Optimized HPLC-MS method for the high-throughput analysis of clinical samples of ivacaftor, its major metabolites, and lumacaftor in biological fluids of cystic fibrosis patients

Elena K. Schneider, Felisa Reyes-Ortega, Jian Li, Tony Velkov

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15 Citations (Scopus)


Defects in the cystic fibrosis trans-membrane conductance regulator (CFTR) are the cause of cystic fibrosis (CF), a disease with life-threatening pulmonary manifestations. Ivacaftor (IVA) and ivacaftor-lumacaftor (LUMA) combination are two new breakthrough CF drugs that directly modulate the activity and trafficking of the defective CFTR-protein. However, there is still a dearth of understanding on pharmacokinetic/ pharmacodynamic parameters and the pharmacology of ivacaftor and lumacaftor. The HPLC-MS technique for the simultaneous analysis of the concentrations of ivacaftor, hydroxymethyl-ivacaftor, ivacaftor-carboxylate, and lumacaftor in biological fluids in patients receiving standard ivacaftor or ivacaftor-lumacaftor combination therapy has previously been developed by our group and partially validated to FDA standards. However, to allow the high-throughput analysis of a larger number of patient samples, our group has optimized the reported method through the use of a smaller pore size reverse-phase chromatography column (2.6 µm, C8 100 Å; 50 × 2.1 mm) and a gradient solvent system (0-1 min: 40% B; 1-2 min: 40-70% B; 2-2.7 min: held at 70% B; 2.7-2.8 min: 70-90% B; 2.8-4.0 min: 90% B washing; 4.0-4.1 min: 90-40% B; 4.1-6.0 min: held at 40% B) instead of an isocratic elution. The goal of this study was to reduce the HPLC-MS analysis time per sample dramatically from ~15 min to only 6 min per sample, which is essential for the analysis of a large amount of patient samples. This expedient method will be of considerable utility for studies into the exposure-response relationships of these breakthrough CF drugs.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere56084
JournalJournal of Visualized Experiments
Issue number128
Publication statusPublished - 15 Oct 2017


  • Biological fluids
  • Cystic fibrosis
  • Ivacaftor
  • Lumacaftor
  • Plasma
  • Sputum

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