Synthesis and Antitumor Properties of BQC-Glucuronide, a Camptothecin Prodrug for Selective Tumor Activation
2016-01-29T00:00:00Z (GMT) by
Major limitations of camptothecin anticancer drugs (toxicity, nonselectivity, water insolubility, inactivation by human serum albumin) may be improved by creating glucuronide prodrugs that rely on beta-glucuronidase for their activation. We found that the camptothecin derivative 5,6-dihydro-4<i>H</i>-benzo[<i>de</i>]quinoline-camptothecin (BQC) displays greater cytotoxicity against cancer cells than the clinically used camptothecin derivatives SN-38 and topotecan even in the presence of human serum albumin. We synthesized the prodrug BQC-glucuronide (BQC-G), which was 4000 times more water soluble and 20–40 times less cytotoxic than BQC. Importantly, even in the presence of human serum albumin, BQC-G was efficiently hydrolyzed by beta-glucuronidase and produced greater cytotoxicity (IC<sub>50</sub> = 13 nM) than camptothecin, 9-aminocamptothecin, SN-38, or topotecan (IC<sub>50</sub> > 3000, 1370, 48, and 28 nM, respectively). BQC-G treatment of mice bearing human colon cancer xenografts with naturally or artificially elevated beta-glucuronidase activity produced significant antitumor activity, showing that BQC-G is a potent prodrug suitable for selective intratumoral drug activation.