Benzamide riboside (BR) is a novel anticancer agent exhibiting pronounced activity against several human tumor cell lines via the inhibition of inosine 5'- monophosphate dehydrogenase (IMPDH) that catalyzes the formation of xanthine 5'- monophosphate from inosine 5'-monophosphate and nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide, thereby restricting the biosynthesis of guanylates. Phosphorylation of BR to its 5'- monophosphate derivative appears to be ubiquitous in most cells catalyzed by the enzymes, adenosine kinase, nicotinam ide nucleoside kinase and 5' nucleotidase. BR 5'- monophosphate is then converted to the active metabolite benzamide adenine dinucleotide (BAD) by NMN adenylyltransferase, the rate-limiting enzyme in the biosynthesis of NAD. As BAD is more potent in the inhibition of IMPDH than BR and BR 5'-monophosphate, cytotoxicity of BR is closely connected with intercellular metabolism to BAD. However, intracellular BAD level is also affected by BADase activity, a phosphodiesterase which hydrolyzes BAD to BR-5'-monophosphate and AMP. A recent study demonstrates enzymatic deamination of BR to noncytotoxic benzene carboxylic acid (BR-COOH) as the main hepatic BR biotransformation product in rat liver. As the IMPDH inhibitors tiazofurin and ribavirin exhibit predominant accumulation and biotransformation in liver, hepatic metabolism may be an important factor also for BR activation and inactivation and should be considered in human liver during cancer therapy when BR is used as a single drug or in combination with other anticancer agents.
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