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The in vivo fate and effectiveness of a drug depends highly on its absorption, distribution, metabolism, excretion and toxicity (ADME-Tox). Organic anion transporting polypeptides (OATPs) are membrane proteins involved in the cellular uptake of various organic compounds, including clinically used drugs. Since OATPs are significant players in drug absorption and distribution, modulation of OATP function via pharmacotherapy with OATP substrates/inhibitors, or modulation of their expression, affects drug pharmacokinetics. Given their cancer-specific expression, OATPs may also be considered anticancer drug targets. Areas covered: We describe the human OATP family, discussing clinically relevant consequences of altered OATP function. We offer a critical analysis of published data on the role of OATPs in ADME and in drug-drug interactions, especially focusing on OATP1A2, 1B1, 1B3 and 2B1. Expert opinion: Four members of the OATP family, 1A2, 1B1, 1B3 and 2B1, have been characterized in detail. As biochemical and pharmacological knowledge on the other OATPs is lacking, it seems timely to direct research efforts towards developing the experimental framework needed to investigate the transport mechanism and substrate specificity of the poorly described OATPs. In addition, elucidating the role of OATPs in tumor development and therapy response are critical avenues for further research.


Daniella Kovacsics, Izabel Patik, Csilla Özvegy-Laczka. The role of organic anion transporting polypeptides in drug absorption, distribution, excretion and drug-drug interactions. Expert opinion on drug metabolism & toxicology. 2017 Apr;13(4):409-424

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PMID: 27783531

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