Sustained antiproliferative mechanisms by RB24, a targeted precursor of multiple inhibitors of epidermal growth factor receptor and a DNA alkylating agent in the A431 epidermal carcinoma of the vulva cell line

Br J Cancer. 2004 Sep 13;91(6):1066-73. doi: 10.1038/sj.bjc.6602098.


Recently, with the purpose of enhancing the potency of epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR)-based therapies, we designed a novel strategy termed 'Cascade-release targeting' that seeks to develop molecules capable of degrading to multiple tyrosine kinase (TK) inhibitors and highly reactive electrophiles, in a stepwise fashion. Here we report on the first prototype of this model, RB24, a masked methyltriazene, that in addition to being an inhibitor on its own was designed to degrade to RB14, ZR08, RB10+a DNA alkylating methyldiazonium species. The cascade degradation of RB24 requires the generation of two reactive electrophiles: (a) an iminium ion and (b) a methyldiazonium ion. Thus, we surmise that these species could alkylate the active site of EGFR, thereby irreversibly blocking its action and that DNA damage could be induced by the methyldiazonium. Using the EGFR-overexpressing human epidermoid carcinoma of the vulva cell line, A431, we demonstrate herein that (a) RB24 and its derived species (e.g. RB14, ZR08) irreversibly inhibit EGFR autophosphorylation, (b) RB24 induced significant levels of DNA strand breaks, (c) sustained inhibition of EGFR by RB24 was associated with blockade of MAPK activation and c-fos gene expression, (d) RB24 induced irreversible cell growth inhibition with a 100-fold greater potency than Temodaltrade mark, a clinical methyltriazene. The pronounced growth inhibitory potency of RB24 was attributed to its ability to simultaneously damage DNA and irreversibly block EGFR TK activity.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Alkylating Agents / pharmacology*
  • Antineoplastic Agents / pharmacology*
  • Carcinoma, Squamous Cell
  • Cell Division / drug effects*
  • Cell Line, Tumor
  • DNA Damage
  • ErbB Receptors / antagonists & inhibitors*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Phosphorylation
  • Quinazolines / pharmacology*
  • Triazenes / pharmacology*
  • Vulvar Neoplasms


  • 6-(3-acetoxymethyl-3-methyltriazenyl)-4-(3'-bromophenylamino)quinazoline
  • Alkylating Agents
  • Antineoplastic Agents
  • Quinazolines
  • Triazenes
  • ErbB Receptors