Drugs of interest to pathologists
Drugs related to clinical pathology
Rasburicase

Author: Him G. Kwee, M.D. (see Authors page)

Revised: 16 August 2017, last major update August 2017

Copyright: (c) 2017, PathologyOutlines.com, Inc.

Cite this page: Kwee, H. G. Rasburicase. PathologyOutlines.com website. http://pathologyoutlines.com/topic/drugsrasburicase.html. Accessed December 18th, 2017.
Definition / general
  • Drug containing DNA recombinant produced urate oxidase derived from Aspergillus flavus
  • Urate oxidase catalyzes the metabolism of uric acid to allantoin that is rapidly excreted in urine
  • Used to lower serum uric acid levels in tumor lysis syndrome after the initiation of cancer chemotherapy
Trade name
  • Elitek (Sanofi Genzyme)
Clinical features
  • Daily dose of 0.2 mg/kg is administered via IV for 5 to 7 days
  • Overall elimination half life is 18 hours
Information related to clinical pathology
  • Rasburicase enzymatically degrades uric acid in blood samples left at room temperature
  • Blood samples for uric acid measurements obtained from patients on this drug must be collected in prechilled tubes with heparin and immediately immersed and maintained in ice water bath
  • Plasma uric acid must be assayed within 4 hours after collection
  • If protocol is not followed, the uric acid test result will be falsely low
  • Serious drug side effects include methemoglobinemia and hemolytic anemia in patients with glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase deficiency
  • May rarely cause elevations of serum liver enzymes
Board review question #1
Before giving rasburicase, the patient should be screened for:

A. Chronic kidney disease
B. Cirrhosis
C. Glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase deficiency
D. Gout
E. Pyruvate kinase deficiency
Board review answer #1
C. Glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase deficiency