Behavior of platinum(IV) complexes in models of tumor hypoxia: cytotoxicity, compound distribution and accumulation
Hypoxia in solid tumors remains a challenge for conventional cancer therapeutics. As a source for resistance, metastasis development and drug bioprocessing, it influences treatment results and disease outcome. Bioreductive platinum(IV) prodrugs might be advantageous over conventional metal-based therapeutics, as biotransformation in a reductive milieu, such as under hypoxia, is required for drug activation. This study deals with a two-step screening of experimental platinum(IV) prodrugs with different rates of reduction and lipophilicity with the aim of identifying the most appropriate compounds for further investigations. In the first step, the cytotoxicity of all compounds was compared in hypoxic multicellular spheroids and monolayer culture using a set of cancer cell lines with different sensitivities to platinum(II) compounds. Secondly, two selected compounds were tested in hypoxic xenografts in SCID mouse models in comparison to satraplatin, and, additionally, (LA)-ICP-MS-based accumulation and distribution studies were performed for these compounds in hypoxic spheroids and xenografts. Our findings suggest that, while cellular uptake and cytotoxicity strongly correlate with lipophilicity, cytotoxicity under hypoxia compared to non-hypoxic conditions and antitumor activity of platinum(IV) prodrugs are dependent on their rate of reduction.