The role of bystander effects in the antitumor activity of the hypoxia-activated prodrug PR-104

Annika Foehrenbacher, Kashyap Patel, Maria Rosaria Abbattista, Christopher P Guise, Timothy W Secomb, William Robert Wilson, Kevin O Hicks

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Activation of prodrugs in tumors (e.g., by bioreduction in hypoxic zones) has the potential to generate active metabolites that can diffuse within the tumor microenvironment. Such bystander effects may offset spatial heterogeneity in prodrug activation but the relative importance of this effect is not understood. Here, we quantify the contribution of bystander effects to antitumor activity for the first time, by developing a spatially resolved pharmacokinetic/pharmacodynamic (SR-PK/PD) model for PR-104, a phosphate ester pre-prodrug that is converted systemically to the hypoxia-activated prodrug PR-104A. Using Green s function methods we calculated concentrations of oxygen, PR-104A and its active metabolites, and resultant cell killing, at each point of a mapped three-dimensional tumor microregion. Model parameters were determined in vitro, using single cell suspensions to determine relationships between PR-104A metabolism and clonogenic cell killing, and multicellular layer (MCL) cultures to measure tissue diffusion coefficients. LC-MS/MS detection of active metabolites in the extracellular medium following exposure of anoxic single cell suspensions and MCLs to PR-104A confirmed that metabolites can diffuse out of cells and through a tissue-like environment. The SR-PK/PD model estimated that bystander effects contribute 30 and 50 of PR-104 activity in SiHa and HCT116 tumors, respectively. Testing the model by modulating PR-104A-activating reductases and hypoxia in tumor xenografts showed overall clonogenic killing broadly consistent with model predictions. Overall, our data suggest that bystander effects are important in PR-104 antitumor activity, although their reach may be limited by macroregional heterogeneity in hypoxia and reductase expression in tumors. The reported computational and experimental techniques are broadly applicable to all targeted anticancer prodrugs and could be used to identify strategies for rational prodrug optimization.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1 - 18
Number of pages18
JournalFrontiers in Oncology
Issue numberArticle number 00263
Publication statusPublished - 2013
Externally publishedYes

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