A comparative study of cellular and molecular pharmacology of doxorubicin and MEN 10755, a disaccharide analogue

Biochem Pharmacol. 2001 Jul 1;62(1):63-70. doi: 10.1016/s0006-2952(01)00645-1.


MEN 10755 is a disaccharide anthracycline endowed with a broader spectrum of antitumour activity than doxorubicin (DOX). To investigate the cellular and molecular basis of its action, cytotoxic activity, drug uptake, subcellular localisation, induction of DNA damage, and apoptosis were assessed in the human A2780 ovarian carcinoma cell line. Experiments with radiolabelled anthracyclines indicated that MEN 10755 exhibited reduced cellular accumulation and a different subcellular distribution (higher cytoplasmic/nuclear ratio) than DOX. In spite of the lower nuclear concentration, MEN 10755 was as potent as DOX in eliciting DNA single- and double-strand breaks, G2/M cell arrest, and apoptosis. Sequencing of drug-induced topoisomerase II cleavage sites showed a common DNA cleavage pattern for MEN 10755 and DOX. Cleavage sites were always characterised by the presence of adenine in -1 position. However, the extent of DNA cleavage stimulation induced by MEN 10755 was greater than that produced by DOX. Reversibility studies showed that MEN 10755-stimulated DNA cleavage sites were more persistent than those induced by DOX, thus suggesting a more stable interaction of the drug in the ternary complex. As a whole, the study indicated that the cellular pharmacokinetics of MEN 10755 substantially differs from that of DOX, showing a lower uptake and a different subcellular disposition. In spite of the apparently unfavourable cellular pharmacokinetics, MEN 10755 was still as potent as DOX in inducing topoisomerase-mediated DNA damage. Although the extent and persistence of protein-associated DNA breaks may contribute to the cytotoxic effects, the drug's efficacy as apoptosis inducer and antitumour agent could not be adequately explained on the basis of DNA damage mediated by the known target (i.e. topoisomerase II), thus supporting additional cellular effects that may be relevant in cellular response.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Antineoplastic Agents / pharmacology*
  • Apoptosis
  • Cell Cycle / drug effects
  • DNA Adducts / metabolism
  • DNA Damage / drug effects
  • DNA Topoisomerases, Type I / metabolism
  • DNA Topoisomerases, Type II / metabolism
  • Disaccharides / chemistry
  • Disaccharides / pharmacology*
  • Doxorubicin / analogs & derivatives
  • Doxorubicin / pharmacology*
  • Humans
  • Subcellular Fractions
  • Tumor Cells, Cultured


  • Antineoplastic Agents
  • DNA Adducts
  • Disaccharides
  • Doxorubicin
  • DNA Topoisomerases, Type I
  • DNA Topoisomerases, Type II
  • sabarubicin