Comparative in vitro and in vivo cytotoxic activity of (E)-5-(2-bromovinyl)-2'-deoxyuridine (BVDU) and its arabinosyl derivative, (E)-5-(2-bromovinyl)-1-beta-D-arabinofuranosyluracil (BVaraU), against tumor cells expressing either the Varicella zoster or the Herpes simplex virus thymidine kinase

Cancer Gene Ther. 2000 Feb;7(2):215-23. doi: 10.1038/sj.cgt.7700108.


The inhibitory effects of (E)-5-(2-bromovinyl)-2'-deoxyuridine (BVDU) and its arabinosyl derivative (E)-5-(2-bromovinyl)-1-beta-D-arabinofuranosyluracil (BVaraU) on the growth of both MDA-MB-435 human breast carcinoma and 9L rat gliosarcoma cells expressing the thymidine kinase (tk)-encoding gene of the Varicella zoster virus (VZV) or the Herpes simplex virus (HSV) were evaluated. In vitro, BVDU and BVaraU effectively killed both cell types expressing VZVtk, with 50% inhibitory concentration values ranging from 0.06 to 0.4 microM, whereas ganciclovir (GCV) lacked activity. On HSVtk+ cells, BVDU had high cytotoxic activity, with 50% inhibitory concentration values that were similar to those of GCV, whereas BVaraU was inactive. In vivo, BVDU applied intraperitoneally caused a 50% tumor growth inhibition in nude mice inoculated subcutaneously with VZVtk+ as well as HSVtk+ mammary tumor cells. In mice and at variance with the in vitro results, BVaraU had very little activity against the VZVtk+ mammary cells; GCV had the highest activity on the HSVtk+ cells, resulting in a 50% eradication of the tumors. With the 9L rat gliosarcoma model, the VZVtk/BVDU system completely failed to inhibit the development of VZVtk+ glioma tumors induced subcutaneously in syngeneic rats, although BVDU had a similar 45-minute half-life in both rats and mice. Factors other than degradation of the prodrug and related to the mode of action of these analogs are possibly involved in the observed discrepancies between the in vitro and in vivo results.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antineoplastic Agents / metabolism
  • Antineoplastic Agents / toxicity*
  • Antiviral Agents / metabolism
  • Antiviral Agents / toxicity*
  • Arabinofuranosyluracil / analogs & derivatives*
  • Arabinofuranosyluracil / toxicity
  • Breast Neoplasms / drug therapy
  • Breast Neoplasms / pathology
  • Bromodeoxyuridine / analogs & derivatives*
  • Bromodeoxyuridine / metabolism
  • Bromodeoxyuridine / toxicity
  • Female
  • Genetic Vectors
  • Herpesvirus 3, Human / drug effects*
  • Herpesvirus 3, Human / enzymology
  • Herpesvirus 3, Human / genetics
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Mice
  • Mice, Nude
  • Rats
  • Rats, Inbred F344
  • Simplexvirus / drug effects*
  • Simplexvirus / enzymology
  • Simplexvirus / genetics
  • Thymidine Kinase / biosynthesis*
  • Thymidine Kinase / genetics
  • Tumor Cells, Cultured


  • Antineoplastic Agents
  • Antiviral Agents
  • brivudine
  • Arabinofuranosyluracil
  • sorivudine
  • Thymidine Kinase
  • Bromodeoxyuridine