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Bioconjug Chem. 2007 May-Jun;18(3):754-64. Epub 2007 Mar 27.

Evaluation of chemical, physical, and biologic properties of tumor-targeting radioiodinated quinazolinone derivative.

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Harvard Medical School, Department of Radiology, 200 Longwood Avenue, Boston, Massachusetts 02115, USA.


Our group is developing a novel technology, enzyme-mediated cancer imaging and therapy (EMCIT), that aims to entrap radioiodinated compounds within solid tumors for noninvasive tumor detection and therapy. In this approach, a water-soluble, radioiodinated prodrug is hydrolyzed in vivo to a highly water-insoluble compound by an enzyme overexpressed extracellularly by tumor cells. We have synthesized and characterized the water-soluble prodrug, 2-(2'-phosphoryloxyphenyl)-6-[(125)I]iodo-4-(3H)-quinazolinone [(125)I]5, which is readily hydrolyzed by alkaline phosphatase, an enzyme expressed by many tumor cell lines, to a water-insoluble drug, 2-(2'-hydroxyphenyl)-6-[(125)I]iodo-4-(3H)-quinazolinone [(125)I]1. In the course of our study, we discovered that ammonium 2-(2'-phosphoryloxyphenyl)-6-tributylstannyl-4-(3H)-quinazolinone, an intermediate in the radioiodination of the prodrug, exists as two isomers (3 and 4) whose radioiodination leads, respectively, to [(125)I]6 and [(125)I]5. These prodrugs have different in vitro and in vivo biologic activities. Compound 6 is not hydrolyzed by alkaline phosphatase (ALP), whereas 5 is highly soluble (mg/mL) in aqueous solution and is rapidly dephosphorylated in the presence of ALP to 1, a water-insoluble molecule (ng/mL). Mouse biodistribution studies indicate that [(125)I]6 has high uptake in kidney and liver and [(125)I]5 has very low uptake in all normal organs. Compounds 3 and 6 are converted, respectively, to 4 and 5 after incubation in DMSO. The stability of 5 in human serum is high. The minimum ALP concentration needed to hydrolyze 5 is much greater than the ALP level in the blood of patients with cancer, and the latter should not affect the pharmacokinetics of the compound. Incubation of 5 with viable human and mouse tumor-cell lines--but not with normal human cells and mouse tissues--leads to its hydrolysis and the formation of large crystals of 1. We expect that 5 will also be hydrolyzed in vivo by tumor cells that express phosphatase activity extracellularly and anticipate the specific precipitation of radioiodinated 1 within tumor cell clusters. This should lead to high tumor-to-normal-tissue ratios and enable imaging (SPECT/PET) and radionuclide therapy of solid tumors.

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