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Antioxid Redox Signal. 2018 Dec 1;29(16):1691-1724. doi: 10.1089/ars.2017.7453. Epub 2018 Aug 28.

Mn Porphyrin-Based Redox-Active Drugs: Differential Effects as Cancer Therapeutics and Protectors of Normal Tissue Against Oxidative Injury.

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1 Department of Radiation Oncology, Duke University School of Medicine , Durham, North Carolina.
2 Department of Medicine, Duke University School of Medicine , Durham, North Carolina.
3 PK/PD Core Laboratory, Pharmaceutical Research Shared Resource, Duke Cancer Institute , Durham, North Carolina.



After approximatelty three decades of research, two Mn(III) porphyrins (MnPs), MnTE-2-PyP5+ (BMX-010, AEOL10113) and MnTnBuOE-2-PyP5+ (BMX-001), have progressed to five clinical trials. In parallel, another similarly potent metal-based superoxide dismutase (SOD) mimic-Mn(II)pentaaza macrocycle, GC4419-has been tested in clinical trial on application, identical to that of MnTnBuOE-2-PyP5+-radioprotection of normal tissue in head and neck cancer patients. This clearly indicates that Mn complexes that target cellular redox environment have reached sufficient maturity for clinical applications. Recent Advances: While originally developed as SOD mimics, MnPs undergo intricate interactions with numerous redox-sensitive pathways, such as those involving nuclear factor κB (NF-κB) and nuclear factor E2-related factor 2 (Nrf2), thereby impacting cellular transcriptional activity. An increasing amount of data support the notion that MnP/H2O2/glutathione (GSH)-driven catalysis of S-glutathionylation of protein cysteine, associated with modification of protein function, is a major action of MnPs on molecular level.


Differential effects of MnPs on normal versus tumor cells/tissues, which support their translation into clinic, arise from differences in their accumulation and redox environment of such tissues. This in turn results in different yields of MnP-driven modifications of proteins. Thus far, direct evidence for such modification of NF-κB, mitogen-activated protein kinases (MAPK), phosphatases, Nrf2, and endogenous antioxidative defenses was provided in tumor, while indirect evidence shows the modification of NF-κB and Nrf2 translational activities by MnPs in normal tissue.


Studies that simultaneously explore differential effects in same animal are lacking, while they are essential for understanding of extremely intricate interactions of metal-based drugs with complex cellular networks of normal and cancer cells/tissues.


BMX-001; M40403/GC4403; Mn porphyrins; SOD mimics; cancer; protein cysteine oxidation; radioprotection

[Available on 2019-12-01]

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