The role of NAD(P)H: quinone reductase (EC, DT-diaphorase) in the reductive bioactivation of the novel indoloquinone antitumor agent EO9

Cancer Commun. 1991 Jul;3(7):199-206. doi: 10.3727/095535491820873164.


EO9 [3-hydroxymethyl-5-aziridinyl-1-methyl-2-(H-indole-4, 7-indione)-propenol] is a novel indoloquinone structurally related to mitomycin C, a quinone anticancer drug that requires reductive bioactivation. NAD(P)H: (quinone-acceptor) oxidoreductase (quinone reductase, DT-diaphorase, EC is an obligate 2-electron donating enzyme that can reduce a variety of quinones resulting either in bioactivation or bioprotection. Using quinone reductase (QR) preparations from rat Walker 256 mammary tumor cells and human HT29 colon carcinoma cells, we have characterized the role of this enzyme in EO9 reductive metabolism. QR activity was assayed under optimal conditions by following cytochrome c reduction at 550 nm in the presence of enzyme, quinone substrate, NADH, and bovine albumin, and confirmed by loss of EO9 absorbance at 550 nm. Both the rat and human tumor cell enzymes catalyzed reduction of the benchmark quinone menadione with a similar Km of 1.4-3.1 microM, although the Vmax was 7 to 8-fold lower for the human preparation. EO9 was readily reduced by the rat Walker QR. The mean Km was about 5-fold higher than for menadione at around 15 microM and the Vmax was 6-fold lower at around 2.5 mumol of cytochrome c reduced mg-1 of protein. EO9 was also metabolized by QR from HT29 human colon carcinoma cells but rather less efficiently than by the rat tumor enzyme. For example, the rate was 6-fold lower than that for the Walker tumor enzyme at 100 microM substrate concentration after correcting for the 7- to 8-fold difference in specific activity for the two preparations.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 250 WORDS)

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antineoplastic Agents / metabolism*
  • Aziridines / metabolism*
  • Biotransformation
  • Carcinoma 256, Walker / enzymology
  • Colonic Neoplasms / enzymology
  • DNA Damage
  • DNA, Bacterial / drug effects
  • Dicumarol / pharmacology
  • Humans
  • Indolequinones*
  • Indoles / metabolism*
  • Kinetics
  • Mitomycin
  • Mitomycins / metabolism
  • NAD(P)H Dehydrogenase (Quinone)
  • Oxidation-Reduction
  • Quinone Reductases / metabolism*
  • Quinones / metabolism
  • Rats
  • Superoxide Dismutase / pharmacology
  • Tumor Cells, Cultured
  • Vitamin K / metabolism


  • Antineoplastic Agents
  • Aziridines
  • DNA, Bacterial
  • Indolequinones
  • Indoles
  • Mitomycins
  • Quinones
  • Vitamin K
  • Mitomycin
  • Dicumarol
  • Superoxide Dismutase
  • NAD(P)H Dehydrogenase (Quinone)
  • Quinone Reductases
  • apaziquone