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

Cytochrome P-450-induced cytotoxicity of mitoxantrone by formation of electrophilic intermediates.

Recent studies of our group have shown that the oxidation of the substituted anthraquinone skeleton is involved in the biotransformation of mitoxantrone. In this report the importance of this process with regard to the mode of action of the drug is investigated. This communication describes a new high performance liquid chromatography separation for mitoxantrone and its metabolites allowing the direct coupling of high performance liquid chromatography to mass spectrometry. Application of this technique to bile of mitoxantrone-treated pigs reveals the formation of several metabolites in addition to the drug-derived compounds found in urine. Seven biliary metabolites are identified as thioether derivatives of mitoxantrone and its side chain oxidation products. Independent synthesis and structural elucidation of 3 thioether conjugates of the drug provides unequivocal evidence that the hydroquinone moiety of mitoxantrone is the site of reaction with glutathione. Furthermore, the formation of the thioether conjugates in HepG2 hepatoma cells and in rat hepatocytes during cell incubations is demonstrated. Inhibition of cytochrome P-450 with metyrapone prevents the formation of the thioether conjugates and leads to a complete loss of the cytotoxicity of mitoxantrone in HepG2 cells and rat hepatocytes up to concentrations of 200 to 400 microM thereby indicating that mitoxantrone has a negligible effect by itself. Rat hepatocytes were found to be more susceptible for the oxidation-induced cytotoxicity than HepG2 cells. These results demonstrate that the acute cytotoxicity of mitoxantrone depends on prior oxidation of its 1,4-dihydroxy-5,8-diaminoanthraquinone moiety.[1]


  1. Cytochrome P-450-induced cytotoxicity of mitoxantrone by formation of electrophilic intermediates. Mewes, K., Blanz, J., Ehninger, G., Gebhardt, R., Zeller, K.P. Cancer Res. (1993) [Pubmed]
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