BACKGROUND: Bisdioxopiperazine anti-cancer agents are inhibitors of eukaryotic DNA topoisomerase II, sequestering this protein as a non-covalent protein clamp on DNA. It has been suggested that such complexes on DNA represents a novel form of DNA damage to cells. In this report, we characterise the cytotoxicity and DNA damage induced by the bisdioxopiperazine ICRF-187 by a combination of genetic and molecular approaches. In addition, the well-established topoisomerase II poison m-AMSA is used for comparison.<br /><br />RESULTS: By utilizing a panel of Saccharomyces cerevisiae single-gene deletion strains, homologous recombination was identified as the most important DNA repair pathway determining the sensitivity towards ICRF-187. However, sensitivity towards m-AMSA depended much more on this pathway. In contrast, disrupting the post replication repair pathway only affected sensitivity towards m-AMSA. Homologous recombination (HR) defective irs1SF chinese hamster ovary (CHO) cells showed increased sensitivity towards ICRF-187, while their sensitivity towards m-AMSA was increased even more. Furthermore, complementation of the XRCC3 deficiency in irs1SF cells fully abrogated hypersensitivity towards both drugs. DNA-PKcs deficient V3-3 CHO cells having reduced levels of non-homologous end joining (NHEJ) showed slightly increased sensitivity to both drugs. While exposure of human small cell lung cancer (SCLC) OC-NYH cells to m-AMSA strongly induced gammaH2AX, exposure to ICRF-187 resulted in much less induction, showing that ICRF-187 generates fewer DNA double strand breaks than m-AMSA. Accordingly, when yeast cells were exposed to equitoxic concentrations of ICRF-187 and m-AMSA, the expression of DNA damage-inducible genes showed higher levels of induction after exposure to m-AMSA as compared to ICRF-187. Most importantly, ICRF-187 stimulated homologous recombination in SPD8 hamster lung fibroblast cells to lower levels than m-AMSA at all cytotoxicity levels tested, showing that the mechanism of action of bisdioxopiperazines differs from that of classical topoisomerase II poisons in mammalian cells.<br /><br />CONCLUSION: Our results point to important differences in the mechanism of cytotoxicity induced by bisdioxopiperazines and topoisomerase II poisons, and suggest that bisdioxopiperazines kill cells by a combination of DNA break-related and DNA break-unrelated mechanisms.
Jensen, L. H., Dejligbjerg, M., Hansen, L. T., Grauslund, M., Jensen, P. B., & Sehested, M. (2004). Characterisation of cytotoxicity and DNA damage induced by the topoisomerase II-directed bisdioxopiperazine anti-cancer agent ICRF-187 (dexrazoxane) in yeast and mammalian cells. BMC Pharmacology, 4. https://doi.org/10.1186/1471-2210-4-31