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Forum (Genova). 2000 Jul-Sep;10(3):274-85.

New cytotoxic agents for the treatment of metastatic malignant melanoma: temozolomide and related alkylating agents in combination with guanine analogues to abrogate drug resistance.

Author information

1
Division of Hematology/Oncology, Department of Medicine, Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland, Ohio, USA.

Abstract

The chloroethylating nitrosoureas (lomustine, fotemustine, cystemustine (BCNU) and methylating agents temozolomide (TMZ), dacarbazine (DTIC), procarbazine) have documented activity in metastatic malignant melanoma with single agent response rates of 15-25%. Chloroethylating agents form chloroethyl adducts at the O6 position of guanine, resulting in N1-guanine, N3-cytosine interstrand crosslinks which are cytotoxic. Methylating agents attack DNA at multiple sites, although most of their cytotoxic activity is due to the formation of methyl adducts at the O6 position of guanine. The presence of these adducts results in a futile recycling of the mismatch repair pathway resulting in DNA strand breaks and apoptotic cell death. An intact mismatch repair system is required to achieve their cytotoxic effect. Repair of adducts by the DNA repair protein O6-alkylguanine DNA alkyltransferase (AGT) impairs the cytotoxic action of both methylating and chloroethylating agents, and mediates a major resistance pathway to these drugs. During DNA repair, irreversible inactivation of AGT occurs. To regenerate AGT activity, synthesis of new molecules is required. Increased but variable AGT activity is found in malignant melanoma, is higher in metastatic lesions than in primary tumours, and is higher in tumours than normal skin. Expression of AGT activity, is higher in melanoma metastases after DTIC chemotherapy compared to expression prior to therapy. TMZ alone depletes human AGT in tumour tissue and peripheral blood progenitor cells. As the t1/2 of TMZ via the oral route is short (approximately 1.8 hours), and the anti-tumour activity of the drug is known to be schedule-dependent, twice daily or prolonged administration schedules of TMZ prevent regeneration of AGT, and render tumour cells more sensitive to the drug. O6-benzylguanine (BG) is a potent AGT inactivating agent. BG and its analogues reduce AGT activity, and increase the in vitro and in vivo efficacy of both methylating and chloroethylating agents. In clinical trials, non-toxic doses of BG deplete AGT to undetectable levels. AGT depleting agents in combination with methylating and chloroethylating agents are now in clinical testing, and may result in greater clinical efficacy in metastatic malignant melanoma.

PMID:
11007934
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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