A novel synthetic DNA minor groove binder, MS-247: antitumor activity and cytotoxic mechanism

Cancer Chemother Pharmacol. 2000;46(1):1-9. doi: 10.1007/s002800000120.


Purpose: MS-247 is a novel synthetic compound possessing a DNA-binding moiety and a DNA-alkylating residue, chlorambucil. In this study, we evaluated the antitumor activity of MS-247 against murine tumor cell lines and its effects on DNA molecules in both cell-free and cellular systems.

Methods: The in vitro cytotoxic activity of MS-247 was evaluated against four murine tumor cell lines, P388, L1210, Colon26 and B16, and its in vivo antitumor activity was also tested in comparison with Adriamycin (ADM), cisplatin (CDDP) and paclitaxel. The ability of MS-247 to associate with the DNA minor groove was assessed by measuring quenching of Hoechst 33342 fluorescence. DNA-DNA interstrand crosslinks (ICL) were detected by an alkaline elution assay for cellular DNA and a band-shift assay using the plasmid pBR322. The effects of MS-247 on macromolecule synthesis (DNA, RNA and proteins) were examined by measuring incorporation of the radiolabeled precursors.

Results: MS-247 exhibited in vitro cytotoxicity with IC(50) values ranging 11 to 500 nM, and MS-247 given i.v. showed strong in vivo antitumor activity against i.p.-implanted L1210 leukemia cells and s.c.-implanted Colon26 carcinoma cells, and moderate activity against i.p.-implanted P388 leukemia cells but no apparent activity against s.c.-implanted B16 melanoma cells. MS-247 reversibly displaced Hoechst 33342 bound to DNA within a few minutes, and irreversibly formed ICL within 1-6 h in both the cell-free system and the cellular system. These results suggest that an association of MS-247 with the DNA minor groove occurred more quickly than ICL formation. The inhibition of DNA synthesis was more prominent than the inhibition of RNA and protein synthesis in L1210 cells exposed to MS-247, and a 6-h incubation with MS-247, which formed apparent ICL in the cellular system, strongly inhibited DNA synthesis. This result suggests that impairment of DNA replication preceded the inhibition of RNA and protein synthesis and that ICL formation greatly contributed to the inhibition of macromolecule synthesis.

Conclusion: The results of this study suggest that MS-247 exerts its cytotoxic effect through impairment of DNA function by getting into the minor groove of DNA and subsequently forming ICL. MS-247 has potent antitumor activity with a different spectrum from the activity of clinically proven antitumor agents such as paclitaxel, ADM and CDDP against several murine tumor cell lines. This result suggests that MS-247 may be useful for the treatment of human cancers.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antineoplastic Agents / therapeutic use
  • Antineoplastic Agents, Alkylating / chemistry
  • Antineoplastic Agents, Alkylating / therapeutic use*
  • Antineoplastic Agents, Phytogenic / therapeutic use
  • Benzimidazoles / chemistry
  • Benzimidazoles / pharmacology
  • Benzimidazoles / therapeutic use*
  • Cell Survival / drug effects
  • Cisplatin / therapeutic use
  • Colonic Neoplasms / drug therapy
  • DNA / metabolism
  • Female
  • Fluorescent Dyes / pharmacology
  • Humans
  • Leukemia L1210 / drug therapy
  • Leukemia P388 / drug therapy
  • Macromolecular Substances
  • Melanoma, Experimental / drug therapy
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred BALB C
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • Mice, Inbred DBA
  • Paclitaxel / therapeutic use
  • Pyrroles / chemistry
  • Pyrroles / therapeutic use*
  • Radiation-Sensitizing Agents / pharmacology


  • Antineoplastic Agents
  • Antineoplastic Agents, Alkylating
  • Antineoplastic Agents, Phytogenic
  • Benzimidazoles
  • Fluorescent Dyes
  • MS 247
  • Macromolecular Substances
  • Pyrroles
  • Radiation-Sensitizing Agents
  • DNA
  • Paclitaxel
  • bisbenzimide ethoxide trihydrochloride
  • Cisplatin