Development of lipophilic anticancer agents for the treatment of brain tumors by the esterification of water-soluble chlorambucil.
The lipophilic derivatives of the anticancer alkylating agent chlorambucil, chlorambucil-methyl, -isopropyl and -tertiary butyl esters, were synthesized and administered i.v. to anesthetized rats. Plasma and brain concentrations of these agents and of their active metabolites, chlorambucil and phenylacetic mustard, then were determined by high-performance liquid chromatography between 5 and 60 min. Whereas large amounts of chlorambucil-tertiary butyl ester entered and were maintained in brain, lower amounts of chlorambucil-isopropyl ester and no chlorambucil-methyl ester were found in brain. The comparative brain/plasma concentration-time integral ratios of the total active agents generated from chlorambucil-tertiary butyl, -isopropyl and -methyl esters were 0.85, 0.12 and 0.06, respectively, compared to a ratio of 0.02 for chlorambucil. In vitro alkylating activity of each ester was compared to that of equimolar chlorambucil, by reaction with 4-(p-nitrobenzyl)pyridine. Each ester possessed high intrinsic alkylating activity, equal to 38.4, 57.0 and 69.9% of chlorambucil activity, for the -tertiary butyl, -isopropyl and -methyl esters, respectively. Therefore each is an active antineoplastic agent irrespective of whether or not chlorambucil is regenerated. The rates of ester hydrolysis of these derivatives to chlorambucil were measured in fresh rat blood and in liver and brain homogenates at 37 degrees C. Chlorambucil-methyl and -isopropyl esters were hydrolysed quickly within 30 s in blood and liver, whereas chlorambucil-tertiary butyl ester was more stable with half-lives of approximately 7 h and 2 h, respectively. All proved to be relatively stable in brain homogenate. Steric hindrance around the ester linkage of chlorambucil-tertiary butyl ester reduces its affinity to and rate of hydrolysis by plasma and liver esterases, and allows it to accumulate within the brain. Chlorambucil-tertiary butyl ester maintains high levels in brain despite rapidly declining plasma concentrations and, due to these favorable pharmacokinetics and to its intrinsic anticancer activity, it possess promising characteristics for the treatment of malignant brain tumors.
Genka, S; Deutsch, J; Shetty, UH; Stahle, PL; John, V; Lieberburg, IM; Ali-Osman, F; Rapoport, SI; Greig, NH
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