Brostallicin (PNU-166196) - A new DNa minor groove binder that retains sensitivity in DNa mismatch repair-deficient tumour cells

A. Fedier, C. Fowst, J. Tursi, C. Geroni, U. Haller, S. Marchini, D. Fink

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Defects in DNA mismatch repair (MMR) are associated with a predisposition to tumorigenesis and with drug resistance owing to high mutation rates and failure to engage DNA-damage-induced apoptosis. DNA minor groove binders (MGBs) are a class of anticancer agents highly effective in a variety of human cancers. Owing to their mode of action, DNA MGB-induced DNA damage may be a substrate for DNA MMR. This study was aimed at investigating the effect of loss of MMR on the sensitivity to brostallicin (PNU-166196), a novel synthetic α-bromoacrylic, second-generation DNA MGB currently in Phase II clinical trials and structurally related to distamycin A. Brostallicin activity was compared to a benzoyl mustard derivative of distamycin A (tallimustine). We report that the sensitivities of MLH1-deficient and -proficient HCT116 human colon carcinoma cells were comparable after treatment with brostallicin, while tallimustine resulted in a three times lower cytotoxicity in MLH1-deficient than in -proficient cells. MSH2-deficient HEC59 parental endometrial adenocarcinoma cells were as sensitive as the proficient HEC59 + ch2 cells after brostallicin treatment, but were 1.8-fold resistant after tallimustine treatment as compared to the MSH2-proficient HEC59 + ch2 counterpart. In addition, p53-deficient mouse fibroblasts lacking PMS2 were as sensitive to brostallicin as PMS2-proficient cells, but were 1.6-fold resistant to tallimustine. Loss of neither ATM nor DNA-PK affected sensitivity to brostallicin in p53-deficient mouse embryonic fibroblasts, ndicating that brostallicin-induced cytotoxicity in a p53-deficient genetic background does not seem to require these kinases. These data show that, unlike other DNA MGBs, MMR-deficient cells retain their sensitivity to this new α-bromoacrylic derivative, indicating that brostallicin-induced cytotoxicity does not depend on functional DNA MMR. Since DNA MMR deficiency is common in numerous types of tumours, brostallicin potentially offers the advantage of being effective against MMR-defective tumours that are refractory to several anticancer agents.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1559-1565
Number of pages7
JournalBritish Journal of Cancer
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - Oct 20 2003


  • Brostallicin
  • DNA minor groove binder
  • DNA mismatch repair
  • Drug sensitivity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cancer Research
  • Oncology


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