Drug uptake and efflux are two of the critical factors required in order to be able to define drug efficacy. This study aims to investigate cytotoxicity and uptake mechanisms of two FL118 analogues (7-Q20 and val-FL118) in parallel with FL118 in three-dimensional multi-cellular spheroids model. The influence of compound concentration, time, temperature, cell lines, and the inhibitors of P-gp, BCRP and LAT1 on drug uptake and efflux were investigated. In vitro cytotoxicity studies revealed that FL118, 7-Q20 and val-FL118 exhibited sensitive cytotoxicity to the HCT-116 cell line and the water-soluble compound 7-Q20 showed the lowest IC50. Cellular uptake and efflux of FL118 was independent of efflux pump proteins. Uptake and efflux of 7-Q20 were affected by P-gp, which was one of reasons that caused a lower uptake at 37 °C than at 4 °C. The carrier protein LAT1 played a role in the cellular intakes of val-FL118. These findings provided basic information for FL118 and the two novel FL118 derivatives for further development.
Keywords: 3D multi-cellular spheroids; Efflux; FL118; FL118 derivatives; Uptake.