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Tumor hypoxia is associated with therapy resistance and poor patient prognosis. Hypoxia-activated prodrugs, designed to selectively target hypoxic cells while sparing normal tissue, represent a promising treatment strategy. We report the pre-clinical efficacy of 1-methyl-2-nitroimidazole panobinostat (NI-Pano, CH-03), a novel bioreductive version of the clinically used lysine deacetylase inhibitor, panobinostat. NI-Pano was stable in normoxic (21% O2) conditions and underwent NADPH-CYP-mediated enzymatic bioreduction to release panobinostat in hypoxia (<0.1% O2). Treatment of cells grown in both 2D and 3D with NI-Pano increased acetylation of histone H3 at lysine 9, induced apoptosis, and decreased clonogenic survival. Importantly, NI-Pano exhibited growth delay effects as a single agent in tumor xenografts. Pharmacokinetic analysis confirmed the presence of sub-micromolar concentrations of panobinostat in hypoxic mouse xenografts, but not in circulating plasma or kidneys. Together, our pre-clinical results provide a strong mechanistic rationale for the clinical development of NI-Pano for selective targeting of hypoxic tumors.

Original publication

DOI

10.1016/j.chembiol.2021.04.004

Type

Journal article

Journal

Cell Chem Biol

Publication Date

22/04/2021

Keywords

HAP, HDAC, KDAC, hypoxia