Author(s): Henderson BW, Bellnier DA, Greco WR, Sharma A, Pandey RK,
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Abstract An in vivo quantitative structure-activity relationship (QSAR) study was carried out on a congeneric series of pyropheophorbide photosensitizers to identify structural features critical for their antitumor activity in photodynamic therapy (PDT). The structural elements evaluated in this study include the length and shape (alkyl, alkenyl, cyclic, and secondary analogs) of the ether side chain. C3H mice, harboring the radiation-induced fibrosarcoma tumor model, were used to study three biological response endpoints: tumor growth delay, tumor cell lethality, and vascular perfusion. All three endpoints revealed highly similar QSAR patterns that constituted a function of the alkyl ether chain length and drug lipophilicity, which is defined as the log of the octanol:water partition coefficient (log P). When the illumination of tumor, tumor cells, or cutaneous vasculature occurred 24 h after sensitizer administration, activities were minimal with analogs of log P < or = 5, increased dramatically between log P of 5-6, and peaked between log P of 5.6-6.6. Activities declined gradually with higher log P. The lack of activity of the least-lipophilic analogs was explained in large part by their poor biodistribution characteristics, which yielded negligible tumor and plasma drug levels at the time of treatment with light. The progressively lower potencies of the most lipophilic analogs cannot be explained through the overall tumor and plasma pharmacokinetics of photosensitizer because tumor and plasma concentrations progressively increased with lipophilicity. When compensated for differences in tumor photosensitizer concentration, the 1-hexyl derivative (optimal lipophilicity) was 5-fold more potent than the 1-dodecyl derivative (more lipophilic) and 3-fold more potent than the 1-pentyl analog (less lipophilic), indicating that, in addition to the overall tumor pharmacokinetics, pharmacodynamic factors may influence PDT activity. Drug lipophilicity was highly predictive for photodynamic activity. QSAR modeling revealed that direct antitumor effects and vascular PDT effects may be governed by common mechanisms, and that the mere association of high levels of photosensitizer in the tumor tissue is not sufficient for optimal PDT efficiency.
This article was published in Cancer Res
and referenced in Journal of Cytology & Histology