Derivatives of butyric acid as potential anti-neoplastic agents



A novel derivative of butyric acid, pivalyloxymethyl butyrate (AN-9) has been shown, in vitro, to: (a) induce cytodifferentiation and inhibit the proliferation of leukemic cells; (b) inhibit the growth and formation of Lewis lung carcinoma colonies in semi-solid agar. AN-9 affect cells at about 10-fold lower concentration and at a faster rate than does butyric acid. The pivalyloxymethyl esters of propionic, isobutyric and valeric acids do not elicit effects similar to those of AN-9, while the isobutyryloxymethyl butyrate does, which strongly suggests that the activity of AN-9 stems from intracellular metabolic degradation of the pro-drug to butyric acid. In vivo, AN-9, increased the survival of mice in Lewis lung carcinoma primary cancer model and significantly decreased the number of lung lesions of the animals inoculated with highly meta-static cells, but did not affect their life span. Acute LD50, studies have shown that AN-9 possesses low toxicity. These results suggest that AN-9 is a potential anti-neoplastic agent ar well as a tool for investigation of the differentiation induction mechanism.