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12 2023 Molecular cancer therapeutics

4′-Ethynyl-2′-Deoxycytidine (EdC) Preferentially Targets Lymphoma and Leukemia Subtypes by Inducing Replicative Stress.


Calbert ML, Chandramouly G, Adams CM, Saez-Ayala M, Kent T, Tyagi M, Ayyadevara VSSA, Wang Y, Krais JJ, Gordon J, Atkins J, Toma MM, Betzi S, Boghossian AS, Rees MG, Ronan MM, Roth JA, Goldman AR, Gorman N, Mitra R, Childers WE, Graña X, Skorski T, Johnson N, Hurtz C, Morelli X, Eischen CM, Pomerantz RT


Anticancer nucleosides are effective against solid tumors and hematological malignancies, but typically are prone to nucleoside metabolism resistance mechanisms. Using a nucleoside-specific multiplexed high-throughput screening approach, we discovered 4′-ethynyl-2′-deoxycytidine (EdC) as a third-generation anticancer nucleoside prodrug with preferential activity against diffuse large B-cell lymphoma (DLBCL) and acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL). EdC requires deoxycytidine kinase (DCK) phosphorylation for its activity and induced replication fork arrest and accumulation of cells in S-phase, indicating it acts as a chain terminator. A 2.1Å co-crystal structure of DCK bound to EdC and UDP reveals how the rigid 4′-alkyne of EdC fits within the active site of DCK. Remarkably, EdC was resistant to cytidine deamination and SAMHD1 metabolism mechanisms and exhibited higher potency against ALL compared to FDA approved nelarabine. Finally, EdC was highly effective against DLBCL tumors and B-ALL in vivo. These data characterize EdC as a pre-clinical nucleoside prodrug candidate for DLBCL and ALL.

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