• Chemical synthesis and biological evaluation of a NAD(P)H:quinone oxidoreductase-1-targeted tripartite quinone drug delivery system

      Volpato, Milène; Abou-Zeid, N.; Tanner, R.W.; Glassbrook, L.T.; Taylor, James P.; Stratford, I.J.; Loadman, Paul M.; Jaffar, M.; Phillips, Roger M. (2007)
      NAD(P)H:quinone oxidoreductase-1 (NQO1) is a potential target for therapeutic intervention but attempts to exploit NQO1 using quinone-based bioreductive prodrugs have been largely compromised by toxicity to organs that inherently express high levels of NQO1. In an attempt to circumvent this problem, this study describes the development of a tripartite quinone-based drug delivery system, the ultimate objective of which is to release a targeted therapeutic agent following the reduction of a quinone "trigger" by NQO1. Molecular modeling of drug/NQO1 interactions were conducted prior to the synthesis of N-{4-[bis-(2-chloroethyl)-amino]-phenyl}-beta,beta,2,4,5-pentamethyl-3,6-dioxo-1,4-cyclohexadiene-1-propanamide (prodrug 1). Prodrug 1 is a good substrate for purified NQO1 (V(max) and K(m) values of 11.86 +/- 3.09 micromol/min/mg and 2.70 +/- 1.14 micromol/L, respectively) and liquid chromatography-mass spectrometry analysis of the metabolites generated showed that lactone 3 and aniline mustard 4 were generated in a time- and NQO1-dependent manner. Chemosensitivity studies showed that prodrug 1 is selectively toxic to cells that overexpress NQO1 under aerobic conditions, and comet assay analysis confirmed the presence of elevated interstrand cross-links in NQO1-rich compared with NQO1-deficient cells. Hypoxic sensitization (hypoxic cytotoxicity ratio = 15.8) was observed in T47D cells that overexpress cytochrome P450 reductase. In conclusion, the results of this study provide mechanistic proof of principle that a tripartite benzoquinone drug delivery system is enzymatically reduced to release an active therapeutic agent. Further development of this concept to fine-tune substrate specificity for specific reductases and/or the inclusion of alternative therapeutic agents is warranted.
    • Pharmacological and biological evaluation of a series of substituted 1,4 naphthoquinone bioreductive drugs.

      Phillips, Roger M.; Loadman, Paul M.; Maitland, Derek J.; Shnyder, Steven D.; Jaffar, M.; Steans, Gillian; Cooper, Patricia A.; Race, Amanda D.; Patterson, A.V.; Stratford, I.J. (2004)
      The indolequinone compound EO9 has good pharmacodynamic properties in terms of bioreductive activation and selectivity for either NAD(P)H:quinone oxidoreductase-1 (NQO1)-rich aerobic or NQO1-deficient hypoxic cells. However, its pharmacokinetic properties are poor and this fact is believed to be a major reason for EO9's lack of clinical efficacy. The purpose of this study was to develop quinone-based bioreductive drugs that retained EO9's good properties, in terms of bioreductive activation, but have improved pharmacokinetic properties. Out of 11 naphthoquinone compounds evaluated, 2-aziridinyl-5-hydroxy-1,4-naphthoquinone (compound 2), 2,3-bis(aziridinyl)-5-hydroxy-1,4-naphthoquinone (compound 3), and 2-aziridinyl-6-hydroxymethyl-1,4-naphthoquinone (compound 11) were selected for further evaluation based on good substrate specificity for NQO1 and selectivity towards NQO1-rich cells in vitro. Compound 3 was of particular interest as it also demonstrated selectivity for NQO1-rich cells under hypoxic conditions. Compound 3 was not metabolised by murine whole blood in vitro (in contrast to compounds 2, 11 and EO9) and pharmacokinetic studies in non-tumour-bearing mice in vivo (at the maximum soluble dose of 60 mg kg¿1 administered intraperitoneally) demonstrated significant improvements in plasma half-life (16.2 min) and AUC values (22.5 ¿M h) compared to EO9 (T1/2 = 1.8 min, AUC = 0.184 ¿M h). Compound 3 also demonstrated significant anti-tumour activity against H460 and HCT-116 human tumour xenografts in vivo, whereas EO9 was inactive against these tumours. In conclusion, compound 3 is a promising lead compound that may target both aerobic and hypoxic fractions of NQO1-rich tumours and further studies to elucidate its mechanism of action and improve solubility are warranted.