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1.  Clinicopathological features and prognostic roles of KRAS, BRAF, PIK3CA and NRAS mutations in advanced gastric cancer 
BMC Research Notes  2014;7:271.
RAS-RAF-MEK-ERK and PI3K-AKT pathways form a significant cascade for potential molecular target therapy in advanced cancer. The clinical significance of mutations in these genes in advanced gastric cancer (AGC) is uncertain.
We collected formalin-fixed, paraffin-embedded and fresh frozen tumor samples from AGC patients and analyzed the KRAS, NRAS, BRAF and PIK3CA mutations by direct-sequencing. We retrospectively investigated the clinicopathological features of these mutations in AGC patients, and selected patients with metastatic gastric cancer.
Among 167 AGC patients, mutations of KRAS codons 12/13 (N = 8/164, 4.9%), PIK3CA (N = 9/163, 5.5%), and NRAS codon 12/13(N = 3/159, 1.9%) were detected. Comparison of the clinicopathological features of the mutated KRAS, PIK3CA, NRAS genes with an all-wild type of these genes showed that the frequency of the intestinal type was significantly higher in patients whose tumor tissue contained KRAS mutations (P = 0.014). Among 125 patients with metastatic gastric cancer, patients with NRAS codon 12/13 mutations in their tumors had shorter overall survival compared with NRAS wild-type patients (MST: 14.7 vs 8.8 months, P = 0.011). By multivariate analyses, NRAS codon 12/13 mutation was an indicator for poor prognosis in patients with metastatic gastric cancer (adjusted HR 5.607, 95% CI: 1.637-19.203).
Our study indicated that mutations of KRAS, PIK3CA and NRAS were rare in AGC. NRAS mutations were likely to associate with poor prognosis in metastatic state of AGC patients, but further validation of other research is required.
PMCID: PMC4012089  PMID: 24774510
2.  Role of 2′,6′-Dimethyl-L-Tyrosine (Dmt) in Some Opioid Lead Compounds 
Bioorganic & medicinal chemistry  2010;18(16):6024-6030.
Here we evaluated how the interchange of the amino acids 2′,6′-dimethyl-L-tyrosine (Dmt), 2′,6′-difluoro-L-tyrosine (Dft), and tyrosine in position 1 can affect the pharmacological characterization of some reference opioid peptides and pseudopeptides. Generally, Dft and Tyr provide analogues with a similar pharmacological profile, despite different pKa values. Dmt/Tyr(Dft) replacement gives activity changes depending on the reference opioid in which the modification was made. Whereas, H-Dmt-Tic-Asp*-Bid is a potent and selective δ agonist (MVD, IC50 = 0.12 nM); H-Dft-Tic-Asp*-Bid and H-Tyr-Tic-Asp*-Bid are potent and selective δ antagonists (pA2 = 8.95 and 8.85, respectively). When these amino acids are employed in the synthesis of deltorphin B and its Dmt1 and Dft1 analogues, the three compounds maintain a very similar δ agonism (MVD, IC50 0.32–0.53 nM) with a decrease in selectivity relative to the Dmt1 analogue. In the less selective H-Dmt-Tic-Gly*-Bid the replacement of Dmt with Dft and Tyr retains the δ agonism but with a decrease in potency. Antagonists containing the Dmt-Tic pharmacophore do not support the exchange of Dmt with Dft or Tyr.
PMCID: PMC2918654  PMID: 20637637
Dmt-Tic pharmacophore; opioid peptides; opioid receptors; δ opioid agonists; UFP-512; δ opioid antagonists
3.  Novel multiple opioid ligands based on 4-aminobenzazepinone (Aba), azepinoindole (Aia) and tetrahydroisoquinoline (Tic) scaffolds 
The dimerization and trimerization of the Dmt-Tic, Dmt-Aia and Dmt-Aba pharmacophores provided multiple ligands which were evaluated in vitro for opioid receptor binding and functional activity. Whereas the Tic- and Aba multimers proved to be dual and balanced δ/μ antagonists, as determined by the functional [S35]GTPγS binding assay, the dimerization of potent Aia-based ‘parent’ ligands unexpectedly resulted in substantial less efficient receptor binding and non-active dimeric compounds.
PMCID: PMC2840614  PMID: 20137938
4.  Further Studies on Lead Compounds Containing the Opioid Pharmacophore Dmt-Tic 
Journal of medicinal chemistry  2008;51(16):5109-5117.
Opioids containing the Dmt-Tic pharmacophore, especially the δ agonists H-Dmt-Tic-Gly-NH-Ph 1 and H-Dmt-Tic-NH-(S)CH(CH2-COOH)-Bid 4 (UFP-512) were evaluated for the influence of the substitution of Gly with aspartic acid, its chirality, and the importance of the – NH-Ph and N1H-Bid hydrogens relative to δ agonism. The results provide the following conclusions: (i) Asp increases δ selectivity by lowering μ affinity; (ii) -NH-Ph and N1H-Bid nitrogen methylation transforms δ agonists into δ antagonists; (iii) substitution of Gly with L-Asp/D-Asp in the δ agonist H-Dmt-Tic-Gly-NH-Ph resulted in δ antagonists, while the same substitution in the δ agonist H-Dmt-Tic-NH-CH2-Bid yielded more selective δ agonists, H-Dmt-Tic-NH-(S)CH(CH2-COOH)-Bid and H-Dmt-Tic-NH-(R)CH(CH2-COOH)-Bid; (iv) L-Asp seems important only for functional bioactivity, not receptor affinity; (v) H-Dmt-Tic-NH-(S)CH(CH2-COOH)-Bid(N1-Me) (10) revealed analgesia similar to 4, which was reversed by naltrindole only in the tail-flick test. Compounds 4 and 10 had opposite behaviours in mice: 4 caused agitation, while 10 gave sedation and convulsions.
PMCID: PMC2812024  PMID: 18680274
5.  Bifunctional [2’,6’-Dimethyl-l-tyrosine1]Endomorphin-2 Analogues Substituted at Position 3 with Alkylated Phenylalanine Derivatives Yield Potent Mixed μ-Agonist/δ-Antagonist and Dual μ-/δ-Agonist Opioid Ligands 
Journal of medicinal chemistry  2007;50(12):2753-2766.
Endomorphin-2 (H-Tyr-Pro-Phe-Phe-NH2) and [Dmt1]EM-2 (Dmt = 2’,6’-dimethyl-l-tyrosine) analogues were synthesized containing alkylated Phe3 derivatives, 2’-monomethyl (2, 2’), 3’,5’- and 2’,6’-dimethyl (3, 3’, and 4’, respectively), 2’,4’,6’-trimethyl (6, 6’), 2’-ethyl-6’-methyl (7, 7’) and 2’-isopropyl-6’-methyl (8, 8’) groups or Dmt (5, 5’). They had the following characteristics: (i) [Xaa3]EM-2 analogues improved μ- and δ-opioid receptor affinities, the latter were inconsequential (Kiδ= 491–3,451 nM); (ii) [Dmt1,Xaa3]EM-2 analogues enhanced μ- and δ-opioid receptor affinities (Kiμ = 0.069–0.32 nM; Kiδ = 1.83–99.8 nM) and lacked interaction with κ-opioid receptors, and (iii) elevated μ-bioactivity (IC50 = 0.12–14.4 nM) and abolished δ-agonism (IC50 > 10 µM; 2’, 3’, 4’, 5’, 6’); however, 4’ and 6’ exhibited mixed μ-agonism/δ-antagonism (4’: IC50μ = 0.12, pA2 = 8.15; 6’: IC50μ = 0.21 nM, pA2 = 9.05), and 7’ was a dual μ-/δ -agonist (IC50μ = 0.17 nM; IC50δ = 0.51 nM). Alteration of EM-2 activity by Dmt1 and alkylated Phe3 residues retained μ-receptor bioactivity and formed dual μ-/δ -agonists and mixed μ-agonists/δ-antagonists.
PMCID: PMC2669435  PMID: 17497839
6.  Synthesis of a potent and selective 18F-labeled δ-opioid receptor antagonist derived from the Dmt-Tic pharmacophore for PET imaging 
Journal of medicinal chemistry  2008;51(6):1817-1823.
H-Dmt-Tic-ε-Lys(Z)-OH (1) was used in the synthesis of 18F-labeled opioids for positron emission tomography (PET) imaging by coupling N-succinimidyl-4-[18F]fluorobenzoate ([18F]SFB) with Boc-Dmt-Tic-ε-Lys(Z)-OH under slightly basic conditions at 37 °C for 15 min, deprotected with TFA and HPLC purification in 120 min with a decay-corrected radiochemical 25–30% yield of [18F]-1 (n = 5) and specific activity ca. 46 GBq/µmol. Autoradiography uptake of [18F]-1 in striatum and cortex was blocked by 1 and UFP-501 demonstrating specific binding to δ-opioid receptors. MicroPET imaging revealed the absence of [18F]-1 in rat brain, suggesting its suitability for imaging peripheral δ-opioid receptors.
PMCID: PMC2667121  PMID: 18311909
7.  Role of Benzimidazole (Bid) in the δ Opioid Agonist Pseudopeptide H-Dmt-Tic-NH-CH2-Bid (UFP-502) 
Bioorganic & medicinal chemistry  2007;16(6):3032-3038.
H-Dmt-Tic-NH-CH2-Bid (UFP-502) was the first δ opioid agonist prepared from the Dmt-Tic pharmacophore. It showed interesting pharmacological properties, such as stimulation of mRNA BDNF expression, and antidepression. To evaluate the importance of 1H-benzimidazol-2-yl (Bid) in the induction of δ agonism, it was substituted by similar heterocycles: The substitution of NH(1) by O or S, transforms the reference δ agonist into δ antagonists. Phenyl ring of benzimidazole is not important for δ agonism; in fact 1H-imidazole-2-yl retains δ agonist activity.
PMCID: PMC2390930  PMID: 18178091
8.  Synthesis of 3,6-bis[H-Tyr/H-Dmt-NH(CH2)m,n]-2(1H)pyrazinone derivatives: function of alkyl chain length on opioid activity 
Dimeric opioid analogues linked to a pyrazinone platform, 3-[Tyr-NH(CH2)m]-6-[Tyr-NH(CH2)n]-2(1H)-pyrazinone (n, m = 3 or 4) and their corresponding Dmt derivatives were synthesized. Whereas the Try-containing compounds were essentially inactive, the Dmt derivatives exhibited high affinity for the µ-opioid receptor (Kiµ; 0.021–0.051 nM) with corresponding agonism (IC50 = 1.79–4.93 nM). Interestingly, while one compound (m = 4, n = 3) revealed modest δ-agonism, the converse analogue (m = 3, n = 4) was inactive. The data suggest that the spatial conformation, linker length and covalent bonding position on the pyrazinone ring are important for opioid activity.
PMCID: PMC2636969  PMID: 16949282
9.  Effect of Lysine at C-Terminus of the Dmt-Tic Opioid Pharmacophore 
Journal of medicinal chemistry  2006;49(18):5610-5617.
Substitution of Gly with side-chain protected or unprotected Lys in lead compounds containing the opioid pharmacophore Dmt-Tic [H-Dmt-Tic-Gly-NH-CH2-Ph, μ agonist / δ antagonist; H-Dmt-Tic-Gly-NH-Ph, μ agonist / δ agonist and H-Dmt-Tic-NH-CH2-Bid, δ agonist (Bid = 1H-benzimidazole-2-yl)] yielded a new series of compounds endowed with distinct pharmacological activities. Compounds (1-10) included high δ- (Kiδ = 0.068-0.64 nM) and μ-opioid affinities (Kiδ = 0.13-5.50 nM) with a bioactivity that ranged from μ-opioid agonism {10, H-Dmt-Tic-NH-CH[(CH2)4-NH2]-Bid (IC50 GPI = 39.7 nM)} to a selective μ-opioid antagonist [3, H-Dmt-Tic-Lys-NH-CH2-Ph (pA2μ = 7.96)] and a selective δ-opioid antagonist [5, H-Dmt-Tic-Lys(Ac)-NH-Ph (pA2δ = 12.0)]. The presence of a Lys linker provides new lead compounds in the formation of opioid peptidomimetics containing the Dmt-Tic pharmacophore with distinct agonist and / or antagonist properties.
PMCID: PMC2533050  PMID: 16942034
10.  Further Studies on the Effect of Lysine at the C-Terminus of the Dmt-Tic Opioid Pharmacophore 
Bioorganic & medicinal chemistry  2007;15(9):3143-3151.
A wide range of bioactivities are induced by Lys when introduced at the C-terminus of the δ-opioid Dmt-Tic pharmacophore through the α-amine group, such as improved δ-antagonism, and presence of μ-agonism and μ-antagonism. We report the synthesis of a new series of compounds with the general formula H-Dmt-Tic-NH-(CH2)4-CH(R)-R’ (R = -NH2, -NH-Ac, -NH-Z; R’ = CO-NH-Ph, -CO-NH-CH2-Ph, -Bid) in which Lys is linked to Dmt-Tic through its amine group side chain. The compounds (1-9) displayed a potent and selective δ-antagonism (pA2 = 7.81-8.27) independent of the functionalized α-amine and carboxylic groups of the C-terminal Lys. This suggests direct application as a prototype intermediate, such as Boc-Dmt-Tic-ε-Lys(Z)-OMe, which could be applied in the synthesis (after Z or methyl ester removal) of unique “designed multiple ligands” containing the pharmacophore of the quintessential δ-antagonist Dmt-Tic and another opioid or biologically active non-opioid ligand.
PMCID: PMC2377021  PMID: 17339114
11.  Design and Synthesis of Opioidmimetics Containing 2′,6′-Dimethyl-l-tyrosine and a Pyrazinone-Ring Platform 
Twelve 2′,6′-dimethyl-l-tyrosine (Dmt) analogues linked to a pyrazinone platform were synthesized as 3- or 6-[H-Dmt-NH(CH2)n]-3- or 6-R-2(1H)-pyrazinone (n = 1 - 4). 3-[H-Dmt-NH-(CH2)4]-6-β-phenethyl-5-methyl-2(1H)-pyrazinone 11 bound to μ-opioid receptors with high affinity (Kiμ = 0.13 nM; Kiδ/Kiμ = 447) with μ-agonism (GPI IC50 = 15.9 nM) and weak δ-antagonism (MVD pA2 = 6.35). Key factors affecting opioid affinity and functional bioactivity are the length of the aminoalkyl chain linked to Dmt and the nature of the R residue. These data present a simplified method for the formation of pyrazinone opioidmimetics and new lead compounds.
PMCID: PMC2366109  PMID: 17826995
2′,6′-Dimethyl-l-tyrosine; Pyrazinone; μ-Selective opioid ligand; μ-Agonist/δ-Antagonist; μ-Antagonist/δ-Antagonist

Results 1-11 (11)