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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Hypoxia-selective antitumor agents. 1. Relationships between structure, redox properties and hypoxia-selective cytotoxicity for 4-substituted derivatives of nitracrine.

The nitroacridine derivative 9-[[3-(dimethylamino)propyl]amino]-1-nitroacridine (nitracrine) is selectively cytotoxic to hypoxic tumor cells in culture. However, the compound undergoes reductive metabolism too rapidly, with the reduction not being sufficiently inhibited by molecular oxygen in aerobic tissues, for it to demonstrate the same activity in vivo. In a search for derivatives with lower reduction potentials, we have synthesized and evaluated a series of derivatives bearing 4-substituents with a wide range of electronic properties. The one-electron reduction potentials (E(1] of these compounds, when compared under conditions of equivalent ionization, were highly correlated with sigma p values. However, at pH 7 the influence of substituent electronic properties was modified by prototrophic equilibria, with the basic nature of the acridine limiting the extent to which ring substituent electronic effects can be used to modulate reduction potential of the 1-nitro group. Nevertheless, comparison of the kinetics of the killing of AA8 cells under hypoxia suggests that some metabolic stabilization of the compounds can be achieved by the use of electron-donating substituents, with such compounds retaining the hypoxia-selective toxicity of nitracrine in cell culture. However, the 4-substituted nitracrines show no clear relationship between E(1) and cytotoxic potency, in distinct contrast to simpler nitroheterocycles such as nitroimidazoles.[1]


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