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Adv Enzyme Regul. 1988;27:223-56.

Inhibitors of topoisomerase II: structure-activity relationships and mechanism of action of podophyllin congeners.

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Cancer Research, Bristol-Myers Corporation, Wallingford, CT 06492.


The specific inhibition of eukaryote DNA topoisomerase II by the anti-cancer drugs VP16, VM26, and 21 other congeners of podophyllotoxin has been extensively studied in this laboratory through the use of alkaline elution and other techniques. A structure-activity relationship has been established for cytotoxicity, single and double strand DNA breakage, and inhibition of the DNA strand passing activity of topoisomerase II. Furthermore, topoisomerase inhibition was measured in four naturally sensitive and resistant human lung carcinoma cells by quantifying the amount of single and double strand DNA breakage produced by VP16 and VM26 in cells and isolated nuclei. A direct correlation between double but not single strand DNA breaks and cytotoxicity was observed for the analogs in A549 human lung adenocarcinoma cells. In fact, some analogs were capable of producing substantial single strand DNA breakage without producing cytotoxicity. A similar correspondence was observed between double strand DNA breaks and cytotoxicity produced by VP16 and VM26 in the naturally sensitive and resistant cell lines. Evidence is also presented suggesting that the association of the drug with enzyme-DNA intermediate complex and the formation of the enzyme-DNA complex alone both reflected equilibrium governed conditions that were readily reversible. These studies support a model based on the proposal that the actual cytotoxic events are genetic alterations caused by possible heterologous subunit exchanges occurring between adjacent enzyme molecules, which result from the stabilization of the intermediate complex, rather than the actual loss of topoisomerase II activity caused by the inhibition. The resistance of normal cells and cells with acquired resistance to the possible clastogenic effects of topoisomerase inhibition may be, in part, related to the low topoisomerase II levels found in such cells. Topoisomerase II may also play a role in gene amplification and tumor cell heterogeneity by serving as a vehicle through which genetic recombination events may occur.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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