Preclinical and clinical study of QC12, a water soluble prodrug of quercetin

Paul Mulholland, David Ferry, David Anderson, Syed Hussain, Annie Young, JE Cook, Elizabeth Hodgkins, Leonard Seymour, David Kerr

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

130 Citations (Scopus)


Background: Quercetin is a naturally occurring flavonoid with many biological activities including inhibition of a number of tyrosine kinases. A phase I, dose-escalation trial of quercetin defined the maximum tolerated dose (MTD) as 1700 mg/m(2) three weekly, but the vehicle, dimethyl sulphoxide (DMSO) is unsuitable for further clinical development of quercetin. Patients and methods: A water-soluble, pro-drug of quercetin (3'(N-carboxymethyl)carbomyl-3,4',5,7-tetrahydroxyflavone), QC12 has been synthesised. Six cancer patients received 400 mg of QC12 (equivalent to 298 mg of quercetin), orally on day 1 and intravenously (i.v.) in normal saline on day 14. Results: Following oral administration of QC12 we were unable to detect QC12 or quercetin in plasma. After i.v. administration, we detected peak plasma concentrations of QC12 of 108.7 +/- 41.67 mu Molar (muM). A two-compartment model with mean t(1)/2 alpha of 0.31 +/- 0.27 hours and mean t(1)/2 beta of 0.86 +/- 0.78 hours best described the concentration-time curves for QC12. The mean AUC was 44.54 +/- 13.0 muM.hour and mean volume of distribution (Vd) of 10.0 +/- 6.2 litres (l). Quercetin was found in all patients following i.v. infusion of QC12, with peak levels of quercetin 19.9 +/- 11.8 muM. The relative bioavailability of quercetin was estimated to be 20%-25% quercetin released from QC12. Conclusions: QC12 is not orally bioavailable. This water-soluble pro-drug warrants further clinical investigation; starting with a formal phase I, IV, dose-escalation study.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)245-248
Number of pages4
JournalAnnals of Oncology
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2001


  • QC12
  • quercetin
  • cancer
  • human


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