Bisacylphosphane oxides as photo-latent cytotoxic agents and potential photo-latent anticancer drugs

Scientific Reports, volume 9, Article number: 6003 (2019),
Scientific Reports, online article

Bisacylphosphane oxides (BAPOs) are established as photoinitiators for industrial applications. Light irradiation leads to their photolysis, producing radicals. Radical species induce oxidative stress in cells and may cause cell death. Hence, BAPOs may be suitable as photolatent cytotoxic agents, but such applications have not been investigated yet. Herein, we describe for the first time a potential use of BAPOs as drugs for photolatent therapy. We show that treatment of the breast cancer cell lines MCF-7 and MDA-MB-231 and of breast epithelial cells MCF-10A with BAPOs and UV irradiation induces apoptosis. Cells just subjected to BAPOs or UV irradiation alone are not affected. The induction of apoptosis depend on the BAPO and the irradiation dose. We proved that radicals are the active species since cells are rescued by an antioxidant. Finally, an optimized BAPO-derivative was designed which enters the cells more efficiently and thus leads to stronger effects at lower doses.

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Helmholtz München
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MPI of Biochemistry