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J Med Chem. 2003 Sep 25;46(20):4313-21.

The combi-targeting concept: chemical dissection of the dual targeting properties of a series of "combi-triazenes".

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  • 1Cancer Drug Research Laboratory, Department of Medicine, Division of Medical Oncology, McGill University Health Center/Royal Victoria Hospital, Montreal, H3A1A1, Quebec, Canada.


The combi-targeting concept postulates that a molecule termed a "combi-molecule" designed to interact with an oncoreceptor on its own and allowed to further degrade to another more stable inhibitor of the latter receptor + a DNA-damaging species should be more potent than the individual combination of the same inhibitor with a DNA-damaging agent in cells expressing the targeted receptor. Recently, using the epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) as a target, we demonstrated the feasibility of combi-molecules with dual EGFR/DNA-targeting properties and with the ability to degrade to another potent inhibitor of EGFR. However, despite a clear demonstration of their superior potency when compared with classical combinations in EGFR-expressing cells, the true contribution of each fragment of the combi-molecules to their overall antiproliferative activity remained elusive. Here, we report a structure-function approach whereby a series of quinazoline-based "combi-triazenes" were altered to either abrogate the affinity of the EGFR-targeting quinazoline head or to suppress the DNA-damaging property of the triazene tail. The results showed that (a) inactivation of the quinazoline head by appending an N-methylaniline group to its 4-position reduced EGFR tyrosine kinase (TK) inhibitory activity by ca. 200-fold and decreased the ability of the combi-molecule to block serum-induced growth stimulation in c-erbB2 transfected NIH3T3 cells by ca. 10-fold, (b) abrogation of the alkylating activity or the DNA-damaging potential of the triazene tail by forming 3,3-dimethyltriazenes did not suppress EGFR TK inhibitory affinity but decreased the antiproliferative activity in basal growth assays, and (c) the antiproliferative activities of the monoalkyltriazenes that possessed binary EGFR TK inhibitory and alkylating activities were superior to those of their monotargeted counterparts. The results in toto suggest that each component of the dual targeting property of combi-triazenes plays a critical role in their overall antiproliferative activity.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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