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Chem Res Toxicol. 2010 Aug 16;23(8):1313-21. doi: 10.1021/tx100023c.

Determination of cisplatin 1,2-intrastrand guanine-guanine DNA adducts in human leukocytes by high-performance liquid chromatography coupled to inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry.

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  • 1Cancer Biomarkers and Prevention Group, and Radiation & Oxidative Stress Group, Department of Cancer Studies and Molecular Medicine, University of Leicester, Leicester, United Kingdom.


Platinum-containing drugs are widely used to treat cancer in a variety of clinical settings. Their mode of action involves the formation of DNA adducts, which facilitate apoptosis in cancer cells. Cisplatin binds to the N7 position of the purine DNA bases forming intrastrand cross-links between either two adjacent guanines [cis-Pt(NH(3))(2)d(pGpG), 1,2-GG] or an adjacent adenine and guanine [cis-Pt(NH(3))(2)d(pApG), 1,2-AG)]. The cytotoxic efficacy for each of the different types of DNA adducts and the relationship between adduct levels in tumor cells and blood are not well understood. By using these Pt-containing adduct species as biomarkers, information on a patient's response to chemotherapy would be directly related to the mode of action of the drug. This type of analysis requires the most sensitive and specific methods available, to facilitate detection limits sufficient to measure the DNA adduct in the limited sample quantities available from patients. This was achieved in the current study by coupling a highly specific enzyme-based adduct isolation method with a sensitive detection system based on HPLC coupled to inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry to measure the 1,2-GG cisplatin adducts formed in DNA. The method was developed and validated using calf thymus DNA and two different adenocarcinoma cell lines. The values for the limit of detection (LOD) and the limit of quantitation determined for the 1,2-GG cisplatin adduct were 0.21 and 0.67 fmol per microg DNA, respectively. This corresponds to an absolute LOD of 0.8 pg as Pt for the 1,2-GG adduct. Cisplatin-sensitive (H23) and -resistant (A549) tumor cells were exposed to the drug, and the 1,2-GG adduct levels were measured over a 24 h time period. The results showed a statistically significant (P < 0.05) higher concentration in the sensitive cells as compared to the resistant cells after repair for 7 h. Although the adduct concentration present fell at subsequent time points (12 and 24 h), the levels in each cell line were broadly similar. The protocol was then applied to the analysis of patient samples taken before and then 1 h after treatment. The 1,2-GG cisplatin adduct was present in the range from 113 to 1245 fg Pt per microg DNA in all of the patient samples taken after treatment. Although the adduct was not present at levels greater than the LOD in the initial pretreatment samples, trace amounts were discernible in some patient samples on their third treatment cycle.

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