Mechanism of Action of A New Antitumor Agent, Carbetimer

Bach Ardalan, G. Edward Paget

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


Carbetimer, an intermediate molecular-weight-derivatized copolymer of maleic anhydride and ethylene, has been shown to possess significant antineoplastic activity in the stem cell assay. We have examined the antitumor activity of carbetimer in vivo and in vitro against HM5-Carb/S and M21, both primary human melanoma cell lines sensitive and resistant to carbetimer, respectively. The mechanism of action of carbetimer in HM5-Carb/S has been determined. Mice bearing palpable sensitive tumors were treated with 10% lethal doses of carbetimer (1500 mg/kg i.p.). The tumor nucleotide profile was determined 4 hours later. Uridine and cytidine nucleoside triphosphates were reduced by 36.6 and 58.2%, respectively. In a similar experiment using carbetimer-resistant tumor, there was no change in the tumor pool sizes of uridine and cytidine nucleoside triphosphate pools in carbetimer- or saline-treated animals. Following 24-h exposure of the cells to 1000 μM concentration of carbetimer, the carbetimer-sensitive cells were pulsed with [14C]uridine, cytidine, or thymidine for 30 min. Pyrimidine nucleotides, in particular triphosphates, were reduced significantly as compared to the saline-treated control. Similar treatment of carbetimer-resistant cells resulted in no change in the pool sizes of the nucleotides. [14C]Bicarbonate flux studies demonstrated that [14C]CO2 conversion into UMP and CMP was increased 200 and 140% of control in the carbetimer-sensitive cells treated with 1000 μM carbetimer; however, a similar treatment of the resistant cells showed no change in the pool sizes of the nucleotide. Examination of pyrimidine salvage enzymes demonstrated that, in the sensitive cells, carbetimer treatment reduced the specific activity of uridine, cytidine, and thymidine kinase by 46, 37, and 60%. In a similar study using resistant cells, the specific activities were reduced 7 and 0%, respectively. In the restitution studies coincubation of carbetimer-sensitive cells with carbetimer and uridine resulted in essentially the reversal of carbetimer cytotoxicity. Thus, carbetimer inhibits the growth of the sensitive cells by inhibiting the uptake and metabolism of preformed nucleosides both in vivo and in vitro.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)5473-5476
Number of pages4
JournalCancer Research
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 1 1986
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research


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