The hydroxyl epimer of doxorubicin controls the rate of formation of cytotoxic anthracycline-DNA adducts Academic Article uri icon


  • Epirubicin was developed as a semi-synthetic anthracycline derivative to circumvent the cardiotoxic limitations associated with the use of doxorubicin in the clinic. Anthracycline compounds have been demonstrated to form covalent drug-DNA adducts utilising endogenous and exogenous sources of formaldehyde; however, previous investigations of the formation of epirubicin-DNA adducts provide conflicting evidence for adduct formation. This work provides evidence that epirubicin acts to form drug-DNA adducts at physiologically relevant concentrations and demonstrates that the rate of formation of epirubicin-DNA adducts is slower than that observed for other anthracycline compounds, explaining why they are only detectable under defined experimental conditions. Formation of covalent epirubicin-DNA adducts improves the apoptotic profile of epirubicin and provides opportunities to overcome drug resistance and cardiotoxic limitations.

publication date

  • March 2013