Studies on the molecular pharmacology of GR63178A. A novel pentacyclic pyrolloquinone anticancer drug.
Graham, M A
Hoey, Brigid M
Fry, A M
Hickson, I D
Smyth, J F
AffiliationImperial Cancer Research Fund, Western General Hospital, Edinburgh, U.K.
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AbstractGR63178A (NSC D611615) is the second pentacyclic pyrolloquinone to be evaluated clinically as an anticancer drug. Its mechanism of action is unknown but may be related either to its quinone group or planar ring system. In this report we have investigated the ability of GR63178A to bind non-covalently to DNA, inhibit topoisomerase II and undergo reduction to reactive free radical species. Using two DNA duplexes, a 12-mer oligonucleotide which is a preferred sequence for minor groove binders and a hexamer which is a preferred sequence for intercalators, no evidence of significant binding with GR63178A was found. Neither GR63178A nor GR54374X (its 9-hydroxy metabolite) inhibited purified human topoisomerase II in a decatenation assay. Free radical chemistry was studied by both pulse radiolysis and ESR spectroscopy as well as by in vitro drug incubations with NADPH-fortified rat liver microsomes and purified cytochrome P450 reductase. The one-electron reduction potential of GR63178A was -207 mV +/- 10 which is much more positive than other quinone-containing anticancer drugs such as doxorubicin, mitomycin C and mitozantrone. GR63178A underwent enzyme-catalysed quinone reduction more readily than doxorubicin but produced significantly fewer reactive oxygen species. No evidence was detected of drug-induced, radical-mediated DNA damage in vitro using pBR322 plasmid DNA. Disproportionation of the GR63178A semi-quinone free radical proceeded with a rate constant of 1 x 10(9) M-1 sec-1 under anaerobic conditions, one order of magnitude faster than doxorubicin. The preferential disproportionation of the semi-quinone may explain our inability to detect a free radical signal by ESR. The hydroquinone of GR63178A was stable and exhibited strong visible absorption with a bathochromic shift of 120 nm over the parent drug. These unusual properties may be due to the hydroquinone undergoing a form of keto-enol tautomerization. Thus, GR63178A free radical formation does not appear to result in significant drug activation. In conclusion, GR63178A is unlikely to mediate its antitumour activity by DNA binding, topoisomerase II inhibition or free radical formation in direct contrast to similar anthracycline- and anthraquinone-based anticancer drugs.
CitationStudies on the molecular pharmacology of GR63178A. A novel pentacyclic pyrolloquinone anticancer drug. 1992, 44 (3):433-9 Biochem. Pharmacol.
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