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Int J Radiat Oncol Biol Phys. 1989 Apr;16(4):1039-43.

NLP-1: a DNA intercalating hypoxic cell radiosensitizer and cytotoxin.

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Department of Chemistry, University of Toronto, Ontario, Canada.


The 2-nitroimidazole linked phenanthridine, NLP-1 (5-[3-(2-nitro-1-imidazoyl)-propyl]-phenanthridinium bromide), was synthesized with the rationale of targeting the nitroimidazole to DNA via the phenanthridine ring. The drug is soluble in aqueous solution (greater than 25 mM) and stable at room temperature. It binds to DNA with a binding constant 1/30 that of ethidium bromide. At a concentration of 0.5 mM, NLP-1 is 8 times more toxic to hypoxic than aerobic cells at 37 degrees C. This concentration is 40 times less than the concentration of misonidazole, a non-intercalating 2-nitroimidazole, required for the same degree of hypoxic cell toxicity. The toxicity of NLP-1 is reduced at least 10-fold at 0 degrees C. Its ability to radiosensitize hypoxic cells is similar to misonidazole at 0 degrees C. Thus the putative targeting of the 2-nitroimidazole, NLP-1, to DNA, via its phenanthridine group, enhances its hypoxic toxicity, but not its radiosensitizing ability under the present test conditions. NLP-1 represents a lead compound for intercalating 2-nitroimidazoles with selective toxicity for hypoxic cells.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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