Glucuronidation of 7-ethyl-10-hydroxycamptothecin (SN-38) by the human UDP-glucuronosyltransferases encoded at the UGT1 locus

Biochem Biophys Res Commun. 1999 Jun 24;260(1):199-202. doi: 10.1006/bbrc.1999.0453.


7-Ethyl-10-hydroxycamptothecin (SN-38) is a very promising anticancer drug used for the treatment of metastatic colonrectal cancer. SN-38 is the active metabolite of irinotecan, a semisynthetic anticancer drug derived from 20(S)camptothecin. In this study, we examined the potential for each of the UGT1-encoded isoforms (UGT1A1 and UGT1A3 through UGT1A10) to glucuronidate SN-38. The amount of specific protein for each isoform was determined by Western blot analysis. Although UGT1A1 was previously shown to metabolize this drug, the results of this study show that UGT1A7 glucuronidates this chemical at a 9- to 21-fold higher level at pH 6. 4 and pH 7.6, respectively, than that by UGT1A1. The activity of UGT1A7 is from 8.4- to 19-fold higher at pH 6.4 and 12- to 40-fold higher at pH 7.6 than that by the other 7 UGT1 encoded isoforms. UGT1A7 glucuronidates SN-38 with an apparent Km of 5 microM. Hence, the distribution of this isoform in the gastrointestinal tract has the potential to impact the effectiveness of this chemotherapeutic agent.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • COS Cells
  • Camptothecin / analogs & derivatives*
  • Camptothecin / metabolism
  • Glucuronidase / metabolism*
  • Glucuronosyltransferase / metabolism*
  • Humans
  • Hydrogen-Ion Concentration
  • Irinotecan
  • Kinetics
  • Monosaccharide Transport Proteins / metabolism*


  • Monosaccharide Transport Proteins
  • UDP-galactose translocator
  • Irinotecan
  • Glucuronosyltransferase
  • UDP-glucuronosyltransferase, UGT1A7
  • Glucuronidase
  • Camptothecin