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1.  In Vivo Quantification of Active Decitabine-Triphosphate Metabolite: A Novel Pharmacoanalytical Endpoint for Optimization of Hypomethylating Therapy in Acute Myeloid Leukemia 
The AAPS Journal  2012;15(1):242-249.
Decitabine (DAC) is used for treatment of patients with myelodysplastic syndromes and acute myeloid leukemia (AML). Following cellular uptake, DAC is activated to DAC-triphosphate (TP) and incorporated into DNA. Once incorporated into the DNA, DAC-TP binds and inactivates DNA methyltransferases (DNMTs), thereby leading to hypomethylation and re-expression of epigenetically silenced tumor suppressor genes and ultimately antileukemia activity. However, direct evidence of in vivo DAC-TP occurrence in DAC-treated patients has been difficult to demonstrate due to a lack of suitable validated analytical methodology. Thus, we developed and validated a nonradioactive sensitive and specific LC-MS/MS assay for quantification of DAC-TP. The assay is linear from 50 to 1,000 nM and from 1 to 10 μM and has a lower limit of quantitation of 50 nM and a coefficient of variation for both within- and between-day precision <20%. Following DAC treatment, we detected DAC-TP in parental and DAC-resistant AML cells (in vitro) and bone marrow (BM) and spleen of normal and leukemic mice (in vivo). Downregulation of DNMTs and correlation of DAC-TP concentration with proteins involved in mechanisms of DAC resistance were also demonstrated. The clinical applicability of this method was proven by measuring DAC-TP level in BM and blood mononuclear cells from DAC-treated AML patients. Higher levels are seemingly associated with clinical response. Monitoring the DAC-TP intracellular level may serve as a novel pharmacological endpoint for designing more effective DAC-based regimens.
doi:10.1208/s12248-012-9427-5
PMCID: PMC3535094  PMID: 23180159
acute myeloid leukemia; decitabine; metabolite; quantification method; triphosphate
2.  Characterization of Silvestrol Pharmacokinetics in Mice Using Liquid Chromatography–Tandem Mass Spectrometry 
The AAPS Journal  2011;13(3):347-356.
A sensitive and specific liquid chromatography–tandem mass spectrometry method was developed and validated for the quantification of the plant natural product silvestrol in mice, using ansamitocin P-3 as the internal standard. The method was validated in plasma with a lower limit of quantification of 1 ng/mL, accuracy ranging from 87 to 114%, and precision (coefficient of variation) below 15%. The validated method was used to characterize pharmacokinetics in C57BL/6 mice and metabolism in mouse, human and rat plasma, and liver microsomes. Mice were dosed with silvestrol formulated in hydroxypropyl-β-cyclodextrin via intravenous, intraperitoneal, and oral routes followed by blood sampling up to 24 h. Intraperitoneal systemic availability was 100%, but oral administration resulted in only 1.7% bioavailability. Gradual degradation of silvestrol was observed in mouse and human plasma, with approximately 60% of the parent drug remaining after 6 h. In rat plasma, however, silvestrol was completely converted to silvestric acid (SA) within 10 min. Evaluation in microsomes provided further evidence that the main metabolite formed was SA, which subsequently showed no cytotoxic or cytostatic activity in a silvestrol-sensitive lymphoblastic cell line. The ability of the analytical assay to measure tissue levels of silvestrol was evaluated in liver, brain, kidney, and spleen. Results indicated the method was capable of accurately measuring tissue levels of silvestrol and suggested it has a relatively low distribution to brain. Together, these data suggest an overall favorable pharmacokinetic profile of silvestrol in mice and provide crucial information for its continued development toward potential clinical testing.
doi:10.1208/s12248-011-9273-x
PMCID: PMC3160157  PMID: 21499689
liquid chromatography–tandem mass spectrometry; mouse plasma; pharmacokinetics; silvestrol
3.  Biochemical Modulation of Aracytidine (Ara-C) Effects by GTI-2040, a Ribonucleotide Reductase Inhibitor, in K562 Human Leukemia Cells 
The AAPS Journal  2010;13(1):131-140.
GTI-2040 is a potent antisense to the M2 subunit of the ribonucleotide reductase (RNR), an enzyme involved in the de novo synthesis of nucleoside triphosphates. We hypothesized that combination of GTI-2040 with the cytarabine (Ara-C) could result in an enhanced cytotoxic effect with perturbed intracellular deoxynucleotide/nucleotide (dNTP/NTP) pools including Ara-C triphosphate (Ara-CTP). This study aims to provide a direct experimental support of this hypothesis by monitoring the biochemical modulation effects, intracellular levels of Ara-CTP, dNTPs/NTPs following the combination treatment of Ara-C, and GTI-2040 in K562 human leukemia cells. GTI-2040 was introduced into cells via electroporation. A hybridization–ligation ELISA was used to quantify intracellular GTI-2040 concentrations. Real-time PCR and Western blot methods were used to measure the RNR M2 mRNA and protein levels, respectively. 3-(4,5-Dimethylthiazol-2-yl)-5-(3-carboxymethoxyphenyl)-2-(4-sulfophenyl)-2H-tetrazolium, inner salt assay was used to measure the cytotoxicity following various drug treatments. A non-radioactive HPLC-UV method was used for measuring the intracellular Ara-CTP, while a LC-MS/MS method was used to quantify intracellular dNTP/NTP pools. GTI-2040 was found to downregulate M2 mRNA and protein levels in a dose-dependent manner and showed significant decrease in dNTP but not NTP pool. When combining GTI-2040 with Ara-C, a synergistic cytotoxicity was observed with no further change in dNTP/NTP pools. Importantly, pretreatment of K562 cells with GTI-2040 was found to increase Ara-CTP level for the first time, and this effect may be due to inhibition of RNR by GTI-2040. This finding provides a laboratory justification for the current phase I/II evaluation of GTI-2040 in combination with Ara-C in patients with acute myeloid leukemia.
doi:10.1208/s12248-010-9246-5
PMCID: PMC3032096  PMID: 21191677
Ara-CTP; GTI-2040; HPLC-UV
4.  A Novel Ultrasensitive Hybridization-Based ELISA Method for 2-Methoxyphosphorothiolate MicroRNAs and Its In vitro and In vivo Application 
The AAPS Journal  2010;12(4):556-568.
MicroRNAs (miRNAs) are endogenous, small non-coding RNAs that bind to target mRNAs and regulate their expression. Recent evidence has indicated the involvement of miRNAs in human malignancies. It has been suggested that aberrantly down-regulated or up-regulated miRNAs may be replaced with synthetic miRNAs or antagomiRNAs, respectively, and restore normal cell functions. As therapeutic development requires analytical support, we developed and validated an ultrasensitive and selective assay for quantification of synthetic 2′-methoxyphosphorothiolate-miRNA in mouse plasma and cell lysate for the first time. The method is based on a hybridization-ligation fluorescence enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay and has provided a linear dynamic range of 10-1,000,000 pM for three synthetic miRNAs both singly and in a mixture. The intra- and inter-day coefficients of variation were <20% and the accuracy values nearly 100%. Using this assay, we performed pharmacokinetic studies of three synthetic miRNAs in mice treated with a single i.v. bolus dose of 7.5 mg kg−1. The 2-methoxyphosphorothiolate-miRNAs reached peak concentrations in the μM and nM ranges in plasma and bone marrow, respectively, and remained measurable at 24 h. These concentrations are in a range that shows biological activities. We conclude that this method provides a general and valuable tool for the pharmacologic study and clinical development of synthetic miRNAs.
doi:10.1208/s12248-010-9214-0
PMCID: PMC2976995  PMID: 20625866
ELISA; 2′-MeOPSmiRNAs; quantification; pharmacokinetics
5.  Metabolism of GTI-2040, a phosphorothioate oligonucleotide antisense, using ion-pair reversed phase high performance liquid chromatography (HPLC) coupled with electrospray ion-trap mass spectrometry 
The AAPS Journal  2006;8(4):E743-E755.
GTI-2040 is a 20-mer phosphorothioate oligonucleotide, which is complementary to the messenger ribonucleic acid (mRNA) of the R2 subunit of ribonucleotide reductase. This study characterized both the in vivo and in vitro metabolism of GTI-2040. A highly specific ion-pair reversed-phase electrospray ionization (IP-RP-ESI) liquid chromatographymass spectrometry (LC-MS) method was used for the identification of GTI-2040 and metabolites from a variety of biological samples including exonuclease enzyme solutions, plasma, urine, mouse liver/kidney homogenates, and human liver microsomes. Progressively chain-shortened metabolites trucated from the 3′ terminal of GTI-2040 were detected in all of the evaluated biological samples. GTI-2040 was found to be a good substrate for 3′ but not 5′ exonuclease. While the pattern of n-1 chain-shortened 3′-exonucleolytic degradation was similar in the mouse liver and kidney homogenates, the latter was found to contain a larger number of shortenmers, the kidneys appeared to possess higher enzymatic reactivity toward GTI-2040. Thus, metabolism of GTI-2040 was found to occur in a variety of biological samples, mainly mediated by the 3′ exonuclease.
doi:10.1208/aapsj080484
PMCID: PMC2751371  PMID: 17285740
Metabolism; phosphorothioate oligonucleotides; GTI-2040; liquid chromatography/mass spectrometry

Results 1-5 (5)