Author(s): Wilson WR, Siim BG, Denny WA, van Zijl PL, Taylor ML,
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Abstract Targeting of electron-affinic radiosensitizers to DNA via noncovalent binding (e.g., intercalation) may offer the potential for increasing sensitizing efficiency. However, it has been suggested that high-affinity DNA binding may compromise sensitization by restricting the mobility of sensitizers along the DNA, and by decreasing rates of extravascular diffusion in tumors. The weak DNA intercalator nitracrine (1-NC) is a more efficient radiosensitizer than related nitroacridines with higher DNA-binding affinities (Roberts et al., Radiat. Res. 123, 153-164, 1990). The present study investigates whether electron-affinic agents of even lower DNA-binding affinity may be superior to nitroacridines. The quinoline analog of 1-NC, 5-nitraquine (5-NO), was shown to have an intrinsic association constant for calf thymus DNA in 20 mM phosphate buffer which was 12-fold lower than that of 1-NC. 5-Nitraquine was not accumulated as efficiently as 1-NC by AA8 cells, but, despite a similar one-electron reduction potential, was 2- to 3-fold more potent than 1-NC as a hypoxia-selective radiosensitizer in vitro when compared on the basis of average intracellular concentration. Thus the radiosensitizing potency of 5-NQ appears not to be compromised by its low DNA-binding affinity. The cytotoxic mechanisms of 5-NQ and 1-NC appear to be similar (hypoxia-selective formation of DNA monoadducts), but 5-NQ is 1200-fold less potent than 1-NC as a cytotoxin. Despite this advantage, 5-NQ was not active in vivo as a radiosensitizer in SCCVII tumors. This lack of activity appears to be due to its relatively high toxicity in vivo (intraperitoneal LD50 of 105 mumol kg-1 in C3H/HeN mice), high one-electron reduction potential (-286 mV), and rapid metabolism to the corresponding amine in mice. The in vitro therapeutic index (hypoxic radiosensitizing potency/aerobic cytotoxic potency) of this weak DNA binder was lower than that of the non-DNA targeted radiosensitizer misonidazole, suggesting that DNA targeting enhances cytotoxicity more than radiosensitization. Development of useful DNA-targeted radiosensitizers may require the exploitation of DNA binding modes different from those of the nitroacridines and nitroquinolines.
This article was published in Radiat Res
and referenced in Medicinal Chemistry