Metabolism of a sulfur-containing heteroarotionoid antitumor agent, SHetA2, using liquid chromatography/tandem mass spectrometry

Rapid Commun Mass Spectrom. 2008 Nov;22(21):3371-81. doi: 10.1002/rcm.3744.


SHetA2 {[(4-nitrophenyl)amino][2,2,4,4-tetramethylthiochroman-6-yl)amino]methanethione], NSC 726189}, a sulfur-containing heteroarotinoid, selectively inhibits cancer cell growth and induces apoptosis without activation of nuclear retinoic acid receptors (RARs). The objective of this study was to investigate its in vitro metabolism in rat and human liver microsomes and in vivo metabolism in the mouse and rat using liquid chromatography-ultraviolet/multi-stage mass spectrometry (LC-UV/MS(n)) on an ion-trap mass spectrometer coupled with a photo-diode array (PDA) detector. In vitro, in the absence of glutathione (GSH), oxidation of the four aliphatic methyl groups of SHetA2 yielded one mono-, two di-, and one tri-hydroxylated SHetA2 metabolites, which were identified based on their UV and multi-stage mass spectra. In the presence of GSH, in addition to these primary oxidative metabolites, four GSH adducts of SHetA2 and a novel rare form thioether GSH adduct was detected and characterized. In vivo, the monohydroxylated SHetA2 metabolites were also detected in mouse and rat plasma and two GSH adducts were detected in rat liver following intravenous (i.v.) bolus administration of SHetA2 at 40 mg/kg.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antineoplastic Agents / blood
  • Antineoplastic Agents / metabolism*
  • Chromans / blood
  • Chromans / chemistry
  • Chromans / metabolism*
  • Chromatography, Liquid / methods*
  • Glutathione / chemistry
  • Glutathione / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Metabolic Networks and Pathways*
  • Microsomes, Liver / metabolism
  • Rats
  • Rats, Sprague-Dawley
  • Sulfur / chemistry
  • Tandem Mass Spectrometry / methods*
  • Thiones / blood
  • Thiones / chemistry
  • Thiones / metabolism*


  • (((4-nitrophenyl)amino)(2,2,4,4-tetramethyl thiochroman-6-yl)amino) methane-1-thione
  • Antineoplastic Agents
  • Chromans
  • Thiones
  • Sulfur
  • Glutathione