Effects of bacterial and presystemic nitroreductase metabolism of 2-chloro-5-nitro-N-phenylbenzamide on its mutagenicity and bioavailability

Chem Biol Interact. 2012 Apr 15;197(1):16-22. doi: 10.1016/j.cbi.2012.03.002. Epub 2012 Mar 19.


2-Chloro-5-nitro-N-phenylbenzamide (GW9662), a potent irreversible PPAR-γ antagonist, has shown promise as a cancer chemopreventive agent and is undergoing preclinical evaluations. Studies were initiated to assess its bacterial mutagenicity and pharmacokinetic profile in two animal species prior to subchronic oral toxicity evaluations and the results are reported here. GW9662 was mutagenic in both TA98 and TA100 bacterial strains with and without metabolic activation but was negative in the nitroreductase-deficient strains (TA98NR and TA100NR) also with and without metabolic activation, indicating that GW9662 mutagenicity is dependent on nitroreduction. The mutagenic activity was predominantly via a base-substitution mechanism. Following oral dosing in rats and dogs, the parent compound, GW9662, was virtually absent from plasma samples, but there was chromatographic evidence for the presence of metabolites in the plasma as a result of oral dosing. Metabolite identification studies showed that an amine metabolite ACPB (5-amino-2-chloro-N-phenylbenzamide), a product of nitro reduction, was the predominant species exhibiting large and persistent plasma levels. Thus systemic circulation of GW9662 has been attained largely in the form of its reduced metabolite, probably a product of gut bacterial metabolism. GW9662 was detectable in plasma of rats and dogs after intravenous dose albeit at low concentrations. Pharmacokinetic analysis following intravenous dosing in rats showed a rapid clearance and an extensive tissue distribution which could have accounted for the very low plasma levels. Of note, the amine metabolite was absent following intravenous dosing in both rats and dogs, confirming it being a product of presystemic metabolism. The potential utility of GW9662 as a chemopreventive agent, especially as an Estrogen Receptor-α (ER-α) inducer in an otherwise ER-α negative breast tissue, is of great interest. However, the results shown here suggest that additional animal toxicological and bioavailability studies are required to establish a role of GW9662 as a chemopreventive agent.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Intramural

MeSH terms

  • Amines / metabolism
  • Amines / pharmacokinetics
  • Anilides / metabolism*
  • Anilides / pharmacokinetics*
  • Animals
  • Biological Availability
  • Biotransformation
  • Dogs
  • Male
  • Mutagens / metabolism*
  • Mutagens / pharmacokinetics*
  • Nitroreductases / metabolism*
  • PPAR gamma / antagonists & inhibitors
  • Rats
  • Rats, Sprague-Dawley
  • Salmonella typhimurium / drug effects*
  • Salmonella typhimurium / enzymology*
  • Salmonella typhimurium / genetics


  • 2-chloro-5-nitrobenzanilide
  • Amines
  • Anilides
  • Mutagens
  • PPAR gamma
  • Nitroreductases