5′-[4-(pivaloyloxy)-1,3,2-dioxaphosphorinan-2-yl]-2′-deoxy-5- fluorouridine: A membrane-permeating prodrug of 5-fluoro-2′-deoxyuridylic acid (FdUMP)

David Farquhar, Roger Chen, Saeed Khan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


5′-[4-(Pivaloyloxy)-1,3,2-dioxaphosphorinan-2-yl]-2′-deoxy-5- fluorouridine (1c) was designed as a potential membrane-permeable prodrug of 2′-deoxy-5-fluorouridine 5′-monophosphate (FdUMP), a putative active metabolite of the antitumor drug 5-fluorouracil (FU). It was anticipated that 1c would be hydrolyzed in vivo by carboxylate esterase (E.C. to the labile 4-hydroxy analogue 2a, which should penetrate cells by passive diffusion and ring open to the aldehyde 3a. Spontaneous elimination of acrolein from 3a would then generate the free nucleotide, FdUMP. 1c might also penetrate cells directly and undergo the same degradation sequence after hydrolysis by cellular esterases. 1c was prepared by condensing 2-hydroxy-2-oxo-4-(pivaloyloxy)-1,3,2-dioxaphosphorinane with 2′-deoxy-5-fluorouridine (FUdR) in the presence of triphenylphosphine and diethyl azodicarboxylate. 1c was moderately stable in aqueous buffers over the pH range 1-7.4 (t1/2 > 30 h). In the presence of carboxylate esterase, however, it was degraded, in a concentration-dependent manner, to FdUMP. No intermediates were detected in the incubation mixture. In mouse plasma, 1c was degraded first to FdUMP and then to FUdR. The latter is presumably formed by dephosphorylation of FdUMP by plasma 5′-nucleotidases or phosphatases. 1c and FU inhibited the growth of Chinese hamster ovary (CHO) cells in culture at a concentration of 5 × 10-6 M. 1c was equally potent against a CHO variant that was 20-fold resistant to FU. Administered intraperitoneally for 5 consecutive days, 1c was as effective as FU at prolonging the life span of mice bearing P-388 leukemia. In the presence of 2-mercaptoehtanesulfonic acid, an acrolein scavenger, 1c was equally effective against a P-388 mutant cell line that was resistant to FU. Collectively, these data suggest that 1c acts as a membrane-permeable prodrug of FdUMP. This prodrug strategy may be generally useful for introducing dianionic phosphates and phosphonates into cells.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)488-495
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Medicinal Chemistry
Issue number3
StatePublished - 1995
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Organic Chemistry


Dive into the research topics of '5′-[4-(pivaloyloxy)-1,3,2-dioxaphosphorinan-2-yl]-2′-deoxy-5- fluorouridine: A membrane-permeating prodrug of 5-fluoro-2′-deoxyuridylic acid (FdUMP)'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this