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Cancer Metastasis Rev. 1993 Jun;12(2):165-76.

Cellular pharmacology of quinone bioreductive alkylating agents.

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Yale University School of Medicine, Department of Therapeutic Radiology, New Haven, CT 06510-8040.


The cellular pharmacology of the mitomycin bioreductive alkylating agents is complex. This reflects in part the chemical characteristics of these quinones, which have multiple sites of reactivity and the capacity to produce a large number of different lesions of biological importance. Moreover, at least six different enzymes are capable of activating these compounds; the nature of the active species and the resultant biological lesions can vary with the activating enzyme. The relative activities of these reductases vary in different cell lines and can be modulated by pH and oxygenation. The effects of a quinone bioreductive alkylating agent therefore depend upon both the cell line and the microenvironment. DNA damage appears to be critical to the cytotoxic effects of these compounds. Both monoadducts and bis-adducts (forming interstrand and intrastrand cross-links) have been identified in DNA from drug-treated cells. The pattern of adduct formation varies with the compound and the environment. Alkaline elution studies suggest a correlation between DNA cross-linking and cytotoxicity, both in air and in hypoxia. The rate of production of oxygen radicals and the importance of radical reactions in producing cytotoxic damage vary for different quinones and for different environments. While the potency of the bioreductive quinones varies with their redox potential, the direction and magnitude of the oxic/hypoxic differential cannot yet be predicted from the structures.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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