesis, M utagenesis, I mpairment of Fe rtility

Administration of everolimus for up to 2 years did not indicate oncogenic potential in mice and rats up to the highest doses tested (0.9 mg/kg) corresponding respectively to 4.3 and 0.2 times the estimated clinical exposure (AUC0-24h) at the recommended human dose of 10 mg daily.

Everolimus was not genotoxic in a battery of in vitro assays (Ames mutation test in Salmonella, mutation test in L5178Y mouse lymphoma cells, and chromosome aberration assay in V79 Chinese hamster cells). Everolimus was not genotoxic in an in vivo mouse bone marrow micronucleus test at doses up to 500 mg/kg/day (1500 mg/m2/day, approximately 255-fold the recommended human dose, based on the body surface area), administered as two doses, 24 hours apart.

Based on non-clinical findings, male fertility may be compromised by treatment with AFINITOR. In a 13-week male fertility study in rats, testicular morphology was affected at 0.5 mg/kg and above, and sperm motility, sperm count, and plasma testosterone levels were diminished at 5 mg/kg, which resulted in infertility at 5 mg/kg. Effects on male fertility occurred at the AUC0-24h values below that of therapeutic exposure (approximately 10%-81% of the AUC0-24h in patients receiving the recommended dose of 10 mg daily). After a 10-13 week non-treatment period, the fertility index increased from zero (infertility) to 60% (12/20 mated females were pregnant).

Oral doses of everolimus in female rats at ≥ 0.1 mg/kg (approximately 4% the AUC0-24h in patients receiving the recommended dose of 10 mg daily) resulted in increases in pre-implantation loss, suggesting that the drug may reduce female fertility. Everolimus crossed the placenta and was toxic to the conceptus [see Use in Specific Populations].


An international, multicenter, randomized, double-blind trial comparing AFINITOR 10 mg daily and placebo, both in conjunction with best supportive care, was conducted in patients with metastatic renal cell carcinoma whose disease had progressed despite prior treatment with sunitinib, sorafenib, or both sequentially. Prior therapy with bevacizumab, interleukin 2, or interferon-α was also permitted. Randomization was stratified according to prognostic score1 and prior anticancer therapy.

Progression-free survival (PFS), documented using RECIST (Response Evaluation Criteria in Solid Tumors) was assessed via a blinded, independent, central radiologic review. After documented radiological progression, patients could be unblinded by the investigator: those randomized to placebo were then able to receive open-label AFINITOR 10 mg daily. 

In total, 416 patients were randomized 2:1 to receive AFINITOR (n=277) or placebo (n=139). Demographics were well balanced between the two arms (median age 61 years; 77% male, 88% Caucasian, 74% received prior sunitinib or sorafenib, and 26% received both sequentially).

AFINITOR was superior to placebo for progression-free survival (see Table 3 and Figure 1). The treatment effect was similar across prognostic scores and prior sorafenib and/or sunitinib. The overall survival (OS) results were not mature and 32% of patients had died by the time of cut-off.

Table 3      Efficacy Results by Central Radiologic Review
Hazard R atio
p-value a
Median P rogression- free S urvival
(95% CI)
4.9 months
(4.0 to 5.5)
1.9 months
(1.8 to 1.9)
(0.25 to 0.43)
Objective R esponse R ate 2%0%n/a bn/a b
a Log-rank test stratified by prognostic score.
b Not applicable.

Figure 1      	Kaplan-Meier Progression-free Survival Curves

Figure 1      Kaplan-Meier Progression-free Survival Curves

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