Selective Tumor Hypoxia Targeting by Hypoxia-Activated Prodrug TH-302 Inhibits Tumor Growth in Preclinical Models of Cancer

Threshold Pharmaceuticals, South San Francisco, California 94080, USA.
Clinical Cancer Research (Impact Factor: 8.72). 12/2011; 18(3):758-70. DOI: 10.1158/1078-0432.CCR-11-1980
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Tumor hypoxia underlies treatment failure and yields a more aggressive, invasive, and metastatic cancer phenotype. TH-302 is a 2-nitroimidazole triggered hypoxia-activated prodrug of the cytotoxin bromo-isophosphoramide mustard (Br-IPM). The purpose of this study is to characterize the antitumor activity of TH-302 and investigate its selective targeting of the hypoxic cells in human tumor xenograft models.
Antitumor efficacy was assessed by tumor growth kinetics or by clonogenic survival of isolated cells after tumor excision. Hypoxic fractions (HF) were determined by immunohistochemistry and morphometrics of pimonidazole staining. Tumor hypoxia levels were manipulated by exposing animals to different oxygen concentration breathing conditions. The localization and kinetics of TH-302 induced DNA damage was determined by γH2AX immunohistochemistry.
TH-302 antitumor activity was dose-dependent and correlated with total drug exposure. Correlation was found between antitumor activity and tumor HF across 11 xenograft models. Tumor-bearing animals breathing 95% O(2) exhibited attenuated TH-302 efficacy, with whereas those breathing 10% O(2) exhibited enhanced TH-302 efficacy, both compared with air (21% O(2)) breathing. TH-302 treatment resulted in a reduction in the volume of the HF 48 hours after dosing and a corresponding increase in the necrotic fraction. TH-302 induced DNA damage as measured by γH2AX was initially only present in the hypoxic regions and then radiated to the entire tumor in a time-dependent manner, consistent with TH-302 having a "bystander effect."
The results show that TH-302 has broad antitumor activity and selectively targets hypoxic tumor tissues.

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    ABSTRACT: One of the most challenging and clinically important goals in nanomedicine is to deliver imaging and therapeutic agents to solid tumors. Here we discuss the recent design and development of stimuli-responsive smart nanoparticles for targeting the common attributes of solid tumors such as their acidic and hypoxic microenvironments. This class of stimuli-responsive nanoparticles is inactive during blood circulation and under normal physiological conditions, but is activated by acidic pH, enzymatic up-regulation, or hypoxia once they extravasate into the tumor microenvironment. The nanoparticles are often designed to first "navigate" the body's vascular system, "dock" at the tumor sites, and then "activate" for action inside the tumor interstitial space. They combine the favorable biodistribution and pharmacokinetic properties of nanodelivery vehicles and the rapid diffusion and penetration properties of smaller drug cargos. By targeting the broad tumor habitats rather than tumor-specific receptors, this strategy has the potential to overcome the tumor heterogeneity problem and could be used to design diagnostic and therapeutic nanoparticles for a broad range of solid tumors. Copyright © 2015. Published by Elsevier B.V.
    Journal of Controlled Release 09/2015; DOI:10.1016/j.jconrel.2015.08.050 · 7.71 Impact Factor
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    • "This is exemplified by the development of highly active compounds that selectively target hypoxic regions within solid tumors [12]. TH-302 is a newly developed hypoxia-activated DNA crosslinking pro-drug that displays potent hypoxia-dependent cytotoxicity both in vitro and in preclinical cancer models [13] [14] [15]. TH-302 is currently being evaluated in phase I/II clinical trials for the treatment of solid tumors as a single agent and in combination with conventional therapies [16]. "
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    ABSTRACT: Tumor hypoxia is a major cause of treatment failure for a variety of malignancies. However, tumor hypoxia also offers treatment opportunities, exemplified by the development compounds that target hypoxic regions within tumors. TH-302 is a pro-drug created by the conjugation of 2-nitroimidazole to bromo-isophosphoramide (Br-IPM). When TH-302 is delivered to regions of hypoxia, Br-IPM, the DNA cross linking toxin, is released. In this study we assessed the cytotoxic activity of TH-302 against osteosarcoma cells in vitro and evaluated its anticancer efficacy as a single agent, and in combination with doxorubicin, in an orthotopic mouse model of human osteosarcoma (OS). In vitro, TH-302 was potently cytotoxic to osteosarcoma cells selectively under hypoxic conditions, whereas primary normal human osteoblasts were protected. Animals transplanted with OS cells directly into their tibiae and left untreated developed mixed osteolytic/osteosclerotic bone lesions and subsequently developed lung metastases. TH-302 reduced tumor burden in bone and cooperated with doxorubicin to protect bone from osteosarcoma induced bone destruction, while it also reduced lung metastases. TH-302 may therefore be an attractive therapeutic agent with strong activity as a single agent and in combination with chemotherapy against OS. Crown Copyright © 2014. Published by Elsevier Ireland Ltd. All rights reserved.
    Cancer Letters 11/2014; 357(1). DOI:10.1016/j.canlet.2014.11.020 · 5.62 Impact Factor
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    • "In contrast, hypoxic conditions facilitate fragmentation of the prodrug to release the Br-IPM moiety (Figure S1 in File S1) [20]. Once activated, the Br-IPM moiety can efficiently induce intramolecular 1′ 3′-cross-linkage of DNA, resulting in S139 phosphorylation of histone H2AX and ultimately causing tumor cell death [20]–[21]. "
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    ABSTRACT: BackgroundTH-302 is a hypoxia-activated prodrug (HAP) of bromo isophosphoramide mustard that is selectively activated within hypoxic regions in solid tumors. Our recent study showed that intravenously administered bolus pyruvate can transiently induce hypoxia in tumors. We investigated the mechanism underlying the induction of transient hypoxia and the combination use of pyruvate to potentiate the anti-tumor effect of TH-302.Methodology/ResultsThe hypoxia-dependent cytotoxicity of TH-302 was evaluated by a viability assay in murine SCCVII and human HT29 cells. Modulation in cellular oxygen consumption and in vivo tumor oxygenation by the pyruvate treatment was monitored by extracellular flux analysis and electron paramagnetic resonance (EPR) oxygen imaging, respectively. The enhancement of the anti-tumor effect of TH-302 by pyruvate treatment was evaluated by monitoring the growth suppression of the tumor xenografts inoculated subcutaneously in mice. TH-302 preferentially inhibited the growth of both SCCVII and HT29 cells under hypoxic conditions (0.1% O2), with minimal effect under aerobic conditions (21% O2). Basal oxygen consumption rates increased after the pyruvate treatment in SCCVII cells in a concentration-dependent manner, suggesting that pyruvate enhances the mitochondrial respiration to consume excess cellular oxygen. In vivo EPR oxygen imaging showed that the intravenous administration of pyruvate globally induced the transient hypoxia 30 min after the injection in SCCVII and HT29 tumors at the size of 500–1500 mm3. Pretreatment of SCCVII tumor bearing mice with pyruvate 30 min prior to TH-302 administration, initiated with small tumors (∼550 mm3), significantly delayed tumor growth.Conclusions/SignificanceOur in vitro and in vivo studies showed that pyruvate induces transient hypoxia by enhancing mitochondrial oxygen consumption in tumor cells. TH-302 therapy can be potentiated by pyruvate pretreatment if started at the appropriate tumor size and oxygen concentration.
    PLoS ONE 09/2014; 9(9):e107995. DOI:10.1371/journal.pone.0107995 · 3.23 Impact Factor
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