Novel prodrugs of tegafur that display improved anticancer activity and antiangiogenic properties

Dikla Engel, Abraham Nudelman, Nataly Tarasenko, Inesa Levovich, Igor Makarovsky, Segev Sochotnikov, Igor Tarasenko, Ada Rephaeli

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

24 Scopus citations

Abstract

New and more potent prodrugs of the 5-fluorouracyl family derived by hydroxymethylation or acyloxymethylation of 5-fluoro-1-(tetrahydro-2-furanyl)-2, 4(1H,3H)-pyrimidinedione (tegafur, 1) are described. The anticancer activity of the butyroyloxymethyl-tegafur derivative 3 and not that of tegafur was attenuated by the antioxidant N-acetylcysteine, suggesting that the increased activity of the prodrug is in part mediated by an increase of reactive oxygen species. Compound 3 in an in vitro matrigel assay was found to be a more potent antiangiogenic agent than tegafur. In vivo 3 was significantly more potent than tegafur in inhibiting 4T1 breast carcinoma lung metastases and growth of HT-29 human colon carcinoma tumors in a mouse xenograft. In summary, the multifunctional prodrugs of tegafur display selectivity toward cancer cells, antiangiogenic activity, and anticancer activities in vitro and in vivo, superior to those of tegafur. 5-Fluoro-1-(tetrahydro-2-furanyl)-2,4(1H,3H)- pyrimidinedione (tegafur, 1), the oral prodrug of 5-FU, has been widely used for treatment of gastrointestinal malignancies with modest efficacy. The aim of this study was to develop and characterize new and more potent prodrugs of the 5-FU family derived by hydroxymethylation or acyloxymethylation of tegafur. Comparison between the effect of tegafur and the new prodrugs on the viability of a variety of cancer cell lines showed that the IC50 and IC 90 values of the novel prodrugs were 5-10-fold lower than those of tegafur. While significant differences between the IC50 values of tegafur were observed between the sensitive HT-29 and the resistant LS-1034 colon cancer cell lines, the prodrugs affected them to a similar degree, suggesting that they overcame drug resistance. The increased potency of the prodrugs could be attributed to the antiproliferative contribution imparted by formaldehyde and butyric acid, released upon metabolic degradation. The anticancer activity of the butyroyloxymethyl-tegafur derivative 3 and not that of tegafur was attenuated by the antioxidant N-acetylcysteine, suggesting that the increased activity of the prodrug is in part mediated by an increase of reactive oxygen species. Compound 3 in an in vitro matrigel assay was found to be a more potent antiangiogenic agent than tegafur. In vivo 3 was significantly more potent than tegafur in inhibiting 4T1 breast carcinoma lung metastases and growth of HT-29 human colon carcinoma tumors in a mouse xenograft. In summary, the multifunctional prodrugs of tegafur display selectivity toward cancer cells, antiangiogenic activity and anticancer activities in vitro and in vivo, superior to those of tegafur.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)314-323
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Medicinal Chemistry
Volume51
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - 24 Jan 2008

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