Studies of the stability and metabolism of tumour inhibitory tetrazinones

  • Lincoln L.H. Tsang

Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisDoctor of Philosophy


Temozolomide is an imidazotetrazinone with antineoplastic properties. It is structurally related to dacarbazine. Temozolomide was not metabolized in vitro by liver fractions. Chemical decomposition appears to play an important r^ole in its in vitro and in vivo disposition. In contrast, 3-methylbenzotriazinone, a structural analogue, was metabolized by hepatic microsomes to afford benzotriazinone and a hydrophilic metabolite. The cytotoxicity of temozolomide, dacarbazine, 5-[3-(hydroxy-methyl-3-methyl-triazen-1-yl]imidazole-5-carboxamide (HMMTIC) and 3-monomethyl-(triazen-1-yl)imidazole-4-carboxamide (MTIC) were investigated in TLX5 murine lymphoma cells. Unlike dacarbazine, which was not toxic, MTIC, HMMTIC and temozolomide were cytotoxic in the absence of microsomes. Decarbazine was only cytotoxic in the presence of microsomes. The formation of MTIC from dacarbazine, HMMTIC and temozolomide was determined by reversed phase high performance liquid chromatography in mixtures incubated under conditions identical to those described before. MTIC was generated chemically from temozolomide and HMMTIC metabolically from dacarbazine. Using [14C]temozolomide, it was found that, in mice, the major route of excretion of the drug is via the kidneys. An acidic metabolite (metabolite I) was found in the urine of mice which had received temozolomide but its identity has not been established. 1H NMR, UV and chemical analyses revealed that Metabolite I possesses an intact NNN linkage and the site of metabolism is at the N3 methyl group. A further acidic metabolite (metabolite II) was found in the urine of patients. Metabolite II was unambiguously identified as the 8-carboxylic acid derivative of temozolomide. In vitro cytotoxicity assay showed that ony metabolite II is cytotoxic but not metabolite I. Pharmacokinetic studies of temozolomide and MTIC in vivo were performed on mice bearing TLX5 tumour. Temozolomide was eliminated from the plasma monophasically with a t1/2 of 0.7hr. MTIC was identified as a product of decomposition. MTIC was eliminated rapidly with a t1/2 of 2min. Though temozolomide shares many biochemical and biological similarities with clinically used dacarbazine, the results obtained in this study show that it differs markedly in its pharmacokinetic properties from dacarbazine, as temozolomide produced relatively sustained plasma levels which were reflected by drug concentrations in the tumour.
Date of Award1989
Original languageEnglish


  • stability
  • metabolism
  • tumour inhibitory tetrazinones

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