Journal of medicinal chemistry

Development of novel quinone phosphorodiamidate prodrugs targeted to DT-diaphorase.

PMID 10956224


A series of naphthoquinone and benzimidazolequinone phosphorodiamidates has been synthesized and studied as potential cytotoxic prodrugs activated by DT-diaphorase. Reduction of the quinone moiety in the target compounds was expected to provide a pathway for expulsion of the phosphoramide mustard alkylating agent. All of the compounds synthesized were excellent substrates for purified human DT-diaphorase (k(cat)/K(m) = 3 x 10(7) - 3 x 10(8) M(-1) s(-1)). The naphthoquinones were toxic to both HT-29 and BE human colon cancer cell lines in a clonogenic assay; however, cytotoxicity did not correlate with DT-diaphorase activity in these cell lines. The benzimidazolequinone analogues were 1-2 orders of magnitude less cytotoxic than the naphthoquinone analogues. Chemical reduction of the naphthoquinone led to rapid expulsion of the phosphorodiamidate anion; in contrast, the benzimidazole reduction product was stable. Michael addition of glutathione and other sulfur nucleophiles provides an alternate mechanism for activation of the naphthoquinone phosphorodiamidates, and this mechanism may contribute to the cytotoxicity of these compounds.