Identification of impurities in methotrexate drug substances using high-performance liquid chromatography coupled with a photodiode array detector and Fourier transform ion cyclotron resonance mass spectrometry

Authors

  • Cai-Sheng Wu,

    1. State Key Laboratory of Bioactive Substance and Function of Natural Medicines, Institute of Materia Medica, Chinese Academy of Medical Sciences and Peking Union Medical College, Beijing, China
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  • Yuan-Feng Tong,

    1. Institute of Materia Medica, Chinese Academy of Medical Sciences and Peking Union Medical College, Beijing, China
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  • Peng-Yuan Wang,

    1. State Key Laboratory of Bioactive Substance and Function of Natural Medicines, Institute of Materia Medica, Chinese Academy of Medical Sciences and Peking Union Medical College, Beijing, China
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  • Dong-Mei Wang,

    1. Institute of Materia Medica, Chinese Academy of Medical Sciences and Peking Union Medical College, Beijing, China
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  • Song Wu,

    1. Institute of Materia Medica, Chinese Academy of Medical Sciences and Peking Union Medical College, Beijing, China
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  • Jin-Lan Zhang

    Corresponding author
    1. State Key Laboratory of Bioactive Substance and Function of Natural Medicines, Institute of Materia Medica, Chinese Academy of Medical Sciences and Peking Union Medical College, Beijing, China
    • Correspondence to: J.-L Zhang, Institute of Materia Medica, Chinese Academy of Medical Sciences and Peking Union Medical College, Beijing 100050, China.

      E-mail: zhjl@imm.ac.cn

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Abstract

RATIONALE

Methotrexate (MTX) is an antineoplastic therapeutic medicine that acts as an antimetabolite of folic acid. In this study we identified the impurities in MTX drug substances produced by different manufacturers and in different batches using high-performance liquid chromatography coupled with a photodiode array detector and Fourier transform ion cyclotron resonance mass spectrometry (HPLC-PDA/FTICR-MS).

METHODS

MTX and its impurities were separated on a Restek Pinnacle II C18 column (250 × 4.6 mm, 5 µm) with a gradient elution system composed of 0.2% formic acid and acetonitrile at a flow rate of 1.0 mL/min. Ultraviolet (UV) detection was set at 305 nm. Mass detection was carried out using FTICR-MS with full-scan mass analysis at a resolving power of 100 000 coupled with multiple-stage mass analysis using a parent list of compounds.

RESULTS

Fifteen impurities were detected in MTX drug substances, and their structures were predicted from using HPLC-PDA/FTICR-MS data, including their UV spectra, high-resolution mass spectrometry (HRMS), fragmentation patterns, and MSn spectra. Ten of the impurities detected in the MTX drug substances are reported for the first time. There was a high abundance of esterified impurities in some batches of MTX drug substances, over the identification threshold of International Conference on Harmonization (ICH) guidelines, which requires particular attention.

CONCLUSIONS

This paper describes a HPLC-PDA/FTICR-MS method to profile and identify impurities in MTX drug substances. The results suggest that HPLC-PDA/FTICR-MS is a valuable analytical technique for the rapid identification of impurities. Copyright © 2013 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

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