Dinitroazetidines are a novel class of anticancer agents and hypoxia-activated radiation sensitizers developed from highly energetic materials.

Shoucheng Ning, Mark Bednarski, Bryan Oronsky, Jan Scicinski, Gordon Saul, Susan J Knox
Cancer research2012
In an effort to develop cancer therapies that maximize cytotoxicity, while minimizing unwanted side effects, we studied a series of novel compounds based on the highly energetic heterocyclic scaffold, dinitroazetidine. In this study, we report the preclinical validation of 1-bromoacetyl-3,3-dinitroazetidine (ABDNAZ), a representative lead compound currently in a phase I clinical trial in patients with cancer. In tumor cell culture, ABDNAZ generated reactive free radicals in a concentration- and time-dependent manner, modulating intracellular redox status and triggering apoptosis. When administered to mice as a single agent, ABDNAZ exhibited greater cytotoxicity than cisplatin or tirapazamine under hypoxic conditions. However, compared with cisplatin, ABDNAZ was better tolerated at submaximal doses, yielding significant tumor growth inhibition in the absence of systemic toxicity. Similarly, when combined with radiation, ABDNAZ accentuated antitumor efficacy along with the therapeutic index. Toxicity studies indicated that ABDNAZ was not myelosuppressive and no dose-limiting toxicity was apparent following daily administration for 14 days. Taken together, our findings offer preclinical proof-of-concept for ABDNAZ as a promising new anticancer agent with a favorable toxicity profile, either as a chemotherapeutic agent or a radiosensitizer.

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