6-Thio-3-deazaguanine (TDG), a relatively new purine antimetabolite, exhibits significant antitumor activity against a variety of experimental animal tumor models including C3H mammary adenocarcinoma, Lewis lung carcinoma, adenocarcinoma 755, and leukemias L1210 and P388. However, the drug was ineffective against 3-deazaguanine-resistant L1210 (both in vitro and in vivo) and CEM cells (in vitro). The resistant cells appear to lack HGPRTase activity because the extracts from these cell lines failed to convert hypoxanthine to IMP. These data indicate that TDG needs to be activated by hypoxanthine guanine phosphoribosyl-transferase prior to its growth inhibitory effects. Cytotoxicity of TDG was completely reversed by hypoxanthine and inosine. TDG inhibited the synthesis of DNA and RNA equally and effectively, whereas the inhibition of protein synthesis required a prolonged drug exposure and appears to be a consequence of the inhibition of DNA and RNA synthesis. Data from these studies suggest that TDG is an effective antitumor agent, and its spectrum of antitumor activity and mechanism of action appears to be different from that of 3-deazaguanine.

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These studies were supported by NIH Grant CA-36551 and 40248 from the National Cancer Institute.

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