Brequinar sodium (DUP-785) is a potent inhibitor of the pyrimidine de novo enzyme, dihydroorotic acid dehydrogenase (DHO-DH). In order to determine whether in vitro data could be extrapolated to the in vivo situation we investigated antipyrimidine effects of DUP-785 in mice bearing colon cancer. Two tumor models were used. Colon 26 and Colon 38, resistant and moderately sensitive to DUP-785, respectively. DUP-785 at 50 mg/kg caused a depletion of plasma uridine in mice, and depleted tissue uridine levels in Colon 38 down to 10%, which was retained for several days; in Colon 26 the decrease was less and tissue uridine levels recovered rapidly. In livers of these mice no significant effect on uridine was observed. DUP-785 depleted UTP in bone marrow cells within 2 hr to 25% of control levels, after 4 days normal levels were found. In livers of both Balb-c mice (bearing Colon 26) and C57B1/6 mice (bearing Colon 38) a small decrease of uridine nucleotide pools was found. In Colon 26 DUP-785 increased uridine nucleotide pools to 170% after 2 hr, at 1 day normal levels were observed, but after 2 days again an increase was found. In Colon 38 DUP-785 decreased the uridine nucleotide pool by 50% after 1 and 2 days. DUP-785 did not affect cytidine nucleotide pools of livers and of Colon 26 and Colon 38. The ratio between uridine nucleotides and cytidine nucleotides decreased from 2.2 to 0.90 in Colon 38, in the other tissues the decrease was less. DHO-DH was measured in bone marrow cells and Colon 26 and 38 before and after treatment. Basal levels of DHO-DH were 3 times higher in Colon 26 than in Colon 38. In treated tumors DHO-DH was initially inhibited by more than 90%, after 7 days enzyme activity in Colon 26 was 50% and in Colon 38 about 200% of basal levels. In bone marrow cells DHO-DH was also rapidly inhibited but recovered within 4 days. It is concluded that the retention of antipyrimidine effects of DUP-785 in Colon 38 were more pronounced than in Colon 26, which is in agreement with the better antitumor effect of DUP-785 in Colon 38.
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