Turmeric is one of the most used herbal supplements among cancer patients. It reportedly modulates the function of CYP450 enzymes and drug transporters. This study investigates the effect of turmeric on the pharmacokinetics of paclitaxel in breast cancer patients. This is a prospective longitudinal study with 60 breast cancer patients on treatment with single-agent paclitaxel and turmeric. The patients were followed up for two consecutive chemotherapy cycles, and their blood samples were collected, first without turmeric (first cycle) and the next after a 21-day concomitant administration of 2 g/day turmeric (second cycle). Plasma samples were quantified for paclitaxel concentration using High Performance Liquid Chromatograph with UV detector (HPLC-UV) method. The sparse concentration-time data of paclitaxel were subjected to population pharmacokinetic modeling, and then noncompartmental analysis (NCA) was performed on the simulated data to estimate the pharmacokinetic parameters of paclitaxel, before and after turmeric supplementation, for comparisons. The population pharmacokinetic parameters of paclitaxel differed from before to after turmeric supplementation. NCA of simulated concentration-time profiles showed a statistically significant reduction of 7.7% and 12.1% in AUCinf and Cmax, respectively. Given the small magnitude of the changes in pharmacokinetic parameters, the observed changes are not clinically relevant. Thereby, turmeric at the recommended dose can be combined safely with paclitaxel.
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