Etoposide (VP16) and teniposide (VM26): novel anticancer drugs, strongly mutagenic in mammalian but not prokaryotic test systems Journal Articles uri icon

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  • The mutagenic effect of the antineoplastic drugs VP16 (etoposide; 4'-demethylepipodophyllotoxin-ethylidene-beta-D-glucopyranoside) and VM26 (teniposide; 4'-demethylepipodophyllotoxin-thenylidene-beta-D-glucopyr ano side) in mammalian and prokaryotic test systems have been compared. Both VP16 and VM26 which interact with mammalian DNA topoisomerase II, are strongly mutagenic in Chinese hamster ovary cells as indicated by the induction of mutations at the hypoxanthine-guanine phosphoribosyl transferase and adenosine kinase loci, and production of DNA strand breaks and sister-chromatid exchanges. Mouse L cells treated with these drugs also show a large dose-dependent (0.05-0.2 microgram/ml for VM26 and 0.5-1.5 micrograms/ml for VP16) increase in the frequency of 6-thioguanine-resistant mutants and extensive fragmentation of cellular DNA. In contrast to the results obtained with mammalian cells, VP16, which was extensively investigated, showed no increase in revertant frequencies in the Salmonella typhimurium strains TA98 and TA100 at concentrations up to greater than 500 micrograms/plate, in either the absence or presence of an exogenous rat liver activation system. However, a very weak mutagenic response to VP16 and VM26 (less than 2-fold increase in revertant frequency) at very high drug concentrations was observed in the strain TA102. VP16 also failed to show any mutagenic response (up to greater than 500 micrograms/ml) in an excision repair-proficient Escherichia coli strain 113/143 employing two different forward mutation detection systems [viz. ability to grow in galactose (Gal+) or in presence of 5-methyltryptophan], which are capable of detecting various types of genetic lesions.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 250 WORDS)


  • Gupta, Radhey S
  • Bromke, Alina
  • Bryant, Douglas W
  • Gupta, Radhey Shyam
  • Singh, Bhag
  • McCalla, Dennis R

publication date

  • 1987