Direct analysis of drug candidates in tissue by matrix-assisted laser desorption/ionization mass spectrometry



Matrix-assisted laser desorption/ionization mass spectrometry (MALDI-MS) has been used to directly analyze and image pharmaceutical compounds in intact tissue. The anti-tumor drug SCH 226374 was unambiguously determined in mouse tumor tissue using MALDI-QqTOFMS (QSTAR) by monitoring the dissociation of the protonated drug at m/z 695.4 to its predominant fragment at m/z 228.1. A second drug, compound A, was detected in slices of rat brain tissue following oral administration with doses ranging from 1–25 mg/kg. Quantitation of compound A from whole brain homogenates using routine high-performance liquid chromatography/tandem mass spectrometry (HPLC/MS/MS) procedures revealed that concentrations of the drug in whole brain varied from a low of 24 ng/g to a high of 1790 ng/g. The drug candidate was successfully detected by MALDI-QqTOF in samples from each dose, covering a range of approximately two orders of magnitude. In addition, good correlation was observed between the MALDI-QqTOFMS intensities at each dose with the HPLC/MS/MS results. Thus the MALDI-MS response is proportional to the amount of drug in tissue. Custom software was developed to facilitate the imaging of small molecules in tissue using the MALDI-QqTOF mass spectrometer. Images revealing the spatial localization of SCH 226374 in tumor tissue and compound A in brain tissue were acquired. Copyright © 2003 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.